ALAN ARCHIBALD may have left Partick Thistle, but the club will never leave him. And the Firhill legend admits that events both on and off the park at present have him worried for his beloved club, where he spent the best part of 20 years as player and manager.

Whether it is the poor start to the Championship campaign or the uncertainty around future ownership, these are tumultuous times to be a Thistle supporter, and Archibald feels that anxiety as much as anyone.

He had some words of comfort though for the long-suffering Jags faithful when he stated his belief that returning chairman David Beattie, who he worked with closely over a number of years, would not do anything to deliberately harm the club. But he is hoping for a swift conclusion to the uncertainty around Thistle so that they can rediscover an identity he fears is slowly being eroded away.

“It’s horrible to see,” Archibald said.

“When we got to the top six it was because everybody at the club was pushing in the one direction, but I don’t see that now. It looks totally different now from the outside.

“One thing I would say is that if David Beattie has got back involved, he wouldn’t have done so unless he had to. He’s only ever had the club at heart. The whole time I was there, as a player and as a manager, he always backed you as a chairman. He always wanted the best for the club, so I can’t see him selling the club down the river, and I don’t think he would do anything to put the club in a bad position.

“The club probably just needs proper leadership. If David was going back in with his own board members and staying there, everyone would be at ease. He’s going in there though by the looks of it to sell it on, and I think everyone is uneasy.

“You see what is going on, especially down south at clubs such as Bury and Bolton, there is always a worry over new investment and where they want to take the club.

“[That concerns me] a little bit. Partick Thistle to me is a special club, and they need an identity. They always had that, and it is starting to drift away a wee bit.

“I just hope that it is good leadership that takes over and we can see the club back in the Premiership.”

As well as his hankering to see Thistle back in the big-time, Archibald admits that the managerial bug is starting to bite him once more after his break from the game, although he has kept his eye in by doing some scouting.

The hiatus has given him time to reflect upon the end of his Firhill reign, and while he isn’t without regret, he now feels ready to step back into the breech once more.

“I should have left in the summer [after being relegated], but I was advised to stay on,” he said.

“The club was going through so much change at the time, a change of board members and the chief executive moving on. I stayed for the sake of staying when I should have made a clean break. I soon realised my time was coming to an end and that is what happened.

“You don’t realise it at the time, but I probably needed a break. Football is all consuming and it is all you think about 24/7. I feel totally refreshed now and I’m keen to get back into it.”

Archibald was stunned by the nature of the departure of some of his former players from Firhill in the months after his sacking, so he was only too happy to pay tribute to one of them in particular as he spoke ahead of Kris Doolan’s testimonial this Sunday, where he will be pulling the boots on once again in front of the Thistle faithful.

“I used to use Kris as a role-model for all the young guys, anyone who broke through into the team,” he said.

“You see young guys breaking through and they buy the football boots, the toilet bag with the name and picture on it and all that, so we used to say to them to look at role models like Kris and Chris Erskine.

“Guys like that are still playing into their thirties, not a lot of injuries, in the gym every morning, so that was the type of role model you want for young players.

“That’s why they should probably still be at the football club as well.”

*A Partick Thistle Legends XI, including Kenny Arthur, Alan Archibald, Liam Lindsay and Chic Charnley will take on a Celtic Legends XI on Sunday 15th September in a 4pm kick off.