‘Momentum could be key' for Partick Thistle in play-off clash

Thistle beat Queen’s Park twice in the Premiership play-off quarter-finals, while Ayr had a week off after finishing second.

‘Momentum could be key’ for Partick Thistle in play-off clash SNS Group

Partick Thistle manager Kris Doolan is optimistic momentum can trump rest when his side face Ayr in the play-offs.

Thistle beat Queen’s Park twice in the Premiership play-off quarter-finals, while Ayr had a week off after moving up to second place in the Championship table on the final day of the regular season.

But Doolan feels hitting eight goals against their Glasgow rivals was the perfect preparation for Friday’s first leg at Firhill.

“Momentum is key,” said Doolan, who was in the Thistle team that got relegated via the play-offs in 2018 when they lost to Championship runners-up Livingston.

“Everyone says second is the best place to be and I get that. But we have now had two games where we scored a lot of goals and played really well, and that momentum for me is massive.

“From my experience of the play-offs, it’s difficult to stop a team with real momentum who have real belief.

“So from that point of view, when you have a lay-off, is it a benefit or is it not? You are coming up against a team who are still fresh, still have legs, still have a lot of energy, and they also have minutes under their belt as well.

“I think there are positives on both sides. Both teams will see themselves as candidates to progress because they have had a rest and we have not, but watching us score the type of goals we did, play the way we did, I think that energises players. I see that as a big positive for us going into this game.”

One benefit based on past history that Thistle might have should they get to the final is that there are seven days between each leg of the semi-finals and then six before the final starts.

Doolan said: “The fact we have had a week between last Friday and this game is better than playing on the Tuesday. Players are starting to get back to a routine, which they are so used to.

“They still train as if it’s halfway through the season, they know there is so much at stake, they know that mentality won’t change. We want to maintain that, I don’t want them having time off where that starts to dwindle and you have to try and energise them again.

“Everyone always goes on that nobody from fourth place has gone up. Somebody has to do it at some point. You have to set records at some point, why not us? That positivity is a hard thing to break down for any time and that’s why I feel we have the energy, and the quality, in the squad.”

Midfielder Stuart Bannigan is still struggling after picking up a strain in the first leg against Queen’s park.

Doolan said: “He is still on his way back, he seems to be back with the physio which is a good sign, and we will see how he responds in the next day or so.”

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