ALAN ARCHIBALD will rely on his young guns to call the shots in next season’s battle for SPL survival.
Partick Thistle marked their return to the top flight for the first time in nine years by beating Falkirk 2-0 on Saturday - and manager Archie (right) warned that his Firhill rookies will have a steep learning curve next term as they take on the big boys.
However, he is confident his talented young squad can do it - and says that whatever close-season additions are made, he will base his team around them.
He said: “We have a young team here at Firhill and they are all keen to play top flight football. Unfortunately we are set to lose Paul Paton and Chris Erskine who have signed pre-season contracts with Dundee United, but at the end of the day that is football.
“Basically we have the spine of the team we need, but I can see maybe needing another four or five players to fill the gaps.”
Archie added: “This season has been a tough one for us and we handled the pressure well.
“The amount of games the lads have played over the last couple of weeks have shown that they can handle the pressure and perform when it matters.”
Following the emotional scenes on Saturday Archibald said the boys had done a great job over the last 15 games, stuck together and produced when they have had to against the backdrop of a very busy playing schedule.
The manager said: “The team kept its cool even when Morton established a lead at the top of the table, but with games in hand, the destiny of the title always lay in our hands.
“It’s always better to have points on the board rather than games in hand, but we just kept plugging away winning games.
“We will face similar pressures in the Premier League and will just have to take every game as it comes along and play as I know we can.”
According to Archibald part of the secret of Thistle’s success has been the relatively young team they have had this season, and he is delighted that most of the squad have signed contracts for next season.
That includes goalkeeper Scott Fox, who has agreed to sign a new two year contract.
Archibald said: “This is great news for the club as Fox has been a real asset to the club over the past season.
Fox said: “My main aim has always been to play in the SPL. The last couple of months have been brilliant and to be honest I thought that we would make it and signing a new deal was really a no brainer for me.”
Thistle still have two games to play; a home game against Dunfermline this Saturday and an away match to Dumbarton next weekend.
On Saturday’s match, Archibald said: “We know Dunfermline will be keen to get the points. They need eight points to avoid relegation, so it will be a tough game.
“But we want to finish the season on a high and want to give the fans - who have been fantastic this season - something else to cheer about.”