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Wherever they turn Thistle risk being stung

THE play-offs look much more appealing when seen from below.

It is a view which could become a snapshot of Partick Thistle's season, given that the Glasgow club have been unable to capture the system's best side since it was introduced at the start of the campaign.

Thistle marched into the SPFL Premiership as champions last summer only for concerns about relegation to make up the ground quickly - changes to the league set up meaning that an 11th-place finish would end in a tie with a Championship team and the prospect of dropping back out of the top flight.

It is a potential fate which will soon seem real enough if Thistle lose at home to Ross County today. The Dingwall side are the incumbents of the play-off place but will likely feel they have outgrown it after signing four new players this month. Thistle were last night able to secure Gary Fraser on a two-and-a-half year contract from Bolton Wanderers, adding to the acquisition of Lyle Taylor on loan from Sheffield United.

The Glasgow side will be aware of their visitors' intended trajectory - a win for Derek Adams side would lift County above their hosts in the table and out of that play-off spot.

"For Thistle, the play-offs have maybe come in at the wrong time but they had to come in at some point," said Stephen O'Donnell, the Thistle full-back. "I was playing in the first division two seasons ago when Ross County were running away with it and we had nothing to play for. There is now more excitement for the Championship, as it is now, and it also maybe offers an incentive for ourselves, Ross County, St Mirren and what not to try to get away from it. It gives us something to avoid and, if we end up in the play-offs, then I'm sure it will be good for the neutral."

The latest of County's new arrivals, Filip Kiss, is expected to make his first appearance for his new club following his arrival on loan from Cardiff City. He revealed yesterday that he agreed to the switch following the advice of Don Cowie, who spent seven years at the Dingwall club.

"He strongly recommended coming here," said Kiss. "He told me Ross County are a good friendly, family club who would help me improve my career. Everyone has made me feel very welcome."

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