CALLUM Booth says he is appreciating football more than ever after returning from a lengthy period on the sidelines to aid Partick Thistle’s upturn in form.

The left-back missed 20 games between August and January with a knee injury and made his comeback as the Jags defeated Queen of the South 2-0 in the Scottish Cup fourth round a fortnight ago.

Alan Archibald’s squad has been revitalised in recent weeks with the return of Booth, Abdul Osman and Mustapha Dumbuya and the newly bolstered squad finally ended their season-long wait for a league away win with a 3-1 victory at St Johnstone last weekend.

And Booth, who will make his 99th appearance for Thistle if he features against Motherwell at Fir Park tomorrow, is thrilled to be back in the thick of things as his side target their fourth win in five games.

“It’s absolutely brilliant,” he said. “It was my first long term injury, I think it was about four and a half months I was out, and it was really difficult.

“You don’t realise how much you are going to miss it until it happens, now I appreciate training every day.

“I’ve managed to get back in the team and get a couple of good wins. You can’t beat that feeling, getting a victory on a Saturday and playing well. It’s great to be back, I missed it a lot.”

Thistle remain in the relegation play-off spot but victory at Fir Park would move them within two points of Well in sixth place.

Games against the Steelmen, Dundee, Hamilton Accies and Ross County this month will go a long way to deciding their fate but Booth insisted that Premiership preservation remains the main objective despite the temptation to aim for a repeat of last season’s top six finish.

“It is achievable but staying up is definitely still the main aim,” he said. “We’re second bottom at the moment so although we’ve been on a good little run we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves.

“The top six would be absolutely brilliant but I don’t think anyone is really looking that high up or thinking about that just now. It’s all about getting away from that 11th spot and pulling up the table as much as we can.

“As soon as that winter break goes you’re counting down the games. There are so few left suddenly after playing eight in December, you’re down to 13/14 league games left.

“It’s a crucial period, we’re going to be playing teams in and around us all the time so it’s massive. Especially next week when we’ve got three games in a week.

“We’ve been on a good run since we won two out of three in December and we came back and won another two out of three. The confidence is really high and the squad is looking big and good, so I’m sure the manager has a few selection headaches for the weeks ahead which is good news.

“If we can keep everyone fit I think everyone would be delighted with the squad we’ve got, it’s really strong and confidence and morale is good. It’s a good place to be at the moment.”

Fir Park has not been a kind venue to the Jags, with their last win there coming in January 1996, but Booth is still managing to enjoy trips to Lanarkshire despite his side’s struggles.

“Funnily enough, I don’t mind Fir Park – it’s one of the grounds I actually quite enjoy going to,” he said.

“Although we have a bad record there, I don’t actually mind it as a place to go.

“We haven’t done too well there over the past few years, that’s there for everyone to see. But these kind of records are there to be broken and it would be good to get that monkey off our back.”