KRIS DOOLAN has to wait another week for his big moment.
That may become a familiar feeling for the Partick Thistle player this season. The striker has been chosen to receive the SPFL Goal of the Month accolade for December as a result of his opener against Hibernian last month, although it will also be a reward for his patience given that a representative from the league will not deliver the trophy until some time next week. Doolan will then have his hands on a little plastic memento with his name engraved on the front.
The striker would rather it featured as prominently on Thistle's team sheets. A visit from Kilmarnock this afternoon is the latest in a series of home matches which is becoming predictable for those tuning in from the Firhill stands; Thistle have played there 10 times in the league this season and have still to win. Doolan had been a lead character during the first half of the campaign but the role of main striker has since been recast and Lyle Taylor brought in on loan. The forward was followed yesterday by defender Lee Mair, who has been signed from St Mirren on a short-term contract.
Loading article content
Taylor has scored three goals in as many games and can be expected to catch up with Doolan's tally of six, before his loan runs out. It would be churlish to keep score between them, though, as Doolan was signed from junior side Auchinleck Talbot in 2009 and has since worked tirelessly to become a part of a Premiership team. It is just that Taylor has fitted into the role naturally and will likely start this afternoon.
Thistle have become surrounded by the threat of finishing in the division's relegation play-off place and they need a striker to come out shooting. Doolan in reserve has not felt disconnected, though, and was pictured celebrating fiercely when Taylor put Thistle ahead against Ross County last week. "I was delighted when Lyle scored, even if he was in the team ahead of me," said the 27-year-old, without rancour.
"This isn't an individual thing. He's a tremendous player with power and pace to cause defenders problems. Not only will he score goals but I can see him creating goals as well."
It was sitting on the sidelines that made Jackson Irvine's decision to extend his loan spell at Kilmarnock something of a non-conundrum. The midfielder was effusive in his praise of what life at Rugby Park has done for his game, sounding more like mid-wail Beyonce than a rough, bearded footballer in revealing that it was "everything I needed and more".
As a connoisseur of the finer, less transient side of music - he is a big Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds fan - Irvine probably would not appreciate the comparison, but it is fair to say he has found his experience worthwhile so far. "When you make a mistake at under-20s level, it's fine," he said. "When you step up . . ."
This is a big year for the 20-year-old. Having broken into the Australia squad, the prospect of making the trip from Ayrshire to Brazil is still not beyond the midfielder. In between, it looks as if he may have the chance of playing against Scotland in a send-off friendly in Sydney.
"You don't want to be sitting there thinking 'ahhh, Brazil, Brazil' but put it this way . . . I haven't booked a holiday," he grinned.