JAMES CRAIGEN knows a thing or two about getting a title bid over the line. It was the midfielder who grabbed the winning goal against Morton in 2013 that effectively crowned the Jags as second tier champions, and he is looking forward to seeing which player amongst the current crop can come to the fore against Falkirk tomorrow night and etch their name in the Jags’ history books.

Ian McCall’s men host the Bairns knowing that a victory would mathematically confirm top spot and promotion to the Championship, one year on from their controversial relegation to League One on a points-per-game basis. A win for Falkirk, meanwhile, would leave the title race in the visitors’ hands.

With so much on the line, it would only be natural for the players involved to be dreaming of providing a title-winning moment – but Craigen, now on the books at Arbroath, insists the Thistle players must treat tonight’s game as business as usual.

“You just have to try and treat it as a normal game,” he said. “You know there’s a lot on the line but you have to think of it as a 90-minute football match. Both teams are going to be on it to try and get the points because it means so much.

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“There’s always a bit more of a buzz in training, everyone has got a bit of a spring in their step. The atmosphere shifts when you’re playing a game like this. The manager and the coaching staff will keep the grounded but as players you know the game will have a bit of edge to it.

“Going back to the Morton game, we had the Challenge Cup final on the Sunday beforehand so it was a quick turnaround for us. Looking back, it was probably a good thing that we got beat as we were fully focussed on the next match. We were off the next day, back in training the following one and then we were back at it.

“It’s a bit like Thistle – they played on the Tuesday night and now they’re playing again already. Falkirk didn’t play so they’ve had a bit of time to think about it. Sometimes you just want that next game. Since the restart Thistle have definitely been in the ascendancy and Falkirk have been struggling for a bit of form.

“I was speaking to Banzo [Stuart Bannigan] yesterday and he was really excited for it – hopefully he’s back fit in time for the game. Maybe I’ll have to pose as a scout to see if I can get in! I could say I’m doing some homework for Arbroath…”

Whether or not Craigen’s clandestine operation proves to be a success remains to be seen. But the central midfielder is adamant there will be an invisible force at play at Firhill tonight that means the Jags have to be considered favourites to seal the title: momentum.

“You just want to get on with it,” he admitted. “That’s probably helped Hearts as well – you don’t have to wait a whole week until the next match. If you have a poor result you can go and put it right. That fixture pile-up has probably helped them – especially when you consider the momentum. They just keep bouncing on every couple of days and that’s certainly helped Thistle.

“It’s a difficult one to explain. You just feel more confident. The effort is still the same whether you’re winning or losing, but there’s that element where you’re wanting to try more things and naturally, they come off. These things always seem to go for you when you’re on a good run.”

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Should Thistle manage to get over the line against Falkirk, there will be a touch of redemption about their success, given the way they were cruelly demoted during the dramatic denouement of the previous campaign. But as Craigen points out, their opponents will be feeling much the same.

He explained: “You can look at it both ways – the same could be said of Falkirk. Thistle came down last season but Falkirk didn’t get the chance to come up either. They can feel hard done by about that. It will have been a tough nine months but if Thistle can get over the line then it will feel like it’s been worth it.”

Craigen’s match-winning strike against Morton all those years ago is a goal that will never be forgotten by the Jags support – but the 30-year-old insists there isn’t even the tiniest part of him that’s a little worried about his legacy being overshadowed with a similar intervention from a Thistle player tonight.

“Not at all! These things happen,” he said with a chuckle. “I’ve had years of enjoying that moment and it will never get taken away from me. I’m happy for someone else to go and be a hero this time. Hopefully they can get the win and come back up to the Championship where they belong. Fingers crossed we’ll be there to play them!”