SCOTT PATERSON: Our Killie Christmas cracker is a big pull for Thistle

YOU hear managers and players talking about the festive period and how important it is for their season.

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Kris Boyd netted the equaliser for Kilmarnock the last time the two teams met this season
Kris Boyd netted the equaliser for Kilmarnock the last time the two teams met this season

We are entering a really big run of games, starting with Saturday's trip to Kilmarnock.

It is a massive game for both clubs. We are ahead of them in the table and looking to win again and move in the right direction.

We will take a lot of heart from the performance against Hibs, certainly defensively, and we will look to do a bit more with the ball. It should be a good, entertaining game.

Killie have picked up recently but haven't been getting the results that some of their play deserved.

When they have got someone like Kris Boyd, we have got to make sure we are on our toes. He has already denied us a win this season when he got the equaliser at Firhill.

They will be going into this game targeting three points against us.

But it is a game we feel we can win and are looking forward to, especially after last weekend's fixture against St Johnstone was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch.

Even during the warm-up, I was saying that the game shouldn't start.

As soon as you took your first steps near the main stand side you knew it was bad, and that wasn't the worst area.

The other side of the park was terrible. The ball wouldn't even bounce.

It was a shame for the fans who paid their money and for the players, it wasn't even a game and you couldn't play football. The players were scared to make a mistake because of the conditions.

Hopefully we will have no such problems this weekend at Rugby Park. We knew before a ball was kicked this year how important the games against the likes of Kilmarnock would be for us.

You are seeing the league taking shape and, as I have said before, if we finish 10th it will be a successful season.

We know the teams we need to be beating and Killie are one of them.

At the start of the season, we never set any targets. We just went out to take each game as it came and looked to perform as well as we could.

Every game is massive, especially the ones against the teams round about you in the table. It is a huge period we are getting into.

Conditions do deteriorate at this time of the season and that can dictate how you play.

We still want to play our football but we will have to mix things up.

The boys did that in the Hibs game and the Aberdeen cup game as well.

We have maybe got to be a bit more direct at times but we will still look to play because we have got the players to do it. At the end of the day, we don't want to become a back-to-front team.

Firstly, we don't have the players to do that. And secondly, we have got too many good footballers to do that.

We will try and play as much football as we can because that is what we believe in and that is what the players are good at.

There have been a few changes in personnel recently due to injuries and suspensions but football is a squad game now and that is why you have to build a good group.

The boys who have come into the team over the last few weeks have done a good job.

The game is all about the squad these days. If you look down in England, some of the benches are unbelievable.

It is important we have a good group of players as everyone will have to play their part in the next few weeks as we look to get back to winning ways.

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