PARTICK THISTLE have achieved their goal and avoided 11th place ...

now Kallum Higginbotham reckons the Jags can aim for the top six next time out.

A 4-2 victory over Hearts on Wednesday night guaranteed Alan Archibald's side another crack at the Premiership after an impressive campaign that has won them many admirers and seen them gather enough points to sit seventh with 90 minutes of action remaining.

Thistle's performances have not always been rewarded with points this season, but Higginbotham is confident the second term will prove even more successful than the one they will bring the curtain down on against Ross County at Firhill tomorrow.

He said: "There are points in a game when you have to go long and turn teams and that's why the games stretches.

"But we believed that if play the way we can do we'll stay in the Premiership and that's what was proven.

"If we cut out the mistakes and conceding silly goals we've lost all season I think we can push for the top six next time. I'm not just saying that because we're safe. I firmly believe that.

"I know what we have in that dressing room and I see it in training every day. If you went through all the games and calculated all the points we've lost by conceding in the final five minutes I'd bet we'd be pushing for the top six.

"If we can see out games and hold out against the big guns then hopefully we can push on next season.

"I'm not saying we will be top six - that's not my job. I'll just go out and try and get the three points for Thistle and that's what I'll be doing again."

Higginbotham has been an integral part of Thistle's survival this season, the enigmatic playmaker turning in a series of superb performances and, fittingly, netting the clinching fourth goal at Tynecastle.

It has been a team effort and the forward has hailed boss Archibald, now in line for a new deal, for leading the way.

Higginbotham said: "Since day one the gaffer has been unbelievable. I just can't praise him enough.

"The fans might not like the position we've been in, but they have to get real and appreciate what size of club we are and who we're playing.

"If we didn't concede so many late goals we would have been safer an awful lot quicker. When we were promoted the aim was to stay in the league and we've done that playing attractive football.

"I don't think I'd like to be at a team where they just punt it because you'd never get a touch of the ball.

"The gaffer has got us popping the ball every day in training and we take that into matches. I've really enjoyed my football this season. I can't wait for next year."