It’s fair to say that Partick Thistle have had a challenging start to 2024. With only two league wins in the calendar year the Jags welcomed an old foe to Firhill as they teed off against a Greenock Morton side who had spun their season on its head to go from relegation cannon fodder to Premiership promotion hopefuls in a mere matter of months.

Dougie Imrie’s jacket was on the shakiest of nails the last time the Inverclyde side made the short journey to Glasgow’s west end with the ‘Ton leaving Firhill four points adrift at the foot of the table. Since then Morton have been on an absolute tear that has seen them shoot up the division to within touching distance of the Jags, even seeing much maligned manager Imrie rewarded with a contract extension until the summer of 2026.

Much of Morton’s recent success can be pinpointed back to the return of Lewis Strapp, with the full-back proving to be a catalyst in the upturn in form. The Delap-like long-throw, undoubtedly the finest weapon in Morton’s entire arsenal, has caused the Jags a multitude of problems over the years and this time Thistle would leave nothing to chance. The Thistle groundsmen making sure no stone was left unturned as they pushed the advertising hoardings tight to the touchline, ensuring Strapp’s run up was restricted from gathering momentum, thus nullifying any monstrous throw-ins.

“Greenock Morton”, the simple response from Thistle skipper Brian Graham - appearing as a featured guest on Friday night’s A View from the Terrace - when probed which team he loves scoring against the most.

Less than 24 hours later, the league’s top scorer did exactly that. Upon dispossessing Alan Power in the middle of the park, the Jags No.9 took two strides to get the ball out of his feet before unleashing a ferocious drive into Ryan Mullen’s bottom corner from all of 25-yards before heading arms aloft straight for the adulation of the noisy band of Jags fans in the John Lambie stand. A 21st goal of the season for the 36-year old who continues to age like the finest of ports.

There is little doubt that the highlight of Kris Doolan’s managerial career to date was the trailblazing play-off run that saw the Jags come to within a whisker of top-flight football last summer. Thistle’s success was due in no small part to finding a way to fit their best forwards on the park and, in particular, the way in which Doolan utilised Scott Tiffoney.

An injury to Stuart Bannigan allowed Aidan Fitzpatrick to come into the side, in turn pushing Tiffoney into a more central role to feed off knockdown’s from the talismanic Graham. The diminutive forward went on to play some of his best football in red and yellow, producing seven goal involvements across the six play-off games.

The Jags have struggled to replicate the Tiffoney role this campaign with Blair Alston and Kerr McInroy each having largely underwhelming stints in the advanced position. Fitness issues had hindered Scott Robinson from having a prolonged run in the side until now, but the former Hearts kid looks to have nailed down the free-role in behind Graham following yet another industrious performance against the ‘Ton.

The tireless Robinson was requisite in all things positive for Partick Thistle and the selfless nature of his work was deservedly capped off with a goal to send the Jags two goals to the good. A third goal involvement in four outings against the Greenock side for Robinson this term, who duly picked up the man of the match award having pulled the strings all afternoon before his eventual inclusion in the SPFL team of the week.

A late consolation goal from ex-Jag Robbie Muirhead was a real kick in the teeth for the Thistle rearguard who had that ever-elusive clean sheet snatched from them with the last act of the game despite having defended with stoic solidity throughout the 90 minutes.

A massive win for Doolan’s men as they taste league victory for the first time in over two months to see them stretch six points clear of Morton, who drop out of the play-off spots as a result.

With pressure alleviated for now, the Jags head to Angus this weekend to take on the division’s basement dwellers in Arbroath and gaffer Doolan will be well aware that the best way to follow up a win is with another (and another…) as Thistle will be looking to make sure they’re the side hitting form at the business end of the season once more.