Jags have the chops to beat drop from the top, says Kris

PARTICK THISTLE were always going to be unlikely party poopers at Firhill on Wednesday night.

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Kris Doolan celebrates scoring on Thistle's last Perth trip - he'll want more this time
Kris Doolan celebrates scoring on Thistle's last Perth trip - he'll want more this time

But it could be the Jags that are celebrating this afternoon as they bid to take another stride towards SPFL Premiership survival in Perth.

Alan Archibald's side were the unlucky ones who saw Celtic clinch the title on their patch in midweek, the Hoops' 5-1 derby win enough to give Neil Lennon and his players their third successive top-flight crown.

Few gave the Jags much hope of stopping Celtic but Thistle will fancy their chances when they head to McDiarmid Park.

The Saints clash is the penultimate fixture before the Premiership split and striker Kris Doolan, who opened the scoring on Thistle's last trip to Perth, is eager to get back on track as they look to go one step better than their September stalemate.

He said: "The Celtic game was a chance to steal something from them but that's not something many teams do, so we need to forget that and focus on St Johnstone.

"We weren't affected by the party atmosphere from the Celtic fans. The way we saw it was that it would be great if we took anything from the game but that no-one would have expected us to do that in the first place.

"The game against St Johnstone, though, is one we believe we can definitely get something out of.

"Saints are well-organised and they have players who've been at this level for a long time but we know what to expect from them.

"They've already had a great season but they do well year-in, year-out.

"We lost 1-0 to them at Firhill last time out but we had enough chances to win. We put in a really good performance that day and something similar - with better finishing - would do for me."

Thistle head into the Saints game well placed to avoid the relegation play-off place as they fight Ross County, Kilmarnock and St Mirren at the foot of the top flight.

Archibald's side are two points ahead of the Buddies and one behind County and Killie as the split nears.

Hearts could be relegated by the time they visit Firhill next weekend and Doolan expects the battle to avoid 11th place will go right down to the wire this term.

He said: "I don't know how many points we willl need to be safe but it's going to be really tight.

"There will be three or four clubs fighting to the finish and we won't be taking anyone lightly. Right now I just don't see anyone pulling away from the others. It's going to be close all the way.

"I only hope we can get enough points on the board to haul ourselves up the table and away from the bottom.

"We don't even want to talk about the possibility of being in the play-offs. We'd rather focus on staying up through our league position.

"For these last seven games we'll continue to give it everything, as we do every week. Hopefully, that is enough to keep us in the Premiership."

Thistle have won rave reviews for many of their performances on their return to Scotland's top tier and have given themselves a great chance of ensuring they are no one-season wonder.

Archibald's team have been a welcome addition to the Premiership as they have showcased an entertaining brand of football in recent months.

And Doolan reckons the Jags have proven they belong in the big time as they look to finishing the job they have started and maintain their top-flight status for another season.

He said: "We've already shown we can more than hold our own in this league while playing good football at the same time.

"I think it's important that - barring Wednesday's 5-1 defeat by Celtic and another one by the same scoreline against Motherwell - we haven't come off the pitch at the end of matches think that we've been battered.

"My belief is that, if we continue to play as we have been doing, then we will get the results we need. We feel like a Premiership team."

Football

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