Football - Step up no problem for players

Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald admits his side's promising start to life in the Scottish Premiership has been all the more rewarding because their initial success has been achieved by the players that got them there.

PA Sport
Football - Step up no problem for players

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Alan Archibald's Partick side will go top if they beat Hearts tonight

The First Division champions have taken four points from their first two matches and will go top of the table if they beat Hearts at Firhill tonight.

Archibald has strengthened his squad with the likes of Kallum Higginbotham, Isaac Osbourne, Mark Kerr and John Baird, who all played in the Scottish Premier League last season.

But 10 of the players who started in the draw against Dundee United and win over Ross County were at Firhill last season and the other, midfielder Gary Fraser, was in the First Division with Hamilton before joining Bolton and then Thistle on loan.

So the fact his players have shown they can make the step up has been a boost for the Jags boss.

Archibald, who lost Paul Paton and Chris Erskine to Dundee United in the summer, said: "I think it does make it more pleasing.

"Ten have started out of 11 places. Gary Fraser is the only other one and he is only a young lad as well.

"So it's very pleasing but we have also brought in a lot of new signings and maybe that has helped as well, the fact it has kept them on their toes.

"The new guys can't get in the team at the moment but they will get their chance."

Thistle will move 19 points ahead of administration-hit Hearts if they win tonight but Archibald is not viewing the game as a crucial encounter in the overall campaign - just another chance to take points and send the Thistle fans home happy.

"I don't know how important it is now," he said.

"I think it's just vital that we get a win here in front of our own fans.

"We would love to do that and I think it's too early to say it's a six-pointer."

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