Partick v St Mirren: Thistle will use title spirit

PARTICK THISTLE manager Alan Archibald feels his players’ title-winning experience can stand them in good stead for the nerve-wracking battle to avoid the play-offs.

Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald believes his team will beat the drop. Picture: SNS

Thistle’s young team kept ahead of Morton to win the First Division last season, despite ­losing manager Jackie McNamara to Dundee United in January.

They continue their bid to ­retain their Premiership status tonight when they host St Mirren, who sit a point above them.

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“You learn the pressure,” Archibald said. “The pressure comes with it. A lot of our lads haven’t got the experience of being in a­ ­dogfight before, but they have a lot of experience of last year when they had to go out and win every single game, or match Morton’s results.

“It’s something they did ­really well, and hopefully they will draw on that experience and it will stand us in good stead ­during the run-in.”

Thistle looked a team free of edginess when they went to Kilmarnock last weekend for a 2-1 win that took them off the dreaded second-bottom spot.

“You want the players to relax and go out and enjoy it as well, because when they get too ­uptight they don’t play and they start making bad decisions,” Archibald said.

A bumper crowd is expected at Firhill after St Mirren sold out their initial allocation of 1,840, with Buddies fans now buying restricted view tickets.

St Mirren defender David van Zanten believes there are still “twists and turns” to be ­witnessed in the Premiership this season, but is glad the ­Buddies go into the final stages of the campaign in good form.

Danny Lennon’s side are ­unbeaten in three games with Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Hibernian taking them into eighth place although they are only three points ahead of Ross County, who occupy the ­relegation play-off spot.

Van Zanten said: “It is a great time of the season to pick up some wins. It is vital that we do that and hopefully we can ­continue that run. There are so many twists and turns still to be had in the league, there are so many permutations and all we can do is take each game at a time and, hopefully, pick up as many wins as we can.”