Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald eyes January signings

Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald
Alan Archibald has been hampered by a series of injuries to a number of first-team regulars at Firhill

Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald is hoping to reinforce his squad at the start of the year.

How many new faces he tries to sign will depend on how many of the Jags' injured players return to fitness during the winter shut down.

"We've got five players who've been out for about the last five months," Archibald told BBC Scotland.

"We're hoping to get at least two of them back and we've got a loan player coming back."

After a hectic festive season in which Thistle play four games in 10 days, they will have three weeks to recover before they face Queen of the South in the Scottish Cup.

Midfielders Abdul Osman, Stuart Bannigan and Christie Elliot, and full-backs Callum Booth and Mustapha Dumbuya have all been sidelined long-term.

Without them, Archibald's side have dropped to the bottom of the league, two points behind Ross County and a further two adrift of Dundee.

Martin Woods
Partick Thistle's Martin Woods has been frustrated by his side's inconsistency

"It's still our aim to get off the bottom going into the January break," he said.

"Can we get off the bottom of that league and be in touching distance of the teams around about us?

"If we can do that, it makes it really tight in the bottom half."

Thistle's '10 days of Christmas' start away to Celtic on Wednesday, before they entertain Hamilton Academical, visit Aberdeen and then welcome County to Firhill.

Archibald says his players are well aware that the key to climbing the table is cutting out mistakes.

'It was a great day'

"Regardless of how well you're playing, you've got no chance if you keep giving away the goals we're giving away, making individual and collective errors," he said.

"We need to eradicate that, especially against the top sides."

Thistle go to Celtic Park hoping to draw some inspiration from Hearts' 4-0 win over Brendan Rodgers' side on Sunday at Tynecastle.

The Jags beat Motherwell 3-2 at Firhill and lost 3-0 at Dundee in their last two matches, and midfielder Martin Woods says they have to solve a football identity crisis before they start climbing the table.

"It can't be that from week to week we don't know what we're going to get," he said. "We need to know what kind of team we are and bring it every week.

"Against Dundee we gave away some really poor goals and I don't think we posed too much of a threat going forward, that was the exact opposite of the game against Motherwell."

Martin Woods scores for Ross County
Martin Woods scored a penalty as Ross County beat Celtic 3-1 in 2016

Woods believes his side can "sneak a result" at Celtic Park if they are on the "top of their game".

But, having scored for Ross County in a 3-1 League Cup semi-final win over Celtic in 2016, Woods knows the task facing his side on Wednesday.

"It was a great day full of good memories, but that was Celtic under Ronny Deila," he added. "They are a different animal now under Brendan Rodgers, minus the hiccup against Hearts at the weekend.

"Rodgers will be on them this week and getting them prepared to turn it around against us, but hopefully we can start the game well and silence the fans."

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