Chris Erskine has warned his Partick Thistle teammates they have to get ruthless before they blow their chances of a top six finish.

The Jags are still in pole position to claim the final berth in the top half of the table when the split takes place four matches from now with a two-point advantage over seventh-placed Kilmarnock.

But their advantage could have been much more comfortable had they not gifted Killie a late equaliser at Rugby Park on Saturday, and they also conceded an injury-time equaliser to Inverness the week before.

That has frustrated attacker Erskine and his teammates, and he says that Thistle may now have to get streetwise and ditch some of their footballing principles to get over the line.

“It was so disappointing on Saturday to lose another late goal and we all know that we should be in an even better position,” Erskine said.

“In the Inverness game we were so comfortable that we didn’t do any of the professional things like putting the ball in the corner and we kept trying to play football rather than just clear our lines, and sometimes we have to be a bit more ruthless in these situations.

“Other teams will do it to us. We should have learnt from that lesson but on Saturday again we lose a late goal.

“The main frustration from Saturday was that we didn’t kill Kilmarnock off when we were on top during the second half. When you are only a goal ahead, you always give the opposition a chance.

“Their goal has obviously come from an individual error, but if we had taken our chances at the other end then that wouldn’t have mattered.

“We need to have more of a killer instinct. The good thing is that it is still in our own hands. We have the two home games coming up which I think we really need to win, and hopefully that will see us over the line.”

The individual error that Erskine references that cost Thistle so dearly on Saturday came from an unlikely source, with goalkeeper Tomas Cerny making a rare mistake to cost his side victory.

There was no need for his teammates to rally around him though, with Erskine saying that the Czech stopper has the mental strength to bounce back without too many problems.

“Tomas is such a strong character,” Erskine said. “He has won us countless points over the season and it was an uncharacteristic error.

“But while he was obviously a bit down after the game, I’ve got no worries about him. He’s the ultimate professional and he’s not the type of guy to brood on something like that. I’m sure he will come back even stronger.”

Erskine was the man who got Thistle’s goal on Saturday as his personal success story upon his return to the club continues apace.

He has been pleasantly surprised this season though by how much the standards and expectations at the club have moved on, even if the familiar surroundings remain the same.

“There’s no doubt that things have really progressed at the club in the last few years,” he said.

“When you first come up from the Championship your first thought is obviously survival and just staying in the league, but the target this year was definitely to get into the top half of the table.

“We’re close to achieving that now and that’s why this next sequence of games are so important.

“It would be such a disappointment not to make it now after putting ourselves into such a good position.”