PARTICK THISTLE have achieved their goal and avoided 11th in the SPFL Premiership this term.
Kallum Higginbotham is now convinced that his side can aim for the top six next time out.
A victory over Hearts on Wednesday night guaranteed Thistle another crack at the top flight next season after an impressive campaign during which they won many admirers and enough points to sit seventh with 90 minutes of action left.
Thistle's performances this term have not always been rewarded with wins but Higginbotham is confident of achieving even greater success in their next campaign. He will first help to bring the curtain down on the current season with a match against Ross County tomorrow.
"We believed that if we play the way we can do we would stay in the Premiership and that's what was proven," said the forward. "If we cut out the mistakes and stop conceding the silly goals we've lost all season I think we can push for the top six. I'm not just saying that because we're safe. I firmly believe that.
"If you went through all the games and calculated all the points we've lost by conceding in the final five minutes I'd bet we'd be pushing for top six. If we can see out games and hold out against the big guns then hopefully we can push on next season."
Higginbotham has been an integral part of Thistle's survival this season, the enigmatic playmaker turning in a series of superb performances and, fittingly, scoring the decisive goal at Tynecastle on Wednesday night. However, he credited the work of manager Alan Archibald as being crucial to Thistle's fight against relegation.
"Since day one the gaffer has been unbelievable," said Higginbotham. "He believes in what I can do and I just can't praise him enough. The fans might not like the position we've been in, but they have to appreciate what size of club we are and who we're playing. If we didn't concede so many late goals we would have been safer an awful lot quicker.
"When we were promoted the aim was to stay in the league and we've done that playing attractive football. If I'm being honest I don't think I'd like to be at a team where they just punt it because you'd never get a touch on the ball. I've really enjoyed my football this season."