Kris Doolan accepts that there will be a few more twists and turns yet as the cinch Championship approaches its denouement but the Partick Thistle manager remains convinced that his side will be in the play-offs at the very minimum.

Inverness’ midweek win over Hamilton resulted in the Jags dropping to fourth – although the men from Maryhill have played one fewer game than Billy Dodds’ side – and seven points separate the top five teams in the league.

Direct rivals will be locking horns between now and the end of the campaign and virtually every team in the division has something to play for in the final frenetic weeks of the season.

Thistle have lost only one of Doolan’s 10 games in charge since the fans’ favourite replaced Ian McCall as manager in February, and the 36-year-old reckons these last few fixtures before the play-offs will be predictably unpredictable as his side prepare to take on Accies away tomorrow afternoon.

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“It’s notoriously tight every year,” Doolan observed. “Nobody ever runs away with the Championship and nobody falls off at the bottom.

“I always think there is so much to play for since the play-offs were introduced. That gives everyone in the division something to play for and I think that’s a good thing. It keeps everyone focused and there are no meaningless games for any team.

“I think that’s what makes the Championship so exciting. It’s very, very tight and things change so quickly, both positively and negatively. Things can chop and change but for us, we have got that mentality that we are going to finish the season strongly.”

The prospect of finishing second – and therefore receiving a week off while third and fourth place battle it out in the first round of the play-offs – is a sizeable carrot that is dangling in front of each of the promotion hopefuls.

“I think that will be the aim for four or five teams possibly,” Doolan said. “We can all get into that position and everybody wants to finish as high as they can, for monetary reasons as well as the time you get to rest.

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“There is so much to play for and if you get into the play-offs then it’s fantastic. There are so many teams looking to finish as high up as they can because there are a lot of benefits to it. I know how the play-offs are and how they work – they are an exciting part of the season and we definitely want to be in there.”

Doolan was only involved once in the play-offs as a player and it is not an experience he looks back upon fondly. Back in 2018, the Jags – a Premiership side at the time – were defeated 3-1 on aggregate by Livingston as their five-year stay in the top flight drew to a close.

It is a painful memory for the former striker but he believes those matches show that it is possible for a second-tier side to triumph in the play-offs at the expense of a Premiership team.

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“I was involved in those games so I know how difficult it is to perform in the play-offs and get results,” he recalled. “Anything can happen in the play-offs and that’s what they are for. They were introduced to make sure there is a big finish to the season and there are no meaningless games.

“My experience of playing in the Premiership play-offs – we wanted to stay up and were desperate to stay up but we just couldn’t do it. It’s a painful memory but it just shows you that anything can happen and that’s what they’re designed for.”