IN a decade at Firhill, the closest Kris Doolan has got to a glory day at Hampden was a seven-minute cameo appearance as a substitute in a thrilling 5-4 Ramsden’s Cup win for Partick Thistle over Queen’s Park seven years ago.

Since then, he’s not had a sniff of an outing at the national stadium, and that’s why the prospect of reaching the Scottish Cup semi-final by beating Hearts on Monday night is so important to him.

In turn, he also recognises how important it is for the long-suffering Thistle supporters, and while he doesn’t think that a day out at Hampden would totally make up for what they have gone through in the last 18 months, he hopes it will at least go some way to starting to repay them for their backing.

“It’s massive,” Doolan said. “Whether you’re a fan, a player, the manager, everybody wants a cup run so it’s great to have got this far.

“We’re desperate to get to Hampden because we want to give the fans a day out to go and enjoy. Players, managers, coaches, everybody wants to be involved in good cup runs.

“I have played against Queen’s Park but never in a big game. I have been at the club for 10 years and we have never had that kind of occasion to play for.

“From that point of view, it is a big game, and it would be great to finally have a day out at Hampden.

“I’ve been here a long time, so I’ve seen us go out the cup really early over various years. This year we’ve done well to keep that going and know we’re in touching distance to Hampden so it is a big game for us.

“I don’t think it totally makes up for what the fans have been put through because they’ve been through a torrid time.

“If it goes some way to making them feel a bit better to coming to watch then great because everybody wants a day out at Hampden, they want that experience and we’re not any different.

“If we can deliver that then I think the fans will appreciate it and they’ll certainly enjoy it, but we’ve got to get there.”

It is not only the supporters who have suffered as Thistle have sunk from the heights of a top-six Premiership finish less than two years ago to the bottom of the Championship.

Their recent mini-revival under new manager Gary Caldwell had raised hopes of a late play-off push, but demoralising defeats to Ross County and Dunfermline in the past week have shifted the focus firmly back onto survival at all costs.

There is nobody hurting more at the current predicament of the club than Doolan, and he admits that his own form has dipped too this season, netting just four times all season. This cup game, he hopes, can not only provide some relief from their Championship troubles, but also kickstart his own season in front of goal.

“It’s been really tough, there is no getting away from that,” he said.

“It has been a difficult 18 months with the decline in the club. It has been hard to watch but we do know we can get back there. That has to be the mindset. That has to be the aim. We were in the top six a couple of years ago.

“It has not been good enough. I know that personally. It typifies the way we have been as a team over the past 18 months.

“I can put my hand up and say it’s not been good enough. But, I will still be in there every time the ball comes into the box.”