Alan Fraser from The Jagcast was ever so kind to talk to us at the last minute and answer some hastily put together questions!
This is the first of three very important matches for Partick Thistle. After us you square up away to both Hamilton and Ross County. Could these three games define your season?
It's squeaky bottom relegation dogfight time with the present bottom five clubs semi-detached from Motherwell and Kilmarnock at the moment. Of course these are three big games for Thistle and our respective opponents. Hard to not deal in cliches, six pointers etc.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I think Thistle only brought in player in the January window (Defender Baily Cargill). Were you disappointed that Archibald wasn’t involved in more wheeling and dealing?
I really don't think we really needed to strengthen in any other area if the players coming back from injury are fit and ready. Losing Jordan Turnbull was a blow and with Milan Nitriansky being released and James Penrice being recalled from his loan spell at Livingston I think Archie did what was required. The squad now looks much stronger than earlier in the season.
Thistle have a habit of kicking on in the second half of the season. Are you confident that your club can do it again?
Confident? More hopeful than confident I suppose. We have been playing much better recently than earlier in the season. With Kris Doolan still scoring goals and the recent form of Conor Sammon we pose more of a goal threat at present. Time to push on, yes.
Our last match seen Dundee run out 3-0 winners with Danny Devine having a fairly forgettable match. Was this result and performance a bit of a shock to you?
I was a bit shocked at the scoreline that's for sure. I can't comment on the team performance as I didn't make that match. And if Danny Devine had a forgettable match then I'm prepared to forget about it too.
Both teams need a win here massively. I’d be happy with a point at Firhill if Hamilton and County failed to pick up any but how do you think Saturdays match will end?
Saturday's match will end with Thistle running out 4-1 winners.
With just sixteen minutes left to play, the Dark Blues were ahead and looked good for the win with the man advantage but they surrendered the lead and eventually the points by allowing Killie to not only equalise by also grab the winner.
"Only the players can explain why they're not doing their jobs properly," McCann said.
"They've been told and they will be told repeatedly again that it's unacceptable.
"We're 2-1 up and a man up, I've taken off a more attacking player for a defensive player, but for some unknown reason we can't manage that situation.
"We've just got players running and I'm screaming at them from the touchline. We shouldn't lose that game."
McCann was quick to point out that he felt Glen Kamara was fouled in the lead up to Kilmarnock’s winner but refused to blame the match official for Dundee throwing away the three points.
"Glen Kamara is fouled right in front of us, Nick doesn't give it, and he waltzes through, the boy," McCann said.
"I'm not happy with [the referee] not giving a free kick when Kamara was fouled. Other than that, both managers might have a few grumbles. [But] it wasn't the referee's faulty we lost the game."
After seeing bottom of the table Ross County dismantle Dundee at Dens then gift wrapping the Scottish Cup tie to Motherwell last Saturday, the Dens men are looking to bounce back with a victory against in-form Kilmarnock to not only give themselves a major boost, but also the fans.
Tonight’s opposition are going to prove a tough obstacle though. Since we last met Killie in the league nine games ago, they have won an impressive five, drawn two and only lost two. Something that Neil McCann is fulyl aware of.
“They look as if they have a real understanding in how they play and a belief in what they are doing is right. The results certainly reflect that.
“Steve has a way of playing and a structure and it has been really effective for them. Kilmarnock are a counter-attacking side who get really compact and then try to hit on the break.
“So we have shaped up in a way that will allow us to play our own game but respect the opposition as we always do.”
The Dark Blue fans could very well see the inclusion of surprise signing Steven Caulker in the defence for tonight.
“Steven has a chance of playing but to what degree I’ll decide on that later,” said McCann
“Josh Meekings is right on the edge as well. He was close on Saturday and he is even closer now.
“However, Marcus Haber is out as he has hurt his back again.
“Julen Etxabeguren and Matty Henvey are still out but the latter is making good progress and should return to training next Monday.”
With one defeat in the last six for Motherwell and sitting nicely in the top 6, it was time to catch up with the guys at MFC Podcast to ask them a few questions.
Since our last match, it’s been two wins, three draws and three defeats for Motherwell and you now sit in the top 6. Compared to your previous form before facing us last time around, you must be happy with the way the club have played, specially since coming back from the winter break?
Very happy, the week in which we played Celtic three times on the bounce totally changed our season for the worst, the run following these games was awful, although there were a number of tough games among those. Since we’ve returned from the break we seem to have rediscovered the intensity and fighting spirit that we showed in the first four months of the season.
For any Dundee fans that haven’t followed your transfers in the January window, can you talk us through the players that have been brought in?
It was another pretty busy transfer window, the massive question was going to be how we replaced Louis Moult –an incredibly big job given his contribution to Motherwell in the last few years. Initially Curtis Main arrived on a free from Portsmouth, many fans had a look at his Wikipedia page and instantly wrote him off as a player who wouldn’t provide the goals, but his goal against St Johnstone brought him to four goals in five games for the club, he’s shown many attributes that have had the majority of us believing that he can go someway to filling the void left by Louis.
Ciftci’s contribution has been mainly positive too, his touch is fantastic and he’s a very strong link-up player. I was really pleased to see him get off the mark against Thistle last week and hope he can adhere himself to Dundee fans even more this weekend by sticking a few in the net. We were also able to secure the signing of Peter Hartley on a permanent deal (you maybe saw the video?) and Stephen Hendrie has arrived on loan from Southend, I think it was a positive window for the club.
In our last tie, I felt Dundee done enough for the win but it would end all square. What were your thoughts on our previous encounter?
I would agree with you, I think we left that game very satisfied with a point, which is in part credit to Dundee for how they played and also a little down to how poor our display was.
I was listening to your podcast today and quite enjoyed the discussion surrounding Colt teams entering Division 2. Could you give you thoughts to our readers about this?
Prior to recording the podcast I was dead against the idea and I still am, but for different reasons now. These plans appear to have been rushed through to ensure Celtic and Rangers get their wishes. It is wrong on so many levels – I’d encourage anyone with an interest in the situation to check out our recent podcast (head about 30 minutes in if you’d prefer to avoid the MFC chat) and listen to the debate on the issue.
You’ve come into this Cup tie on the back of a fine win over struggling St Johnstone whilst we got absolutely spanked at the weekend by bottom side Ross County. Will any of this matter with it being the cup or can you see a tightly thought contest? Also what's your prediction for this tie?
I’ve not really considered Dundee’s result last week and don’t really think it’ll have any bearing on Saturday. Both encounters this season have been tight affairs and I don’t see this one being any different. The St Johnstone game showed when we get the ball down and try play football we can be very effective, I wouldn’t be surprised if we meet again in a replay at Fir Park, but hope we can sneak it – I’ll go for Dundee 1-2 Motherwell (Ciftci & Main)