Partick V Kilmarnock at Firhill Stadium : Match Preview

20 September 2013 06:31
Partick V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Higginbotham loving life at Partick

Kallum Higginbotham has vowed to repay boss Alan Archibald for handing him the chance to kickstart his career again at Partick Thistle.

The winger jumped at the chance to pen a two-year deal with the Jags in the summer after a frustrating spell at Huddersfield came to an end.

Higginbotham - who previously played for Falkirk and spent the second half of last season on loan at Motherwell - wants to play a major part in helping Partick secure their top-flight survival this term.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's Scottish Premiership clash at home to Kilmarnock, he said: "I'm loving it here. I love training and looking forward to a match on a Saturday.

"When I was down south it was just training and, come Saturday, I knew I wasn't going to be involved.

"It was getting a bit stale. It's good to be back involved and feeling wanted again.

"Hopefully I can repay Partick and the gaffer for giving me the opportunity.

"I'm just glad to be back playing football again and hopefully I can get a few more goals and some assists and help push us up the league."

Partick had enjoyed a positive start to life in the Scottish Premiership before suffering a 3-0 home defeat to Aberdeen last week.

"It was just a blip in our season," said Higginbotham.

"All the boys have just swept it under the carpet and we will move on, on Saturday.

"Before that game, we were playing some excellent football and everyone has been talking about us.

"We will go out on Saturday and show that it was just a one-off and get back to the way we were playing.

"We go out every Saturday and expect to win the game and, with their injuries and having a few big players out, we thought we were going to go out there and get the three points.

"It just goes to show how hard this league is. On any given day, any team can beat anyone."

Next up is the visit of Kilmarnock, who have yet to record a victory so far this season.

And Higginbotham is keen to pile on more misery at Firhill on Saturday.

He said: "The guys have just said that they've not won a game this season. I wasn't aware of that stat.

"Hopefully on Saturday we can put them under more pressure than what they are already and get the three points.

"I firmly believe that we will get the three points."

Conrad Balatoni (hamstring) will come back into contention for Partick while Jordan McMillan has overcome the ankle problem that has sidelined him so far this term but a knock picked up in training could delay his return to action

Kilmarnock boss Allan Johnston hopes to have a couple of new faces in his squad for the clash

Johnston could include ex-Hearts defender Ismael Bouzid and former Killie winger David Silva if they accept contract offers after impressing on trial this week.

Skipper Manuel Pascali is nearing a starting place after fully recovering from a hamstring injury but Jerome Tesselaar (broken nose) is a doubt, while Sammy Clingan (knee) and Chris Johnston (shoulder) have been ruled out.

Midfielder Barry Nicholson believes former Hearts defender Bouzid can finally plug the hole in the Kilmarnock defence that has been leaking goals all season.

Only Ross County and St Mirren have let in more than the nine goals conceded by the Rugby Park side so far this term.

But boss Johnston hopes to solve the situation with the capture of Algerian international Bouzid on a one-year deal.

The former Tynecastle player has had spells at Union Berlin, Kaiserslautern, Galatasaray and Troyes and joins Killie from USM Alger in his homeland in time for Saturday's trip to Partick.

Nicholson has also been impressed by what he has seen during the 30-year-old's recent trial stint and says his aggressive approach is just what the Ayrshire side require.

He said: "We need a no-nonsense defender like Bouzi. Someone to go and win the balls in the area for us.

"If the ball is up the other end of the pitch then we can't lose goals.

"The manager wants us to be a team that plays football but Bouzi gives us something that we have missed, a dominant centre-half."

Source: PA