St Johnstone V Partick at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

18 August 2017
St Johnstone's Paul Paton impressed by Partick boss Alan Archibald

St Johnstone midfielder Paul Paton admits he had his doubts when quiet man Alan Archibald made the step-up into management, but now believes he is destined to become a big noise down south.

Paton was still on the books with Partick Thistle when club captain Archibald was asked to take up the reins following Jackie McNamara's departure.

The move surprised Paton, who was unsure the laid-back defender had what it takes to cope with the cut-throat nature of the job.

But Archibald has flourished since his 2013 promotion, leading Partick to the First Division title after just six months in charge before gradual progression in the top flight saw them finish sixth last term - the Firhill outfit's best league position for 36 years.

That has attracted attention from the likes of English lower-league outfits Shrewsbury and Swindon, while his name has also been linked with the current vacancy at Hearts.

But Paton, who will come up against his former Partick boss on Saturday when the Jags visit Perth, believes Archibald will find himself at even loftier surroundings if he decides to move on from Maryhill.

"I've been really impressed with Thistle so far," said the Saints battler. "They have a good squad and I think if you finish above Partick Thistle you're guaranteed to be in the top six this year.

"I saw them the other night against Celtic and I was impressed with how Archie handled it.

"I played under him for the last six months of my time there. He was great for the short spell I worked under him. He led the team to the First Division title and has been great since.

"He had the total respect of the boys being the club captain but, to be honest, I wasn't always so sure he would be right for management. I knew he was a good leader but he was quite a laid-back guy.

"He was a leader at the right times but he wasn't always shouting and bawling. Everybody has different personalities, though, and since then he has grown into the position."

Stuart Bannigan knows he will have to be patient following his return from long-term injury but he is eager to repay Partick Thistle for standing by him.

The midfielder looked set to leave Thistle last summer but suffered a knee injury in March 2016 which put paid to a move.

However, Archibald offered him a two-year contract extension and Bannigan wants to reward him after returning to action following a full season on the sidelines.

Ahead of Saturday's encounter, the 24-year-old said: "I need to repay the faith they have shown in me because they gave me a two-year contract when they didn't need to. So I need to repay that with performances on the pitch.

"The board didn't exactly know the situation with my knee, they thought I'd maybe be back in a couple of months' time rather than a full year.

"They certainly didn't need to give me the contract but I'm grateful to them for it.

"I had played a lot of games for the club and I definitely put my heart and soul into the club, and I came through the youth system as well. So maybe I did earn it but I'm grateful to them.

"And it was no problem at all. I remember I spoke to the manager about staying and I thought maybe he'd be a bit sticky about it or it would take a while to get it sorted, but it was near enough that week it was all done and dusted. So I can't thank them enough."