The Firhill club’s dismal start to the campaign now feels like a particularly troubling nightmare, one which has faded from consciousness after defeating United for the second time this season, making it three wins on the trot and continuing their terrific form since the last encounter.
Kris Doolan’s goal, netted six minutes into the second half, means Thistle have remained undefeated in seven of their last eight games, a run which began with the visit of United back in early October.
Having lost Conrad Balatoni, Kallum Higginbotham and Stephen O’Donnell in the summer, it took Thistle a while to get going. Some of the summer additions got off to slow starts and confidence throughout the squad suffered as the defeats mounted up. The malaise was eventually shrugged off with a 3-0 win over then managerless United and carried right through to Saturday’s match.
“Delighted to get three wins in a row. It’s great to get the consistency, we were missing that at the start of the season,” said manager Alan Archibald. “We had a plan coming in from the last international break, with the run of games coming up, that we could get ourselves back into the pack.
“The last win over Dundee United really kicked on the confidence. It’s turned our season around. Now we can look up at the teams above us, while also keeping an eye on what’s behind.”
The manager’s words were echoed by his full-back, Callum Booth. The former Hibernian defender started the move which ended with Doolan dispatching the ball into the far corner, pushing their hosts eight points adrift at the bottom of the league table. Booth and Thistle were only recently in United’s position and are a prime example of how quickly things can change.
“There’s a lot of clichés in football, but confidence is massive,” said Booth. “It’s really important. We started the season down but we just needed to turn that corner.
“United have signed a lot of players and they’ll probably sign a few more in January. We saw what happened to Ross County last season. They stayed up when no-one thought they had a chance. They [United] have got a new manager still working on things and they definitely can’t be written off.”