Archibald tips Erskine to shine
Partick Thistle boss Alan Archibald says it is only a matter of time before former Firhill favourite Chris Erskine starts showing new club Dundee United how good he really is.
Erskine and midfield colleague Paul Paton were part of the Maryhill squad that returned Thistle to the Scottish Premiership after an eight-year wait by winning the First Division title.
Their promotion feats won them both a move to Tannadice but while Paton has started all eight of United's games so far, winger Erskine's appearances have mostly been limited to as a substitute.
He is unlikely to feature against his former employers either when they arrive on Tayside for Wednesday's Scottish League Cup tie after picking up a training ground knock but old boss Archibald is sure the talented 26-year-old can find his feet eventually like team-mate Paton.
He told Press Association Sport: "I'm not surprised by how well Pates has done. He's had that hunger and desire to play in the top league for a while and United suits him. They have found a good position for him sitting in front of the back four and he organises things.
"I am surprised that Chris hasn't made much of an impact yet but that's probably just down to the talent they have got up there.
"United have got players who are similar to Chris but who have been up there for a few years and who know the squad and the surroundings well.
"They have got Ryan Gauld, Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven to name a few, but it will just be a matter of time before he starts to show what he can do. It might take Chris a wee bit longer as a winger to settle, because they can be a bit hit or miss sometimes as flair players but I'm sure he will be a success in his own right up there as well.
"I'm not sure if he'll make the game up there as I think he's got a niggle but you always worry about a former player coming back to haunt you with a goal. However, we are well aware of his qualities and will be on our guard if he plays."
The teams met on the opening day of the Scottish Premiership season in Glasgow and fought out an entertaining 0-0 draw.
And Archibald does not plan to wander too far from the attacking philosophy that was frustrated on that day only by sloppy finishing from his men and some last-ditch defending from the visitors.
"No we won't change our plan too much," he said.
"We have stressed the same things that we did at the start of the season.
"They have got bundles of young talent who like to get forward with great pace and we know they can hurt us on the break, which they showed when they beat Ross County a couple of weeks ago.
"But we are dangerous too and know we can threaten when we go froward so long as we take care of the ball."
Dundee United captain Sean Dillon has warned that determination to proceed could be more important than quality of play.
Both sides have played some impressive football in recent weeks but, like every other Scottish Premiership side, they had to battle all the way against lower league opposition in the second round of the competition.
Thistle saw off Cowdenbeath after extra-time while United were several minutes away from the same fate at Dumbarton when substitute Nadir Ciftci scored his second goal of the night to earn a 3-2 victory.
United have won the Scottish Cup and lost in the League Cup final since Dillon arrived in 2007, as well as playing in several more semi-finals.
And the defender knows that their runs to Hampden have not always been plain sailing.
The 30-year-old said: "Regardless of what I say, the lads should want to go and win a cup. There are only three trophies that you are competing for and the chances of winning the league are very, very slim. That's the reality of it.
"But if you look at the teams that have won cups in the last few years, it's possible to go and win one.
"You have to make sure you are desperate to go on and desperate to get there.
"A lot of it is about hard work and determination. It's great to play well but I think when we went on those runs, it hasn"t always been flair and great play that has got us there.
"Yeah, that has definitely helped, but sometimes you just need to grit your teeth and get through it. It doesn't always have to be a great win."