ROSS FORBES has admitted Partick Thistle are going to have to learn to win ugly if they are to realise their dream of promotion into the SPL.
Manager Jackie McNamara's free-flowing side have rightly earned countless plaudits for an attractive brand of football that some seasoned followers in the Jackie Husband Stand believe to be the best since the fabled side of 1971 that one the Scottish League Cup.
However, since the euphoria of their 5-1 hammering of Dunfermline has faded, the Jags have won just twice in their last six Irn-Bru First Division league outings.
That has seen the Firhill men fall two points off the promotion pace behind joint-leaders Morton and Dunfermline, albeit with two games in hand.
Now with Saturday's trip to face a resurgent Dumbarton side looming, Forbes says that three points will be all that matters against the Sons, no matter how they are gained.
The Thistle midfielder said: "As we found at Airdrie the other week, the teams at the lower end of the league are really starting to fight for every point and it will be no different at Dumbarton on Saturday.
"You can see from their recent results that the arrival of Ian Murray as their new manager has clearly given them a lift.
"In the last three games they have beaten both Falkirk and Morton and they were unlucky not to take a point off Dunfermline at home.
"So I think they will be viewing us coming on Saturday as a real opportunity and one they will be relishing with a fair bit of confidence.
"But we are at a stage now where all that matters is putting three points on the board. We need to get back to winning ways and as a result this game at Dumbarton is vital."
The 23-year-old midfielder is loving every minute of his time at Firhill after signing until the summer back in September and is delighted with his central casting in the Jags boiler room.
Forbes, who previously came through the ranks at Fir Park, said: "The big thing for me is that I am getting game time week in and week out at Thistle and that is exactly why I came to the club.
"The gaffer has been playing me through the middle and I am really enjoying seeing so much of the ball.
"The reason any footballer comes into the game is to play on a Saturday afternoon and I have had some great times with Thistle since I came here."
But Forbes has no doubt that the Jags could hold their own if promotion to the SPL becomes a reality.
He said: "I think there is not a lot of difference between the top three clubs in the First Division and the bottom two or three in the SPL.
"The SPL clubs enjoy extra revenue and that is the main difference. But if you look at how young the squad is at Thistle then it is only going to get better.
"But right now the important game for us is the next one and that comes at Dumbarton on Saturday. It is vital that we put recent results behind us and really use it to kick-on."