Jackie's Jags looking to halt joy of the Rovers

RAITH ROVERS proved to be Partick Thistle's bogey team last season as they collected 10 points from a possible 12 against Jackie McNamara's side.

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Kris Doolan, centre, headed home in September at Stark's Park to give Thistle a well-deserved point against Raith Rovers
Kris Doolan, centre, headed home in September at Stark's Park to give Thistle a well-deserved point against Raith Rovers

But the Jags boss is confident his title challengers won't suffer a repeat of their Kirkcaldy jinx as they prepare for tomorrow's Irn-Bru First Division clash.

In the four meetings between the sides last season, the Jags were left with only a solitary draw to show for their efforts as a Paul Paton own goal cancelled out Sean Welsh's opener to give Raith a share of the points in their end-of-season meeting.

After cruising to a 3-0 Ramsdens Cup win and snatching a late point at Stark's Park, courtesy of Kris Doolan, Thistle have the upper hand on Grant Murray's men so far this season and McNamara, who will start his three-match ban following his dismissal against Hamilton, is determined that will continue.

He said: "We beat them here earlier on in the season in the Ramsdens Cup and scored late on to get a draw there.

"It is important that we keep playing the same way. Every game is important for us.

"Last year, they were a bit of a bogey team but this season we have won at Firhill and did well to get the equaliser at Stark's Park, in a game we might have lost last year.

"In the cup, we won 3-0 and it could have been more.

"It is important that we use being at Firhill as an advantage. We have done that so far this season, outwith the Scottish Cup game against Dunfermline which was a disappointment for us.

"We will have to match them first and foremost and then the game will settle.

"We are more than confident that we can beat anyone when we are on our game."

Despite the big freeze causing havoc with the fixture schedule in recent weeks, there are no concerns over the state of the Firhill pitch.

The Jags' undersoil heating system has not been required and McNamara knows the importance of getting matches on as the title race heats up.

He said: "It worked out well for us last weekend with results elsewhere.

"It is the same every winter, some games will be off while some are on.

"It is important that when you play, you take advantage of it. We don't have to have the heating on but we want the games to be on. It is a difficult decision for clubs due to the finances.

"If you look at Raith, they don't normally bring a big crowd through. The Morton game is different on Boxing Day, that could be a big crowd.

"But we will prepare as normal and do all we can to make sure the games here are on."

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