Jags will go lickety-split into final five fixtures

GARY FRASER reckons the Premiership split is like a fresh start for Partick Thistle as they look to finish the season in style.

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Partick Thistle's Gary Fraser is joined by Callum McKenzie (top left), Jamie McDonald, Hannah Fenwick and Andrew Hughes (below right) to promote the Topps Swap and Play Tour 2014
Partick Thistle's Gary Fraser is joined by Callum McKenzie (top left), Jamie McDonald, Hannah Fenwick and Andrew Hughes (below right) to promote the Topps Swap and Play Tour 2014

Alan Archibald's side dropped to 11th in the standings as they crashed to a 4-2 defeat to Hearts at Firhill on Saturday and have a fight on their hands to avoid the play-off spot this term.

Just a couple of points separate the Jags, Ross County, Kilmarnock and St Mirren at the foot of the table as the finishing line draws nearer and the pressure mounts.

Thistle head to Rugby Park in a fortnight to begin their post-split schedule and midfielder Fraser knows Archibald's side will have to battle for every crucial point between now and the end of the campaign.

He said: "It's like a fresh start. We just need to take these five games as must-wins and we need to stick together and fight.

"I'm a bit worried. I would be daft not to. I believe in the team and if we keep working hard we will be fine.

"Everyone will have the same spirit as us because they want to avoid the play-off, but we will make sure that we fight harder than everyone else.

"I think it will come down to heart and taking responsibility. It will come done to people taking responsibility and I think we will do that.

"A lot of the boys worked really hard to get up so they don't want to go back down.

"These games are always harder because they are a fight and a battle. We would need to match the battle.

"I think everyone will take points off each other.

"It's like another league starting. We just have to make sure we are the ones to avoid the play-off.

"Everyone needs to stand up and be counted."

Thistle head into the top-flight break on the back of one of their most disappointing performances and results of the campaign after Gary Locke's side claimed a deserved three points at Firhill.

Hearts' fightback after Kris Doolan had given the Jags the lead was to prove in vain as they lost their Premiership status thanks to St Mirren's dramatic victory over Motherwell.

Fraser admits it was an afternoon to forget for Thistle as they slipped back down the standings and below the Buddies.

He said: "It was horrible to play like that and then it was as if someone put on a switch and the game just changed like that.

"We don't think about other scores but it made it worse when we came in and found out that St Mirren had won."

While it has been a frustrating few weeks for boss Archibald and his squad in terms of results, with Saturday's Hearts collapse coming on the back of defeats to Inverness Caley Thistle and Celtic, Fraser has been one of the stars of the show at Firhill.

The 19-year-old has impressed in the heart of the Jags midfield since penning a deal to make his move from Bolton permanent in January, with SportTimes columnist Scott Paterson tipping him and midfield compatriot Stuart Bannigan for a Scotland Under-21 call last week.

Fraser said: "I'm glad to be back playing football for the past few weeks.

"I have played with Hamilton when we tore Rangers and Celtic apart and I wasn't picked for Scotland so that doesn't concern me. It means nothing to me. Staying up is all that matters to me."


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