It is hugely important for Partick Thistle to round off a fine overall season on a high, according to assistant manager Scott Paterson.
The Jags bring down the curtain on a successful campaign when they host Aberdeen at Firhill tomorrow, and Paterson has called upon his players to put on a show for their supporters.
He, like everyone else at the club, has been disappointed with results since making the top six, and he wants to make sure that a memorable season doesn’t end on a forgettable note.
“Sunday is a big game,” Paterson said. “We have had a great season and we don’t want it to end all doom and gloom. We want to give the fans something to shout about.
“Maybe it’s been a step too far mentally but we’ve said to the players that we need to keep going. The season isn’t finished.
“We are a good team, but we need to show a bit more than we did against Celtic on Sunday.
“This is a chance to finish on a high and say thanks to the fans.”
The five-nil mauling to Celtic on Thursday night was hard for Paterson to take, but he concedes that the champions are simply on a different level this season.
He was particularly disappointed though in the poor start that Thistle made to the game, and he wants the Jags players to set a better tone when they kick off against Aberdeen.
“Celtic are a different beast this year, if you consider it’s pretty much the same team, barring a couple of top players,” he said.
“We all know how good they are on the ball but the impressive thing is the way they work so hard to win it back when you have it. They put you under so much pressure.
“It’s a joy to watch and it’s so hard to play against once they get into their rhythm.
“Against teams like Celtic and Aberdeen, you need to get off to a good start. You need to stay in it for the first 15 to 20 minutes and let it die down.
“Then you take it from there, but on Thursday they found their rhythm immediately and we couldn’t cope with it.
“It will be the same message against Aberdeen - we must start well.
“No matter if they rest a few players, they will have a strong team and we need to put on a better show.”
The end of the campaign is an opportunity to reflect on the season just past, and given the ever shorter close-season, to look forward to the challenges that lie ahead in the next campaign.
Paterson will look back fondly on the achievements of this season, but once the squad have recharged their batteries, he will be challenging them with a new set of targets.
“When we started this season, the first aim was to survive,” he said. “But we felt we were good enough to be in the top six.
“We came close last year and we done it this year, and now we want to finish with a win.
“Hopefully that makes the fans happy but the players deserve a lot of credit considering where we were in December.
“The squad is settled. We will add three or four but it won’t be an awkward situation with a lot of players coming or going.
“We are back on June 20 and that’s a decent break. The players need it because it’s been hard mentally.”