Date: 5th October 2015
Why Thistle will not make it a hat trick of managerial sackings says Steve McGregor
Irony sits along side comedy as traits that are usually in abundance at Firhill season after season. There has been little to cheer about for Partick Thistle Manager Alan Archibald so far in his plight for a win and for the fans very few comedy moments in a season of toil. Just over a week ago a club record for the longest time without a goal since 1921 was averted with a late strike at Motherwell. Archibald faced a side above him in the league that have just sacked a manager after a failure against a Championship side in the League Cup. Ironically Thistle will made history on Saturday again as another side above them in the league arrived at Firhill with another caretaker at the helm looking for a victory. It is an unusual situation to say the least and not one easy to find an any record books. The Manager who is the bookies favourite for the chop playing against two teams in successive weeks that have just sacked a manager. The real irony is not just the timing of the games; but also that both Motherwell and Dundee United have gathered more points than Thistle. Factor in the Thistle connection at United with McNamara, Donnelly and Hinchcliffe all giving Thistle sterling service and Well’s Craigan being a former teammate of Archibald’s and it all feels quite odd.
It is a scenario that has not been played out in Scottish football before and you have to feel sorry for Archie as the two teams above him in the league try to push them away from Thistle by utilising the well know effects of the new manger bounce that often works in securing the points. You don’t need to be Alex Smith or to work for Ladbrokes to appreciate that the next manager who is the Bookies favourite for the chop is Thistle legend Alan Archibald despite gather 3 vital points on Saturday. However, the thing is that the only real pressure on him is from himself as there are quite a few reasons why he is unlikely to get sacked:-
• Archibald is a club legend and the Board and the fans don’t want him to be sacked.
• With the lowest budget in the league (aside of Hamilton) there is a reality that exists with Thistle fans who know the rightful place and it’s between the bottom rung of the premiership and the top half of the championship.
• Archibald is a young manager and is still learning his trade and he knows and loves the club. The fans and Board remember he was the man who brought them up in the first place.
• Having the right man in place is more important to Jags fans than having anybody run the club. They had a succession of bad managers in the 80’s and 90’s that left the club scared before the arrival of another club legend John Lambie.
• The season has just started and a couple of wins would change everything.
• Thistle are actually playing decent football and remain entertaining. They simply don’t look like a broken team at this stage – so no need to panic.
• With the Thistle Weir Academy in its infancy it will take some time before the club is in a sustainable place where it produces its own talent and sells them on. Changing the first team manager does little to help that important longer term strategy.
• It would cost the club money, which it simply does not have, in terminating the coaching staff contracts.
• Given the limitations at the club it would be a complete lottery to find a manager who “might” be able to do better.
So there are signs of hope for Archie and all the Thistle fans I have spoken to want him to stay. If he goes it will because he feels he can’t do anymore; but with that first win off their back they will certainly look to build on the confidence that it will bring.
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