Alan Archibald insists his struggling Partick Thistle side will not be found wanting in the desire stakes when they take on Rangers this evening.
Victory for Pedro Caixinha’s men at the newly-renamed Energy Check Stadium would send them level on points with Celtic and Aberdeen at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.
But while Archibald acknowledges there is a lot riding on the game for the Ibrox men, he believes his team are just as hungry as they look to finally grab their first win of the new campaign.
“We’re confident, believe it or not,” said the Thistle manager. “We’re at home and we’ve got to get after Rangers and get the victory.
“We know there is a big incentive for Rangers to get to the top of the league. But the incentive to get that first three points is just as big for us. There is going to be a big crowd, the game’s live on TV and it’s a chance to get our first win, so there are plenty of motivating factors – none more so than the chance to get out of the group down the bottom of the table.”
Tonight’s showdown is the first of two games against Rangers in the space of five days, with Thistle also hosting the Betfred Cup quarter-final on Tuesday.
Archibald is hoping to make amends following last year’s double home defeat by Rangers. Thistle led on both occasions, but their inability to hold on cost them dear as they ultimately sank to a pair of dispiriting defeats.
Joe Dodoo was the hero with his late brace back in November, while April’s Maryhill clash was settled when Barrie McKay and Joe Garner struck at the death.
All three of Rangers’ scorers have since been moved on by Caixinha, but Archibald is wary of the Portuguese coach’s new-look side.
He said: “We were annoyed we lost the two late goals against them in both games here last season. We had put so much into the performances, especially the second game when I thought we were the better team for longer periods. But it just proves – and we’ve reminded the players of this point this week – when teams have quality, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first minute or the 95th. Quality players can turn up at any time, so we need to make sure we are on our guard.
“I think they have got stronger as this season has gone on. I watched them in their European game back in July as well as their last two games, which have been very good. They scored three against Ross County and four against Dundee, so it looks like their new players are starting to gel.”