It was nine years ago this week that Partick Thistle plucked Kris Doolan from the relative obscurity of the junior ranks with Auchinleck Talbot, and gave him a chance to flourish in senior football.

Nobody, not least the player himself, could have predicted the impact he would go on to have at the club, and the legendary status he would attain through his goalscoring heroics for the Jags.

With the anniversary of his signing for the club under Ian McCall falling during the winter break, it has given Doolan time to reflect on his remarkable Firhill career, and he has thanked the Thistle supporters for believing in him from the very start.

“I can’t believe it’s been that long, although when you look around the club, it’s unrecognisable from when I first walked through the doors,” said Doolan.

“It’s been some ride. You look at other players and they bounce about here and there to try and find a home, but that’s what I found here from the minute I arrived.

“I’ve got so many people to thank for believing in me, but I’ve got to say that it’s the fans who have always backed me no matter what.

“I came from nowhere really, and I was amazed by how much they got behind me from day one. I’ve always enjoyed a special relationship with them, and I hope they know how much that means to me.

“I’m so proud to pull that jersey on every Saturday and represent them. When you score a goal and run over to them and see that joy in people’s faces, it means so much to know that you have been able to bring that to them.

“That’s what it’s all about for me.”

Away from the terraces, football cares little for sentimentality though, and while Doolan is modest by his nature, he knows that it has been his own hard work and application that has resulted in his longevity at Thistle.

Many forwards have arrived at the club in those nine years, each of them no doubt coveting his place as the spearhead of the Firhill attack.

He has spent time out of the side as a result, but every time he has been met with such a challenge, he has faced it down. And whenever his manager has turned to him again, he has made sure he is ready and able to answer that call.

“I know that no matter how long I’ve been here, I always have to prove that I deserve my place at the club,” he said.

“A lot of strikers have come and gone, and when a new striker arrives at the club, of course they want that number nine jersey. It was the exact same for me when I arrived.

“There has always been that competition for places, but I would say that this season is the hardest it has ever been for any of the strikers to get into that starting eleven with Miles Storey and Connor Sammon here.

“Obviously, my aim in the second half of the season is to make sure that I’m starting as often as possible, and I will be looking to get myself as close to double figures again as I can.

“That’s always my aim, and there’s no reason why I can’t do it again. I’ve never lost that hunger to score goals, it’s what I love to do.”

While thoughts of retirement are far from the 31-year-old’s mind, Doolan admits that thoughts of his Thistle legacy have crept into his thinking in recent times.

“I do keep an eye on the all-time scoring charts and I know that I’m not all that far away from third place,” he said.

“I’d love to get as high up as I can, but it’s just an honour to be up there in the same company as such legends and icons of this club.

“I haven’t really thought about getting into the hall of fame, because I feel that I still have plenty of gas left in the tank and a lot more football in me.

“At the end of my career though, if anyone thinks that I have been a legend for this club then that would mean the world to me.”