Ninth plays fifth in tomorrow's Championship match at The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill, to give Partick Thistle's stadium its full branded name. Two home defeats in the space of 4 days last week damaged Dunfermline's top 4 hopes, while Thistle are still fighting against the drop, meaning there is much to play for between the teams.
Here is the current Championship table; Ross County play Dundee United this evening:
Dunfermline team news, selection & preferred lineup
Two 1-0 losses in the past week have made the Pars' ambitions of finishing in the promotion play-off places significantly harder to achieve. This midweek brought a glimmer of hope with Inverness losing to Ross County. Dunfermline still have to play Inverness again - in the Highlands on the final day of the season - and also have a game in hand (at Ross County on Tuesday), so the current 6 point gap could still be overcome. A win tomorrow would put pressure on Inverness, who travel to Ayr United, who themselves have to be rated favourites to secure third place.
With midfield dynamo Joe Thomson ruled out through injury, Ryan Blair could return tomorrow, while 17 year old Matty Todd is another option after making 3 appearances as a substitute since Stevie Crawford became manager. Either player could feature ahead of James Vincent, who had a very disappointing game last time out against Ayr United. James Craigen did well when replacing Joe Thomson during the Ayr game and should start.
I would expect the out-of-form Kallum Higginbotham to drop to the bench.
In attack, Faissal El Bakhtaoui could start a game for the first time since February 2nd. I would select Faissal ahead of Louis Longridge, who would move to left midfield.
Putting aside the battle for points, Saturday will hopefully bring more in the way of entertainment; even in the midst of the winning run, as commendable as it was, the football often failed to excite and in truth there has hardly been a drop-off in actual performance levels in the defeats that followed the runs of victories. Pragmatism can only achieve so much.
Preferred lineup, in a 4-4-2 formation:
A double from striker Kris Doolan set Partick Thistle on their way to a 3-0 win at Morton last week that saw them climb out of the relegation places in the Championship table, until results in midweek - with Thistle not playing - meaning that the Firhill side go into tomorrow''s match in ninth position. With only 6 points separating the teams placed sixth to tenth, points are priceless at this stage of the season. Doolan, who was inducted into Thistle's Hall of Fame last week, had only scored 4 times this season before the game in Greenock, but when in form remains a big goal threat and has now scored 118 times for Thistle.
Partick boss Gary Caldwell had this to say after the win over Morton:
''This was a massive win at an important time of the season. The league table does not matter until the last game of the season and then you look at it as that’s when it’s important where you finish.
''What matters is we got a massive three points, we got a clean sheet which we haven’t had for a while and we can move into next week with confidence and look forward to Dunfermline at home.”
Match odds (McBookie):
Partick Thistle 7/4