Partick Thistle manager Kris Doolan is a firm believer in the notion that the best form of defence is to go on the attack – and few have embraced this philosophy as wholeheartedly as Jack McMillan.

The full-back opened the scoring for his side in Friday night’s 3-0 win over Ayr United in the first leg of the cinch Premiership play-off semi-final at Firhill, playing his part as the Jags stretched their unbeaten run to nine games.

Thistle didn’t get off to the best of starts against Lee Bullen’s side until McMillan’s first-half goal swung the momentum in the hosts’ favour. It was a familiar sight for supporters as they watched the right-back bombing down the wing, linking up well with Stevie Lawless before slamming the ball home.

It was McMillan’s second goal of the play-offs – he also scored in the previous round against Queen’s Park – and with Thistle building up a head of steam just when it matters most, the 25-year-old insists this is no time to put on the handbrake.

“I’ve been doing those runs all season, to be fair,” McMillan said. “I’ve been linking up with Stevie and it’s something we’ve been working on in training. We’re keen on having him on the ball, he attracts two players and it leaves me a free run.

“It’s worked the last couple of weeks pretty well. I’ve watched it back and I probably should’ve squared it. I got quite lucky, it went through the goalie’s legs. I’m just happy it hit the back of the net.

“I don’t think a team that’s finished fourth has gone up. The manager said a couple of days ago that these are things to be broken. Hopefully we are the team to go and do that. Maybe there’s not been a fourth-placed team before that has the momentum we have.

READ MORE: Partick Thistle 3-0 Ayr United: Dominant Jags in driving seat ahead of second leg

“We are playing a lot of good stuff, especially at our home ground. The clean sheets since the manager has came in have been huge, keeping things tight at the back as well.

“We’ve tweaked a few things, probably formation was a big thing and it seems to be working. It suits the way we enjoy playing with the two full-backs quite high. It seems to be working.

“The two centre-halves have been excellent, the two midfielders Doc [Ross Docherty] and Banzo [Stuart Bannigan], and Kyle [Turner] stepping in, have been excellent.

“They also provide cover for the full-backs going forward, we kind of play a box in there which allows me and [left-back Kevin] Holty to get a free run at them.”

The Herald:

McMillan has previously tasted success in the Premiership in the play-offs but it is not an experience that is fondly recalled by some of his team-mates in the dressing room.

The defender was part of the Livingston team that triumphed over Thistle in 2018 – and he feels it would be fitting if he could play his part to seal the Jags’ return to the big time.

“I’m not allowed to speak about that too much because I think Stevie and Banzo were there at the time,” he recalled. “I kind of owe them one, don’t I? To get Thistle back up to where they belong. It would mean a lot.

“They do remind me what I did a wee bit but Stevie actually joined Livingston the next season after it so it was all forgotten about, but I think Banzo is still angry.

“I think we’re in a good place at the moment going into the next game with confidence, we need to keep this momentum going.”

Ayr centre-half Sean McGinty, meanwhile, is refusing to write off his team’s chances of overturning the three-goal deficit in Friday night’s second leg at Somerset Park but he accepts he and his team-mates have it all to do.

The 29-year-old takes inspiration from watching Sheffield Wednesday’s remarkable comeback from four goals down against Peterborough in the League One play-off semi-finals down south earlier in the week – and believes that contest showed that in this funny old game, anything is possible.

“It is not over and we have 90 minutes to peg it back and we are capable of doing it,” McGinty said. “It is a mountain to climb and we know that.

READ MORE: 'Part of Partick Thistle community now': Jags' newest fan is surprise player mascot

“It’s 3-0 but we have seen it in the past when we have beat teams four and five nil at home so it is doable. It is up to us to put it behind us, train well and go out next Friday to put this right.

“I watched Sheffield Wednesday on Thursday and they were 4-0 down and won it. When Wednesday scored two goals early, then it can change it. If we get one early then they might start panicking and then you could get another and then it is definitely possible.

“It is not impossible and we have seen Partick lose goals in games, including three to Queen’s Park. We have to go out and make sure we give it 100 per cent from the first minute and try to put it right.”