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Inverness CT 1 Partick Thistle 0: Taylor wants rain on parade while McKay ends drought

PARTICK THISTLE may suffer the indignity of a championship party in their own backyard on Wednesday, but it is unlikely that timidity or lack of self-belief will be to blame if Celtic do defeat them and claim the SPFL Premiership title again.

Ross Draper of Inverness challenges Partick's Gary Fraser on Saturday en route to a 1-0 victory in the Highlands. Picture: SNS
Ross Draper of Inverness challenges Partick's Gary Fraser on Saturday en route to a 1-0 victory in the Highlands. Picture: SNS

Aberdeen would have to drop points away to Ross County tomorrow first, of course, but even if the champions do have the opportunity to re-elect themselves at Firhill, Thistle striker Lyle Taylor believes his side can spoil the occasion.

Taylor, the on-loan Sheffield United striker, was a constant menace to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the first half on Saturday, gliding into dangerous spaces and thwarted only by Dean Brill's defiant saves.

Those three stops spared the host club another spirit-sapping outcome amid an exhausting spell of 10 games in five weeks, including their draining League Cup final experience.

Billy McKay's header just after the hour broke a run of five games without victory for John Hughes' side, as well as a spell of more than nine hours without a goal. It also delivered Hughes a first win in the league on home territory.

For his part, Taylor felt the away side deserved the points on the strength of an impressively sparky and energetic first-half display. But he was quick to turn thoughts forward a few days to the visit of Neil Lennon's champions-elect.

"We have a massive game on Wednesday - a big occasion - and I think we can go and get something from that game," Taylor declared. "I don't see why we can't. It's like any other game. I don't think there is any team in the world that can turn up and have the right to beat any other team. It is a game where we can get at them and give everything we've got.

"We have shown we are willing to have a go at teams and we do that against every team we play against. Celtic will be no different. Okay, they are champions-elect and it is only a matter of time until they win the league, but they've dropped points and they've lost this season.

"So why should it be that we can't beat them? There is no reason we can't. It doesn't make it any different for us that Celtic could win the league. We step on the pitch trying to win every game. It's not in our nature to try and limit it to a 2-1 or 2-0 defeat. We want to win every game whether it's Barcelona or a pub team from around the corner."

Taylor was equally adamant that Partick could and should have won in Inverness. "I'm very disappointed. I thought over the 90 minutes we were better than them," he said. "We had better chances. It was our first half completely, although the majority of the second was theirs.

"Their goalkeeper saved my free kick, one from the edge of the box and another volley as well. It just seemed like I caught all three of them too cleanly. If I scuff them, maybe one of them goes in."

The great Henrik Larsson once endured what was described as a two-match 'drought' for Celtic. It seemed harsh to be overly critical of matchwinner McKay during his five-game dry patch before Saturday. With 21 goals this season, McKay tends to score when Inverness perform and his team tend to win when he scores.

The Northern Ireland internationalist remains focused on bringing Europa League football to Inverness, and closing a gap of nine points to Aberdeen and Motherwell, starting at Tannadice on Wednesday night.

"Had we lost this game it would have made Europe a lot harder for us," Mckay admitted. "But we're still fighting with the other teams and that's what we have to do between now and the split. United are up there with us and we have to go there on Wednesday and play to our best. If we can play like we did in the second half here against Partick, I'm confident we can get a win."

As a selfless worker outside the penalty box McKay prefers to share the burden of responsibility for goals. "It's been a while since I last scored, but we haven't scored as a team so it's not just me," he pointed out. "It was important for the whole team that we got the win. We got on top of the game in the second half and, with the chances we were creating, it was just a matter of time before we took one.

"The games have been coming thick and fast and it's not given us much chance to rest, but I'm happy to play and want to keep playing."

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