With Alan Archibald resigned to losing midfielder Stuart Bannigan in the summer, his colleague in the Partick Thistle engine-room, Sean Welsh, has reminded him of his duty to help pull his current side free of the threat of relegation.

He said: “I think last season Stuart became one of the key players in this team and he’s carried that into this season.

“Fair play to him, there’s a bit of interest in him and I can see why, he’s a great player. It’s a pleasure to play alongside him and he’s one of the main players in this team.

“He’s still here for the rest of the season though, he knows that and I’ll be sure to remind him of that because we’ve got a hard battle on our hands and we need him.

“He brings a bit of everything. He’s composed, he’s good on the ball, he’s good in the tackle and he’s a really important presence in the engine room. He keeps the team ticking over, and you maybe wouldn’t realise how good he is until you’ve played alongside him.

“He might not be so easy on the eye as some of your attacking flair players, but he’s massive for the team. Punters always seem to take the players with flicks and tricks to their heart, they’re the ones they love, but ask any teammate and they’d say that Stuart is one of the first names they would want on the team-sheet. You know he’s there for the battle and he’ll help you out when you need it.

“It’s up to the club to decide how much they might accept for Stuart, but from my point of view I’d love to keep him until the summer for our benefit. For me he’s priceless in terms of the battle we have until the end of the season.

“He plays every week in this team, the gaffer obviously thinks he’s vital and the players appreciate him on the pitch, so we’d like him to hang around until the end of the season.”

The importance of today’s clash with Dundee at Firhill is not lost on Welsh, who appreciates the crucial nature of every clash against rivals from the congested middle-to-lower end of the Premiership table.

“I think everyone around us are still in it with around half the season still to go, we just need to keep focused on trying to get more points,” he said.

“I think there will be six or seven teams at least trying to pull away from trouble as quickly as they can, as well as Dundee United trying to claw the gap back.

“We’ve just got to try to get as many points on the board as we can.”

One player who definitely won’t be lining up at Firhill today is former Dundee captain Kevin Thomson, who has had his contract terminated by the Dens Park club.

Thomson has made 11 starts for Paul Hartley’s side this season, and recently came off the bench in the Dundee derby, but a club statement confirmed his departure from the club by mutual consent.

Meanwhile, Hartley has challenged his side to build on their recent derby win, but knows they face a tough away assignment against in-form Thistle.

He said: "We had a good result in our last game and naturally we want to take things on from there.

"It's another big game and the boys are looking forward to it. Thistle had a hard start to the season but since then I think Alan's proved he's a very good manager. They're on a good run of form at the moment and are hard to beat so we're under no illusions.

"We've never had an easy game against them and we're expecting another hard one this time round.

"All credit to the lads for us having a good result in our last game, but that's in the past now and we will be trying to get another three points in the league at what's always a difficult place to go at the best of times."