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Scottish Premiership: Airdrieonians & Partick eye top tier



Doolan says “a real positivity” has remained among a squad that came so close to a return to the top flight for the first time since 2018 last season.

“We saw last year how exciting the play-offs can be, how cruel they can be I suppose,” he told his club website. “The togetherness that was here is still there in abundance. There’s a real excitement.”

Both sides secured their places in the play-offs with games to spare, with Thistle securing third long before ending the regular season with a 4-1 thumping away to newly crowned champions Dundee United on Friday.

The fourth-placed Diamonds were also already preparing for the play-offs as they lost 2-0 away to a Queen’s Park side fighting to avoid relegation.

It leaves McCabe’s side without a win in three outings, but the player-manager was still able to see “a few positives” in being able to give fringe players game time and coming through without additional injuries.

“Partick have done similar to us in terms of trying to use their squad, giving some minutes and resting a few players,” he told his club website.

However, the player-boss is likely to miss out with a calf injury along with goalkeeper Josh Rae and midfielder Liam McStravick.

Based on his experience last season, McCabe says the best way to view the play-offs is as “a separate competition” full of intensity and one he always felt his side were capable of achieving despite being newly promoted.

Thistle thumped Airdrie 4-0 at Firhill last month as part of a seven-game unbeaten run before Friday’s defeat.

They also drew 1-1 at Excelsior Stadium in January after a 2-1 defeat there in August, but both managers view this as “a fresh slate”.

Indeed, Airdrie are unbeaten at home in five outings while Thistle have not won in three on the road, with Doolan quite rightly expecting “a tough game” for the right to face runners-up Raith Rovers in the semi-final.

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