His side narrowly missed out on a top-six spot in last season’s Ladbrokes Premiership, and now Partick Thistle striker Kris Doolan is determined to lead the Jags into the upper echelons of the table.
And Ladbrokes News found the prolific marksman in confident mood, as he talked new signings, training under Alan Archibald, Thistle’s chances of causing an upset against the Old Firm and more.
Over to you, Kris…
Ladbrokes News: Partick Thistle finished ninth in the Ladbrokes Premiership last season, but only narrowly missed the split to reach the top six. So is a top-half finish the focus this season, or are you aiming bigger?
Kris Doolan: We only missed out on the top six by one point last season, and we definitely had the quality in the squad to make it into the top half of the table.
I think we have a strong chance this season. We’ve added some excellent players over the summer, and I feel we now have a very well-balanced squad. The aim is to push on this year, and there’s no reason why we can’t do so.
LN: You had an excellent campaign in 2015-16, scoring 14 times in the league. Do you think you can build on that success this season, especially with a new strike partner in Adebayo Azeez?
KD: Absolutely. I was delighted with the total I managed last season, but the aim is always to improve – not just on the goalscoring front, but in all aspects of my game.
It obviously helps me when you have tough and talented recruits like Ade Azeez brought into the squad, so I’m looking forward to building on what I did well last season, and developing a good understanding with the new players at Thistle.
LN: This season has begun well for Thistle with four straight wins in the League Cup. Obviously, you’ve been back among the goals – but have you also been impressed with the team’s performances so far?
KD: So far we’ve put in very professional performances, and whoever the opposition is in the cup, the respect for them and the focus we have is the same as it is for every Ladbrokes Premiership game.
We never take getting a result for granted, and from the keeper to the front men we’ve all produced good displays so far. Thankfully that’s reflected in the results too.
The 4-1 win at Ochilview was the best we’ve looked so far. We blew Stenhousemuir away during that first half with our passing and movement, and the chances we created were very good. That’s the style of play – and level of performance – that everyone at Thistle looking to maintain.
LN: We’re back to three Glasgow clubs in the Premiership this season, with the return of Rangers. Are you looking forward to facing the Gers for the first team? And can Thistle give the Old Firm sides genuine problems this season?
KD: I don’t think we have anything to fear. I’m looking forward to the games against Rangers and Celtic. I think we can put in good performances against the Old Firm and match them – whether we’re at Firhill or away from home.
It’s exciting to have Rangers back. I’ve not played at Ibrox before, which should hopefully be a great experience. Having them back adds something special to the Premiership, and it’s another big game where we can show our quality!
LN: Your boss Alan Archibald is heading into his third full season as Thistle manager, and his 11th successive season at Firhill. What’s Alan been like to play under, and has he developed your game?
KD: He’s been great to work under. Alan is very knowledgeable, especially when it comes to tactics, and he’s passionate about football on and off the training ground!
It’s no surprise to see the boss being successful – he’s a very approachable person and the players are all fond of him.
He’s a modern day manager in terms of that focus on tactics, a real interest in sports’ science and the way he interacts with us. He keeps us on our toes. I come into training every day and enjoy it, which is what you want in any job.
LN: Thistle have netted nine goals in four games so far this season. Do you think the fans at Firhill are set to see some really exciting, attacking football from your side this season?
KD: Yes, absolutely. We’ve brought in some very creative players – the likes of Ade, Chris Erskine from Dundee United and Ziggy Gordon from Hamilton can all produce good attacking play, as can a number of the guys who were here last season.
Judging from the performances so far and the way the manager wants us to play, I think Jags fans are in for a really exciting season – and I’m confident we can do our part and keep the goals flowing.
Partick Thistle begin their Ladbrokes Premiership campaign by welcoming Inverness to Firhill, with 17/10 for the Glasgow side to triumph.
And if a certain Kris Doolan can get among the goals on opening day, the odds of 40/1 for him to finish as top scorer this season could soon tumble.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing