GARY Caldwell has played in crunch games at both ends of the table during his career north and south of the border, so he knows a thing or two about what his players will need to show in the basement battle with Falkirk this weekend.

And the one quality he wants to see from his Partick Thistle players more than any other is bravery. Bravery to take the ball in tight areas, to play their normal game under pressure, and to put their bodies on the line to ensure that whatever happens, the final outcome is the three points remaining at Firhill.

And having now got to know his players, he is sure that he can trust the ones he will send out in the red and yellow to deliver exactly that.

“I’ve had experience of both as a player, going to win leagues in Scotland and trying to stay in leagues down in England,” said Caldwell.

“So, I understand both scenarios and I’d say the key requirement is bravery. You have to be brave to do the things you are good at as a footballer and show that bravery on the pitch - whether that be taking the ball, winning headers, blocking shots.

“You have to stand up and be brave in games like this and we’ll have to do that on Saturday.

“I know the group I’ve got, and I now know who I can trust.

“It’s a big game, it could be a turning point for whoever wins but ultimately it’s not going to define what happens to either club.

“There’s still 15 games to go after that and it would be disrespectful to everyone else to say this is going to be the be-all and end-all for both clubs.

“But we recognise with the window, with the new players, how important a win would be.”

Caldwell is hoping to bring in some further additions to his squad before the end of the transfer window, but he feels that the four players he has added so far in January have already made a huge difference.

“I’ve got a number in my head of what we need and after that it depends what happens with people going out to make way and other factors,” he said.

“The players I have brought in have definitely made us stronger because Saturday at Tannadice was our best 45 minutes of the season.

“[The difference] is shown in the energy in training, in the atmosphere. There’s a bit of banter there. It’s shown in the quality in training, and the biggest time it showed was at three o’clock on Saturday at Dundee United, where for 45 minutes, we didn’t let them breathe. We played with such intensity, a desire and an attacking intent.

“And although the second half didn’t match the quality and attacking intent of the first, the resilience and character we had to show after Dundee United got back into the game was great. I think five or six weeks ago that would have resulted in a defeat and it didn’t this time.”

One man who may yet be on his way out of the club is Firhill legend Chris Erskine, with Caldwell telling the attacker that he is free to explore opportunities that may guarantee him more regular game-time.

“Another club came in and asked to speak to him,” Caldwell said. “Having spoken to Chris I know he hasn’t played as much as he would like, which is understandable, and I wouldn’t like to stand in his way of an opportunity to speak to another club.

“But he is still a Partick Thistle player, he is a fans’ favourite and is still training well, so he will be part of the squad this weekend.”