Alan Archibald rues absent Thistle playmakers

Thistle's Stuart Bannigan holds off Murray Davidson (right) and Steven Anderson (left). Picture: SNSThistle's Stuart Bannigan holds off Murray Davidson (right) and Steven Anderson (left). Picture: SNS
Thistle's Stuart Bannigan holds off Murray Davidson (right) and Steven Anderson (left). Picture: SNS
PARTICK THISTLE manager Alan Archibald has challenged his players to summon a greater cutting edge.

Archibald felt his side were lacking in punch up front after a battling goalless draw in the wind and rain of Firhill.

With injuries to key creative players, he admitted his team failed to create sufficient clear-cut chances and had no doubt the return of Kallum Higginbotham in particular would improve the quality of their play in the final third.

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Higginbotham has missed recent games after undergoing surgery for a knee problem, and a similar injury has also sidelined Gary Fraser.

“I think we’re missing him,” Archibald said of Higginbotham. “Gary Fraser has got a killer pass in him as well, so guys like that to come back in will give us more options. But the lads worked ever so hard.”

With a League Cup quarter-final against Celtic to come during the week, Archibald admitted: “It might be too soon for them, but we’re definitely looking towards Saturday to have one of them back, if not two.”

The Partick boss was pleased with new centre-half Frederic Frans. “It was a great debut from him,” said Archibald. “They’re a handful, Brian Graham and James McFadden. We’ve had him for a couple of weeks and he was in training over the international break as well, so I’m delighted with his debut and to get a clean sheet as well.

“He looks a bit cumbersome but he’s very good on the ball and you saw that. He doesn’t hit too many long balls, everything’s on the floor with him, so we’re delighted with him.”

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright was disappointed Lee Croft had not taken a glorious chance in the first half, but was happy with his team’s overall performance as they halted a sequence of five defeats on the spin prior to the game.

“It’s probably the best chance of the game,” said Wright, “although they had one that I think Frazer (Wright) or Ando (Steven Anderson) blocks in the middle of the goal, but it was a clear-cut chance and he probably should have lifted it. I think he was trying to get it under the ’keeper but he hit it a bit too close to him.

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“We’ve had opportunities in the second half, Murray (Davidson) has been careless with a pass and he gets a good header in as well late on that Fox does well to save, but with recent results, I’m more than pleased with the performance and the point.”