PARTICK Thistle have given Scott McDonald his love of football back, and for that, he will be eternally grateful. Whether he will repay the club by returning to play for them again after the summer though remains to be seen.

The veteran striker has played a massive role in Thistle securing their place in the Championship for next season, and he was a central figure once more as Gary Caldwell’s men made sure of that on Saturday as he scored – albeit fortuitously – in the stroll over Queen of the South at Palmerston.

Goals either side of McDonald’s strike from Lewis Mansell and Stuart Bannigan from the spot sparked an outpouring of relief from the large travelling Jags army, and McDonald lapped up scenes that not so long ago, he felt were behind him.

The 35-year-old’s impressive form and influence on the Thistle team have not gone unnoticed elsewhere though, and he now has a big decision to make in the summer.

“At the moment I have a couple of things on offer to think about and see what’s best for me and my family,” McDonald said.

“I’ll take my time with it over the next couple of weeks and make a decision. Privately, Gary has had a word in my ear.

“It’s been great, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Our relationship has got stronger even although I have known he and Brian Kerr for years. I can’t remember when I enjoyed my football so much.

“My team-mates are excellent – they’re a good bunch and they deserved everything they got on Saturday. Hopefully they come back next season and help Thistle progress as a football club.

“No matter what happens this place will hold a special place in my career whether I continue or not.

“I have said before that I had lost the desire, but this has rekindled that.”

Whether McDonald is at Firhill next season or not, he feels that the future will be bright for Thistle under the guidance of his friend and manager Caldwell, and particularly when he has been given further opportunity to put his own stamp on the squad.

If this game was a sliding doors moment for Thistle, then it was just as pivotal for Queens. The defeat condemned them to the relegation play-offs, and also marked the end for manager Gary Naysmith’s time at the club. Naysmith appeared emotional in his post-match press conference and was relieved of his duties soon afterwards.

Under-20s boss Eddie Warwick will now lead the team into the first leg of their play-off match against Montrose at Links Park tomorrow night, and he has some job on his hands to wring a performance from a shower of players who looked completely defeated in every sense come the final whistle at the weekend.

“We knew it was a massive game and we let ourselves down as a team and as individuals – we just didn’t turn up,” said midfielder Nicky Low.

“We had worked hard all week but Partick completely deserved their win,

“We’re paid to do our jobs and you always get setbacks in football.

“We know the play-offs will be tough because Montrose will be hungry to get into the Championship but we want to stay in this division.

“We need to get back to work and get things right.”