Partick Thistle 1-0 Motherwell: Archibald praises Jags, Robinson laments loss

Partick Thistle celebrate
Thistle will meet Celtic, Aberdeen, Rangers, St Johnstone and Hearts in the post-split fixtures

Manager Alan Archibald admits he did not expect Partick Thistle to secure a top-six Scottish Premiership finish after their start to the season.

The Jags' 1-0 win over Motherwell means they will be in the top half - for the first time since 1981 - when the league splits after next week's fixtures.

Thistle were bottom on 20 December, but have lost only two league games since.

"It's a massive turnaround from the players and full credit to them," Archibald told BBC Scotland.

"No, I definitely didn't [foresee a top-six finish after the first quarter]. It's a great achievement from December; when we went to Celtic Park [after 17 games], we were bottom of the league.

"It's just more relief when you look at the bottom half of the table - it's horrible to be involved in that, we have been.

"We can look forward and look at the next games and go and enjoy them and hopefully get as many points on the board as we can."

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Interviews - Archibald and Robinson

The 39-year-old led Thistle to the top flight by winning the second tier in 2013 and stayed with the club after interest from Shrewsbury Town in October.

"It's probably up there with winning the league," he added of the top-six achievement. "It's very, very similar to that and credit to the players, we've got a real good group.

"I'm delighted we did it ourselves. We didn't have to rely on anybody else. It was a fantastic 1-0 performance.

"Our back three were outstanding. It's fitting that we won the match with a wonderful save from Tomas Cerny in the end."

Motherwell slipped to second bottom on goal difference after Kris Doolan's first-half strike proved enough for the hosts.

"We lost the game in the first 30 minutes," said manager Stephen Robinson. "We didn't start well enough, we didn't compete well enough and we didn't pass the ball.

"We showed a lack of composure as well. The transformation in the second half and probably the last 10 minutes of the first half was too little, too late.

Stephen Robinson
Robinson replaced Mark McGhee in March after a spell as interim boss

"We were happy to get in 1-0 [down] at half-time, try and sort some things out, make a few changes to the system and the personnel and it worked to an extent. Obviously, we dominated the whole second half but you can't start football matches like that.

"I asked for a reaction, I got the reaction but we didn't get the end product."

Well take on basement side Inverness Caledonian Thistle next weekend, with four points separating the bottom two.

Hamilton Academical are ahead of Motherwell on goal difference while Dundee, Ross County and Kilmarnock are not yet safe from automatic relegation or the play-off spot.

"It's huge," Robinson, 42, said of the next fixture. "Make no mistake, every game we play now until the end of the season is huge for this football club.

"Players are well aware of that and they need to produce better performances than they did in the first 30 minutes to make sure we stay in this division."

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