Partick V Dundee Utd at Firhill Stadium : Match Preview

02 August 2013 11:05
Partick V Dundee Utd - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Partick to follow County's lead

Alan Archibald has told his Partick Thistle youngsters to follow Ross County's lead and take their first steps in the Scottish Premiership with a swagger.

The Jags return to the top flight for the first time in nine years with the opening match of the newly formed Scottish Professional Football League against Dundee United at Firhill.

The First Division winners have added eight new faces to the fresh-faced squad that clinched promotion with an 11-point winning margin over runners-up Morton.

But Archibald admits he does not have the same reserves of experience enjoyed by their rivals and believes it will take a show of youthful bravado for them to retain their place in the re-branded Scottish Premier League.

Ross County did just that as their promotion squad of 2011/12 stormed the SPL last year and eventually landed a top-six slot.

Rookie boss Archibald, who only replaced former manager Jackie McNamara in February, said: "Signing up these younger players was the first thing we did this summer. I spoke to the board about signing one or two new players, just to help them along the way, because we lost a few lads.

"But the main aim was always to get the rest of them signed up because I know how well they did last year.

"Now this is a platform for them to go and show how good they are. It's just about getting the confidence to go and pass the ball and play. They need to believe in themselves.

"Ross County did that last year and kept the core of their squad together. Look how well they did.

"They got off to a good start and we have looked at that - we know it is possible for us too. Inverness did the same a couple of years before as well. We're basing our aims on that."

Archibald is sweating on defender Jordan McMillan.

The former Rangers and Dunfermline full-back injured an ankle in training this week and will be given a fitness test.

Stuart Bannigan (ankle) and Sean Welsh (toe) have both been passed fit after shaking off knocks and will join summer signings Paul Gallacher, John Baird, Mark Kerr, Henoc Mukendi, Gary Fraser, Gabriel, Isaac Osbourne and Simon Colina Dominguez in Archibald's squad for the reunion with former boss Jackie McNamara and his United team.

Meanwhile, McNamara has told his players that a top-six finish in the Scottish Premiership is the very least he expects this season.

United just scraped into the top half of the table ahead of the split last term before finishing in sixth spot.

And McNamara, who took over as boss at Tannadice in January, wants to ensure the club is moving forward under his stewardship as they prepare to kick off the new campaign.

He said: "First and foremost for me, I want to progress from last season.

"As a club, I thought we underachieved, especially at home. Our home results were very poor for the fan base we've got.

"Top six is a minimum for us. I want to take the club forward and try to be successful here."

United have doubts over Stuart Armstrong and Keith Watson.

The pair are suffering from slight knocks but McNamara hopes they will both be passed fit.

Source: PA