Kris Doolan is urging Partick Thistle to take advantage of the absence of Motherwell hit-man Louis Moult in tonight’s Ladbrokes Premiership encounter at Firhill.

The bottom-of-the-table Jags have a chance to make up for last weekend’s 5-1 drubbing at Kilmarnock as they host the fifth-placed Steelmen.

Motherwell have been rocked by an injury to top scorer Moult which could keep him on the sidelines for the busy festive period.

And Doolan, who has netted 109 times during a prolific career in Maryhill, is hoping Thistle can profit from the blunting of Well’s cutting edge.

He said: “Louis’s been fantastic. Since he arrived, he has scored goals every season. He’s worth his weight in gold to Motherwell and I’m sure he’ll be a big miss now that he’s picked up an injury as they rely on him quite heavily.

“It’s good news for us, of course. We have to use that to our advantage. Motherwell have to find someone to step up to the plate and take the goals on for them. From our point of view it’s fantastic that it’s not Louis Moult doing that and we can hopefully catch them unaware.”

Doolan, who has a long association with the Jags, turned 31 on Monday but there were muted celebrations in the wake of Thistle’s Rugby Park reversal.

He added: “It was a quiet one with the family. The way things are at the moment, I don’t think it’s a time to be going out celebrating.

“It doesn’t matter who has beaten us by five goals, I would still take it sorely. This is a place I love so to lose 5-1 was terrible. The manner we lost it made it even worse.”

Thistle are four points adrift at the foot of the table but Doolan is not reaching for the panic button just yet.

There are plenty of points to play for before the January shut down but the former juniors star knows the Jags have to bounce back quickly after being floored by Killie on Saturday.

He said: “It will takes character and it will take bravery. We need to commit people forward to score goals as that ultimately wins games. But we have to have that balance because we are leaking goals. I think the manager will have that caution and be aware of the need for balance about going forward but not being so wide open as we were at the weekend.

“December was always going to be a big month one way or another. The good thing is that we play teams around us but then Saturday was a team around us. We can’t keep saying ‘we’ve been here before, we’ve got next week’. There are games coming thick and fast.

“The good thing about that is that if you put a couple of wins together the league looks totally different. You’re back in it again and you start looking up the way. We just have to get out of the position we are in just now.”

Thistle are well used to fighting away at the wrong end of the table but Jags manager Alan Archibald concedes that this is one of the toughest battles he’s faced in his time at the helm.

He said: “Without a doubt this is the most testing spell I have ever had as a manager.

“Experience allows you to do deal with it a bit better because you’ve been in the job a bit longer but a defeat like Saturday is still hard to deal with. You want to shut the door and put your head in an oven to be honest.

We’ve given ourselves a mountain to climb and Saturday was a chance to start going in the right direction and get within touching distance. We have another chance with this game against Motherwell so it’s a crucial period.”