ALAN ARCHIBALD, the Partick Thistle manager, spent a couple of minutes discussing the merits of Celtic's attacking trident of Kris Commons, Anthony Stokes and Leigh Griffiths.

He then spent the next couple talking about the injuries piling up to his defenders. A helpful solution was put to him.

"No, no, I'm not tempted to pull the boots back on, especially after talking about that front three," Archibald said quickly, with a grin. "It's bad enough in the under-20s."

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Still, Conrad Balatoni remains out of action, and Lee Mair phoned in sick for training yesterday with symptoms of the dreaded flu. It has not been the best timing; depending on Aberdeen tonight, Thistle might have a title party to spoil tomorrow.

"That's a bug-bear for any player," Archibald said. "You never want to see the opposition fans or players celebrating a title at your ground. Hopefully we can stop them doing it if that's the case. It happened to Lyle Taylor last year when we won the league at Falkirk."

By their standards, Thistle's last couple of home games constitute a remarkable two-game winning streak for a side who had seemed to shrivel and almost expect defeat when they walked out at Firhill.

"That will give them confidence," Archibald said. "[But] I think Celtic are actually better away from home. I don't know what the difference is, but they've always been far superior as the away team and look as if they can up the tempo at any point.

"Leigh Griffiths has added a different dynamic and drifts into pockets of space, like Commons.

"Not many have stopped them. We played against them at Parkhead and we stopped them. You just have to be as compact as you can and if you do that it gives you a chance. We didn't score but we threatened on a number of occasions."