PARTICK Thistle manager Alan Archibald has announced he will not drop Stevie Lawless at Hamilton tomorrow as he awaits official word from the SFA over allegations of breaching regulations on betting.
Lawless is about to be served a notice of complaint from the compliance officer Tony McGlennan, becoming the fourth player in Scottish football to be charged over the rules on gambling.
The 24-year-old has been a key man in three successive victories which have lifted Thistle comfortably clear of the Premiership danger zone and scored in last weekend’s 3-0 win over St Mirren.
Archibald said: “He’ll be in the squad as normal until we know the full extent.”
The details of the impending charges are not yet clear and the Firhill outfit want to wait until the notice of complaint arrives before commenting further. A Partick spokesperson said: “We are aware of the SFA’s intention to issue a notice of complaint to Steven Lawless with regards to betting on football matches.
“As a club we are in the process of conducting our own internal investigation and, until that and any SFA procedure is concluded, we will be making no further comment.”
Rangers midfielder Ian Black was banned for 10 games, seven of them suspended, and fined £7,500 after being accused of betting on 160 matches over a seven-year spell.
His Ibrox team-mate Steven Simonsen was given a two-game ban, one suspended, while Michael Moffat of Ayr United missed four matches for flouting the rules.
It has been another challenge for Archibald, who feels his skills as a “social worker” have been tested as much as his coaching abilities as he approaches his 100th game in charge of Partick Thistle.
Archibald will hit the century at Hamilton tomorrow aiming to lead the Jags to four top-flight wins in a row for the first time in 38 years, having already comfortably secured safety in the Premiership.
He has admitted that the off-the-field issues he has been forced to deal with as a rookie manager have made his job a lot more difficult than he anticipated when he took over the Firhill hot seat from Jackie McNamara.
Thistle sacked Jordan McMillan in March following an internal investigation and Gary
Fraser was banned for nine games for attacking Dunfermline’s Chris Kane in October 2013 during an under-20s game.
The Thistle manager said: “Everything has opened my eyes. There have been a couple of issues this year and you have no idea until you take over.
“When you take the job, the coaching can often be down the line. I know it’s vitally important and it’s also the best bit, because you can switch off from the phone and other stuff you have to deal with. You become a social worker, so to speak.
“You know on the pitch what time you have, you know what you’re doing.
“But you can go a couple of hours in the afternoon in the office and they just pass you by because you are answering the phone or dealing with stuff which has not been planned. That’s the difference.”
The Pro Licence coaching course prepares participants for certain scenarios but Archibald already had difficulties to deal with before taking it.
He said: “Not every situation is covered, but I wish I had taken it earlier, even though it’s one of those you really only do when you become a manager.
“I have learned to manage things a bit better, but it’s difficult and you can only improve that you older you get, the more experienced you get and the longer you are in a job.”
Bertie Auld was the last Partick Thistle manager to win four top-flight games in a row back in October 1977 – three months before Archibald was born – and it would another feather in the cap of the current manager if he could emulate that feat.
He said: “The 100th game in charge is good timing, especially since we secured our safety last weekend.
“The players have put a good run together at the right time and that’s what was missing earlier, the consistency.
“We want to build on it and progress each season and we have a wee chance to try and catch Hamilton for seventh.”