Partick V Kilmarnock at Firhill Stadium : Match Preview

17 January 2014 04:01
Partick V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Doolan welcomes competition

Partick striker Kris Doolan is happy to fight for his spot in the team after being displaced by loan player Lyle Taylor.

Doolan has been an ever-present in the Scottish Premiership this season and is Thistle's top scorer with seven goals.

But the 27-year-old has had to settle for appearances off the bench in the last three matches after Taylor arrived from Sheffield United to hit three goals in as many games.

Doolan also looks likely to be benched at home to Kilmarnock on Saturday after former Falkirk man Taylor struck twice against Ross County last weekend.

But he said: "There's competition all over the pitch but that's healthy in any team and it can only make you a better player. I'm happy to keep fighting for my place.

"Obviously I want to be playing but Lyle has come in and started great and I was delighted to see him get off the mark.

"I'll bide my time until I'm needed and I'll be ready."

Doolan understood why he was rested for the New Year's Day defeat at Celtic Park.

"The games were thick and fast and it is a big task up front by yourself, you need to put in a power of work," said Doolan, whose solo goal against Hibernian was this week named SPFL goal of the month.

"But between the two of us there are plenty of goals, whether one of us or both of us are playing, there will be goals."

Manager Alan Archibald admitted it was difficult to leave Doolan out but he has assured the player he is central to his plans.

Archibald said: "It was hard. When Lyle first came we gave him a run-out to get games and then he gave us that wee bit extra, and then he scored. He has given us a new dimension to be honest.

"To be fair to Kris it has probably given him a chance to get a rest. Not that he would want a rest but there's been a big onus on him this season to perform in every game and produce the goods for us, which he has done.

"Kris knows he is a big part of my plans. He was one of the first guys I wanted to sign (on an extended contract) when I got the job and he'll come again. No doubt he will start a game in the near future."

Lee Mair could make his Partick debut against Kilmarnock after signing from St Mirren.

Midfielder Stuart Bannigan returns from following his red card against Hearts, but he will miss the midweek visit of St Johnstone through suspension as it was his second dismissal of the season.

Kilmarnock midfielder James Fowler has returned to training following a knee injury.

Ismael Bouzid (knee) is also nearing a return but Darren Barr (hip) has been ruled out for a further two months. David Silva picked up another knock in training and will miss out again, but Jackson Irvine returns from illness.

Irvine is happy to continue his learning curve at Kilmarnock after recovering from a harsh introduction to the Scottish Premiership.

The Celtic player recently extended his loan spell until the end of the season after maturing in the high-pressure environment of Rugby Park.

The Australian made a costly blunder at Fir Park in August when his fresh-air swipe allowed John Sutton to net a winner for Motherwell but he learned quickly from the error.

The 20-year-old said: "I wanted to stay and keep trying to play every week and keep growing as a player.

"In terms of playing games, there's lots of things you learn. You deal with criticism, not just from the press but the fans, and getting in tough situations like making mistakes.

"Obviously I had my blunder against Motherwell at the start of the season. If I did that in an under-20s game it would have gone unnoticed, but when you make a mistake here you get punished for it.

"You don't want to disappoint the fans and the team-mates. It's a different level of pressure and that's just as important as the technical side of the game, learning to deal with that on the park."

Irvine forced himself to watch the mistake on television.

"I didn't want to see it again but you have to pin-point what went wrong," he said. "At the same time, everyone makes mistakes, from the top to junior football. But the scrutiny at this level is a lot harsher. I've had to deal with it pretty early in my career and that's a good thing.

"Luckily enough I haven't had anything like that again. The experienced players told me not to dwell on it because you will be nervous. That's how you learn - put it out your mind."

Source: PA