Scott McDonald has been around Scottish football for long enough to remember the last time a club dropped from the elite division to the third tier in consecutive seasons.

The striker was signed by Motherwell midway through 2003/04 and played in a 3-0 win over doomed Partick Thistle, who continued to sink like a stone in the following campaign when they achieved their ambition of leaving the First Division, albeit by continuing to head south.

On Saturday he will attempt to help prevent a repeat of that scenario when Thistle host Alloa Athletic. The Jags are stuck at the bottom of the Championship, with a recent improvement in results being more than matched by those around them.

The ramifications of another relegation and all the paring back which would accompany life in League One does not bear thinking about. So McDonald doesn’t think about it.

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While with Celtic, he appeared in cup finals against Rangers, league deciders and Champions League play-offs. The significance of his success in those encounters was not lost on him and nor is the importance of Saturday’s meeting.

Alloa are currently sixth yet sit only four points above Thistle, who simply cannot afford to lose.

However (and to paraphrase Chuck Palahaniuk), according to McDonald, the first rule of fighting relegation is: you do not talk about fighting relegation.

“This is a chance for us to win three points and you can’t allow the game to mean any more than that,” said the 35-year-old.

“You can’t think about the bigger picture and what the result might mean or let your emotions become involved because all that can have a detrimental effect.

“It won’t faze me because I’ll treat it as just another three points. I haven’t always approached games in this way but I guess that’s just down to experience – I’ve played around 600 games, after all - and it’ll be up to me and the other older guys to calm everyone down on Saturday.

“We need to play the game and not the occasion. Don’t forget that we have a game in hand of the others [at home to Ayr United] so our fate is in our own hands. We don’t need to rely on favours from anyone else.

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“What I want is for us to go out on Saturday as though it was the first match of the season and to be as confident and positive as every team is at that stage of the season.”

McDonald retired after promotion eluded Dundee United last year but was coaxed into making a comeback in February by Thistle manager [and former Celtic team-mate] Gary Caldwell but he isn’t thinking beyond this campaign.

“I’m enjoying my football,” he said. “I’ve got five goals from 10 games and, although I’d have liked a few more, I can sense that partnerships are building up front.

“But we have four matches left and I’ll enjoy them for what they are. After that’s done, I’ll take a break and have a rethink.”