Jul 26 2012 By Fraser Wilson
Archibald is a legend at Firhill and is keen to secure promotion before hanging up his boots
ALAN ARCHIBALD is long-enough in the tooth to realise talk is cheap when it comes to pre-season predictions.
That's why Partick Thistle's veteran campaigner refuses to get carried away by the Jags' promising pre-season preparations which concluded with victory in their own tournament on Sunday.
Archibald doesn't do hollow predictions when it comes to the serious matter of trying to win promotion to the SPL.
However, there is one thing of which the Firhill stalwart is adamant - this Thistle squad is far better prepared for the rigours of the first division than the one 12 months ago.
The 2012/2013 season kicks off with a Challenge Cup fixture away to Clyde on Saturday.
But, asked if his side were capable of winning the title this term, the 34-year-old former Dundee United stopper said: "I think we say the same thing every year, I think we can.
"But anyone can. Over the last few years the team that spends the most money has gone on to win the division.
"Outwith that if you start the season well and go on a wee run then it can stand you in good stead. Raith Rovers did that last year as did Ross County.
"Once you start winning games, winning at home and picking up points away from home, then you build a bit of momentum, I think anyone can do it.
"We were looking back recently at the squad we had pre-season last year and the squad we have now and we are definitely looking a lot stronger.
"The manager has had more time, he is a year better off himself in terms of experience, and he knows how he wants the team to play. He knew at the end of last season the players he wanted and has made some good signings.
"Hopefully we can make a good start because it's going to be a long, hard season."
Archibald is entering his 12th season as a Jag with four years at Dundee United sandwiched in between from 2003 to 2007.
Despite suffering an unfair share injuries in the last few years the centre half is determined to play a huge part on the park while also learning the ropes as a coach.
"I managed over 30 games last year and I want to do the same again," he said.
"I'm down as a player first and foremost and if you don't play you miss it so I will go as long as I can."
Scottish football has been dominated by the Rangers crisis this summer. And Archibald and his team mates could have been facing the Gers four times this season if the SFL had parachuted the Ibrox club into the first division.
But the stopper is glad Ally McCoist and his men will begin their new life in the bottom tier.
He said: "It would maybe have been good for a few of the younger players here to play against Rangers at Ibrox in front of a big crowd but hopefully if we can get into the SPL then we will soon get that chance anyway.
"If they had come in to our league then you would have had the whole drama that comes with it so it's maybe best they didn't."