ALAN Archibald has warned his Partick Thistle players to beware of the wounded animal ahead of their trip to battered and bruised Hibernian on Saturday.
The Easter Road side are in free fall as the battle to avoid the Scottish Premiership relegation play-off spot enters the final three games of the season.
Terry Butcher’s side have lost their last six matches and are without a win in 11 which has dropped them to eighth spot, only one point ahead of Kilmarnock in 11th, albeit with only two points separating the five clubs who are looking to stay clear of danger.
Archibald watched Hibs lose 2-1 to already-relegated Edinburgh rivals Hearts last week but he is expecting a response from the men in green and white and has taken steps to make sure his players are ready for it.
“You will probably see a different Hibs,” he said.
“My players have been warned. There is nothing worse in football than a wounded animal.
“When people keep on putting them down and putting them down, it gets a player’s back up and the manager’s back up.
“We will be very aware that Terry will have them right up for it.
“I was at the derby last week and they were probably the better team but they lost out to two set-plays.
“I thought they came out with a great deal of fight and desire to try to keep their team in the league and I think they will show the same this week because everyone seems to be writing them off.”
With patience fast running out in the Easter Road stands, Archibald will look to turn the Hibees fans on the home players.
The former Thistle defender said: “Like any away game, as the away team you want to go there and try to frustrate them first and foremost and try to turn that noisy crowd against them rather than for them.
“But we look to do that in every away game.
“It is vital that we start the game well. Something has got to give so three points would be massive.
“Such a small points difference between the teams has made it exciting.
“Everyone is cutting everyone’s throat and for the neutral and media it makes great watching.
“It’s not so good for a manager’s nerves and stress levels. It could possibly go to the last day.”