Partick Thistle look to make most of any Celtic nerves

By David CurriePresenter
Alan Archibald will pit his wits against the Celtic manager Ronny Deila on Saturday
Alan Archibald will pit his wits against the Celtic manager Ronny Deila on Saturday

Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald wants his team to exploit any title-race nerves Celtic might be feeling when they visit Firhill on Saturday.

He told BBC Scotland: "They are in a title race, Aberdeen are only a point behind them. There is pressure.

"So if there are any kind of nerves we need to capitalise on them.

"If we can silence the crowd by not giving anything away in the first 15 minutes that might put a bit of pressure on them."

And the Jags boss added: "If we are not at our best they could turn us over.

"We have to be switched on and make sure we do the simple things really well."

Aberdeen's 2-1 win over Thistle on Tuesday moved them to within a point of the reigning Premiership champions, though Celtic have played one game fewer.

Archibald thinks both title contenders have the mental strength going into the last quarter of the season.

He said: "Some people were questioning if Aberdeen had enough bottle.

"They showed plenty coming back from a goal down to beat us. Celtic have lots of experience, lots of players who've been over the course before and lots of internationals."

After Saturday's match eighth-placed Thistle will have played all top three Premiership sides in a seven-day period.

They lost 1-0 at Hearts on Saturday prior to that defeat by the Dons.

"In those two games we lost goals at set plays, which isn't like us," said Archibald.

"We have to take the positives out of those games. We've struggled for goals this season but we created three or four good chances against Aberdeen, and if we'd scored one of them when we were a goal up we would probably have won the match.

"The next five games will define our season. After we play Celtic we play three teams below us in the league (Hamilton, Kilmarnock and Dundee United) and Ross County before the split. They are all winnable games.

"After that we'll see where we are, we are dividing the rest of the season into two groups of five games.

"We just have to get through this tough period. We've won two and lost two of the games we had in hand.

"We've had to make changes to freshen things up and because of injuries, it's taken a lot out of us on some heavy pitches, with our own being probably the worst. If we can keep everyone fit we'll be all right."