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Kris Doolan hoping ‘talisman’ Brian Graham can lead Partick Thistle to promotion

Partick Thistle manager Kris Doolan saw his side edge past Airdrie (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Partick Thistle manager Kris Doolan saw his side edge past Airdrie (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Partick Thistle manager Kris Doolan hailed “talisman” Brian Graham after his captain’s double sent the Jags into the cinch Premiership play-off semi-final.

A goal in each half from the striker at Firhill sealed a 2-1 win over Airdrie and a 4-3 aggregate victory to set up a two-legged clash against Raith Rovers next week.

The 36-year-old saw a late chance saved from close range in the first leg and responded by taking his season’s tally to 26.

Doolan said: “Brian will be annoyed that he missed a chance on Tuesday and he pops up and scores twice. That’s the type of striker we have in Brian, a guy who is just desperate to score goals and is reliable.

“Our team turn to Brian, they look for Brian. We have threats all over the pitch and Brian is the spearhead.

“We knew if Brian got a half chance he would take it, in this game especially because he has a point to prove,

“His goal return this year has been absolutely outstanding. He is the talisman for us and hopefully he can take us all the way.”

SPFL Trust Trophy winners Airdrie could count themselves unfortunate on several fronts.

Graham looked half a yard offside as he tapped home the opener while the Diamonds forced 12 corners and pushed Thistle back after Arron Lyall had pulled a goal back.

Callum Fordyce hit the bar late on and Nikolay Todorov had a decent penalty claim denied following Daniel O’Reilly’s slide tackle.

Manager Rhys McCabe said of the opener: “He was offside but, listen, it’s not why we lost the game. We have played enough football over the course of the two legs and Partick to be fair were ruthless when they needed to be. Football is sometimes a cruel sport.

“The main message in there to the boys was not to get our heads down and let’s lean on the positives.

“If I had said at the start of the season what we would have achieved – the play-offs, a cup final win, going toe-to-toe with the best teams in the league, we have not lost to Raith Rovers, we have beaten Dundee United, beaten Partick and taken them all the way in the play-offs.

“That’s all I can ask of my players. One thing I can’t control is the result, what we try and can control is our performance and the way that we play and I’m a big believer that the way that we play will get us more positive results than negative ones.”