JOE CARDLE accepts that Partick Thistle are running out of time to get points on the board and cement their Championship status this season. After 23 league games this campaign - and just six wins - the Jags are propping up the rest of Scotland's second tier, two points behind Alloa in ninth and boasting the unwanted record of the worst goal difference in the division.

A trip to Dundee awaits this afternoon, a venue where Thistle recorded a 3-1 on their previous visit. It was no sure thing, however: with eight minutes to play, Ian McCall's men trailed the hosts 1-0 before a late flurry of goals secured the three points.

This time, Cardle is hoping things will be more straightforward for him and his team-mates. And, after taking in a few Dundee games this season, the veteran winger has identified weaknesses in James McPake's side.

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"It’s going to be a difficult one but they are there to be got at, 100 percent," he insisted. "I’ve watched them a few times this season especially at the back, with the players that we have got in the attacking areas, we’ll definitely create chances and hopefully have a re-run of the last time we played them when we beat them late on."

As it stands, Dundee are in sixth place - just one point behind Dunfermline in fourth - and Cardle says that the competitive nature of the Championship means that clubs are simultaneously chasing a play-off spot and fighting off relegation.

"It just shows you how tight the league is," he said. "If you manage to pick up a couple of victories you seem to get away from these teams and I think Dundee have done that. Even though they have probably not been playing as well as they have, they have managed to pick up a couple of victories when they’ve not played well.

"It’s up to us now. They’re all cup finals for us. We take it week by week and hopefully starting this weekend we get the three points that we desperately need."

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Cardle was involved in a coming-together with Ayr United centre-back - and former Thistle defender - Aaron Muirhead last Friday night, with both players picking up a booking for their part in the aftermath.

With the match being broadcast live by the BBC, clips of the grappling between the two players were circulated on social media, leading some to suggest that Cardle was lucky to escape with a booking. He accepts that there might well be some truth in that view, but says that such incidents are far more common than one might think - and insisted that there is no bad blood between himself and Muirhead.

He said: "At the time I didn’t think there was much in it. I’ve seen it back and it doesn’t look the best but it’s a game of football at the end of the day. I’ve played against Aaron Muirhead for years now and it’s always going to be a physical battle. There was a couple of instances throughout the game but these things happen.

"I’ve seen it plenty of times on Twitter but the amount of times that’s happened to me on a pitch where it’s not live on television, so it’s not going to get streamed over Scotland. It’s happened but we move on."

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Despite the underwhelming performances on the pitch this season, many of the Thistle players - including all of their January recruits - have spoken of the positive atmosphere in the dressing room. Remaining upbeat in the face of adversity, Cardle says, is vital to ensuring that the Jags can stop the rut that they find themselves in. But the Thistle winger adds that the club's poor form has been ongoing for years now - even pre-dating his arrival at Firhill.

"It’s been ongoing now for the last two years," Cardle said. "Even before the boys came in – even before I came in – the club have struggled at the bottom of the league. We know ourselves that we have not been good enough.

"The game [against Ayr] sums up our season. We should be taking care of teams like Ayr at home, we should have finished them off in the first half on Friday night. Unfortunately, we go in at 1-0 then they get the goal and we’ve not come back from it. It’s frustrating and it’s the story of the season.

"I came in in January [last season] and we had a great run towards the end of the season. We had a great changing room and we have a great changing room now. Even though we’re down the bottom the boys are really upbeat.

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"We went into pre-season thinking we would be challenging for the league. It’s not gone that way but you can’t get down about it, you need to stay positive. We’ve got a few big games ahead of us now and we need to take those games in our stride and get up the table to where we should be."

Cardle celebrated his 33rd birthday yesterday and although the years are catching up to him, the former Dunfermline man believes that he still has plenty to offer to Thistle. Nine assists in all competitions this season is a decent return from the wide man but with just four goals to his name, Cardle accepts that his goalscoring output could be greater. But with the addition of Brian Graham from Ross County last month, he believes he now has the perfect target to aim for to add to his assist tally.

"I know the performance levels I can get up to and I know myself that I wasn’t playing to my full potential," Cardle admitted. "Even though I have been working hard, but my game is to score goals and assist goals and I didn’t feel I was doing that for the last wee while.

"Having Brian Graham is a big help, he's a handful. If I’m going to be putting balls in the box he’ll be in there to score them so that’s the plan. That’s my job at the end of the day and it’s why the club signed me in the first place.

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"I know what I’m capable of doing and that’s what I’ve done for the majority of my career. I’ve only scored four this season and I’m hoping to get that tally up. That’s the aim. I normally get around nine or 10 goals a season so that’s what I have to get up to."

With Blair Lyons, who was signed by Thistle in January but loaned back to Montrose for the remainder of the campaign, Cardle is very much aware that he will be fighting for his place in McCall's starting XI next season. Lyons trains with the Thistle players midweek - and turns out for Montrose at the weekend - and Cardle has been left impressed with what he has seen from the 23-year-old so far.

"He trains two or three times a week [with Thistle]," Cardle said. "He was playing university football and the wee man looks sharp. He’s came from nowhere and he’s obviously done very well at Montrose so I think he’s a good signing for the club and hopefully he can kick on next season when he comes to the club.

"[Someone challenging for your spot] is part and parcel of the game. I’m 33 so it’s something I’ve dealt with my whole career. I think it helps you in the long run when there’s boys a lot younger than you who want your place. It makes you step up on a Saturday and makes you play better, so hopefully that happens."