IAN McCALL accepts that Richard Foster’s angry confrontation with a supporter at half-time during Partick Thistle’s 3-1 defeat to Ayr United on Friday night was wrong but the Jags manager feels the veteran defender is a ‘very easy target’ for disgruntled fans.

The Maryhill club knew that only a major disaster would deny them their place in the play-offs going into the clash at Somerset Park and were trailing 2-0 going into the interval when the incident occurred.

Former Rangers and Aberdeen defender Foster – who also works as a pundit for BBC Scotland and is married to pop star Amy Macdonald – took exception to something shouted at him from the terraces as he stormed up towards the supporter in question, with the 36-year-old having to be restrained by a team-mate.

Video of the run-in was shared on social media over the weekend and McCall – who missed Friday night’s game through illness – has admitted that he has had a word with the full-back as he reminded supporters of Foster’s quality.

“[I spoke with him] very briefly,” McCall said. “He is a very easy target. He should not have done what he did but he is a very easy target.

“He has done a lot of work in the media and his other half is high profile. But our supporters need to remember that he is 36 and he has been terrific for us.

“I always tell a story – after we won the title last year, we had six, seven, eight call-offs. Richard Foster at his age went up to Montrose and captained the team.

“He is an easy target but he has been terrific for us. You don’t play 600 games without having something – and most of them are in the Premiership.”

McCall will be back in the dugout for tonight’s Premiership play-off quarter-final first leg at home to Inverness and the 57-year-old is expecting a close encounter. Kilmarnock are worthy champions, he says, but no one else this season has given his team a game quite like Billy Dodds’ men.

“I agree with Derek McInnes the best team wins the league and Kilmarnock have been,” McCall said. “But the best anyone has played against us was the 0-0 with Inverness back in October. They were magic that day and if we had lost three or four nil then it wouldn’t have flattered them.

“They are a good side and they had a rough period but they are back in form. We are out our rough patch and we are doing okay but we haven’t had our troubles to seek in the second half of the season. It will be a challenge for us but for Inverness as well.”

As McCall alludes to, it has been a season of two halves for Thistle. The Jags were bright, free-flowing and attacking during the first half of the campaign before performances dipped in the second and a title charge fizzled out.

The surface at Firhill has deteriorated as the season as progressed thanks to the groundshare with Queen’s Park and McCall accepts that his team simply can’t recapture their previous form.

“We can’t play like we did earlier in the season, it’s impossible,” explained the Thistle boss, who confirmed that Brian Graham and Scott Tiffoney are fit for tonight’s match while Kyle Turner and Kyle McAllister are expected to miss out.

“We can’t do it and no other team has done it here either. I watched the game here on Saturday with Falkirk and Queen’s Park and it was exactly the same.

“I think about 30 games have been played here in the second half of the season and they have all finished 0-0, 1-0 or 1-1. So that’s impossible. So we’ve had to change the way we play.

“A lot has been said but it is time for our club to really get together. From where we came from after the demotion, after having the worst injury crisis in living memory, to going on that fantastic run to win League One, to get into the play-offs for the Premiership – it’s where we should be.

“We’re not any better than that, we’ve no divine right to be sitting seventh in the Premiership, but we are only halfway through getting to where we want to be. We are well ahead of [getting to] where we want to be. We know that we’ve got a number of players that are good enough to play at that level and good enough to compete to win this league.

“So I’m delighted, absolutely delighted, that we managed to get fourth. I’m not happy with the second half of the season but there are reasons for that that I can’t control. The players are really motivated to do well and hopefully they will do well.”