Partick Thistle 2

Morton 1

Alison McConnell

It might feel like a drop in the ocean given the waves of despondency that have threatened to drown Partick Thistle this season but Shea Gordon is confident Saturday’s win can offer something of a lifebelt for the Maryhill club.

The three points taken from a battling, gritty win against Morton wasn’t entirely sufficient in steering Thistle out of troubled waters – they remain stuck at the foot of the Championship – but this first home league win of the season has been seen as a stepping stone to breathing space.

There are just two points now between Thistle and fellow strugglers Morton with Northern Irish under-21 midfielder Gordon confident that Ian McCall’s side can get themselves to safety.

Gordon was the hero of the hour on Saturday, coming off the bench to score with his first touch after just 15 seconds and then putting Thistle back in front after Jack Baird had pulled a goal back for the Greenock side.

And while the table illustrates just how much work there is to do still the weekend win can be the catalyst for an upwards climb, according to Gordon.

“I feel like it’s a turning point in our season,” said the midfielder who is off on international duty with the Northern Ireland under-21 squad this week. “It can get our season going after a tough start. I’m hoping we’ll look back on this game as the one that kick-started us.

“We’ve produced some good results on the road but we’ve had some tough results too so to finally win at home is massive

for us.

“I think if we play as we did on Saturday then we can start moving up the table. It was more than three points for us.

“We had been thinking about the game all week. We were desperate to get out there and get the place rocking with the fans behind us after the big disappointment at Ayr the previous week.

“We knew how important it was and hopefully it can give us momentum before Christmas.”

Stuart Bannigan’s red card just eight minutes after the break meant that the Thistle midfielder was particularly appreciative of Gordon’s goalscoring exploits.

“He was gutted and he apologised to the boys,” said Gordon. “It’s not part of his game so he was quite down but we have won the game so that was the main thing.”

If there was a glimmer of hope for Thistle at the weekend, Morton have found themselves being sucked towards the darkness at the bottom.

And defender Baird, on loan from St Mirren, has warned that coping with the mental challenge of being bogged down in that environment is vital to survival. Morton have not won a league game away from home this season, a fact that has been instrumental in their lowly placing.

“These things get brought up all the time,” said Baird.

“I have had one before at a previous club and it was the opposite – we couldn’t win at home. The less you think about it in your head the less of a problem it becomes.

“We have had a few good opportunities to get that monkey off our back but we haven’t taken it. It would be different if we weren’t a good team. We are a really good team. Some of the best players I have ever played with are in this team.

“So no-one is stressing out about it. We do need to take a look at ourselves and then take it step by step. It is a home game and a chance to bounce back at the weekend. We are strong at home so we are not panicking.”

Dundee 0

Dundee United 2

Dundee United forward Louis Appere has backed Lawrence Shankland to hit more than 50 goals this season.

Shankland, with Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad this week, hit his 20th of the season in Friday night’s Tayside derby as United extended their lead at the top of the table.

And Appere fully expects the 24-year-old to keep up his form in front of goal after hitting the ground running at Tannadice.

“Can he get 50?” asked Appere. “I don’t see why not because of the rate he’s scoring at. If he stays in the form he’s in then who knows what he’s capable of. He is a really good goalscorer but it’s unfair to just think of him like that, he’s got really good hold up play as well. 

“He brings people into the game and is intelligent, but when you score as many as he does it’s no wonder people just focus on the goals!”