We have five cup finals left, says Thistle's Mair

LEE MAIR says Partick Thistle still have their sights set on seventh place in the Premiership - despite dropping to 11th in the standings.

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Partick Thistle goalkeeper Paul Gallacher beats Hearts' Dale Carrick to the ball and clears away the danger
Partick Thistle goalkeeper Paul Gallacher beats Hearts' Dale Carrick to the ball and clears away the danger

Alan Archibald's side crashed to a shock 4-2 defeat to crisis club Hearts at Firhill and it was to prove a day to forget for both clubs, with St Mirren's dramatic victory over Motherwell putting the Jags into the play-off place and sending their visitors down to the Championship.

With just the five post-split fixtures to go this term, it is Thistle who now have the biggest fight on their hands as they look to emerge victorious in a four-way battle to beat the drop.

But defender Mair reckons seventh-placed Hibernian, who face Aberdeen tonight, are also within the Jags' reach as they bid for a flying finish this term.

He said: "We're not thinking about the drop - we're looking at seventh. We're four points off Hibs who have a tough game against Aberdeen. All four teams should be looking at seventh as it's within touching distance.

"It's about ability and character now. You could get 11 fans who would work as hard as anyone but you need to control it. It's like playing a cup final - you play the team and not the occasion.

"There's five cup finals left and we need calm heads and ability. I'll easily take all the pressure because I'll handle it. If it takes the pressure off the younger guys then great because with their ability they shouldn't be where they are in the league."

Thistle got off to the perfect start against Gary Locke's side as Kris Doolan fired them ahead after just five minutes but by the time they added to their tally in the closing stages through Jordan McMillan, the Jambos had hit the goal trail to wrap up the points.

Strikes from youngsters Dale Carrick and Billy King and a Ryan Stevenson double ensured Hearts went down fighting and Mair knows it was an opportunity missed for Archibald's side.

He said: "There's four teams and four points separating us all and there's 15 points to play for so nobody is safe. It's in our own hands. If we can take the performance of the first 25 minutes into the remaining games then I'm sure we'll be fine but we need to dig deep.

"We've got players who will take chances so if we're creating I have no doubt we can stay in this league. We should have put the game to bed but we didn't and Hearts capitalised."

WHILE Thistle's defeat was all but secured with half- an-hour to go at Firhill, it was the drama in Paisley that would rub salt into their wounds come the final whistle.

St Mirren's late heroics against Motherwell lifted them out of the play-off zone as they also gained ground on Kilmarnock and Ross County.

The fight for survival is set to go down to the wire and former Buddies star Mair is well aware of what is at stake in the coming weeks.

He said: "I have a little bit of banter with the St Mirren boys but it's livelihoods you're talking about and you don't want to see anyone go down - it's horrible.

"I looked at the Hearts kids on Saturday and they don't know about their futures and that's the life of a footballer in Scotland.

"You need to look after yourself and for me that means Partick Thistle."

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