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Tragedy strikes Partick Thistle manager Kris Doolan ahead of play-off decider

Tragedy strikes Partick Thistle manager Kris Doolan ahead of play-off decider

Partick Thistle have been hit by tragedy on the eve of their play-off decider following the death of the father of manager Kris Doolan.

Doolan’s side beat Queen’s Park 4-3 in the first leg of the cinch Premiership play-off quarter-final on Tuesday and the second leg takes place at Ochilview on Friday night.

A statement on the club’s website read: “All at Partick Thistle FC are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Lawrence Doolan, the father of first-team manager Kris Doolan, this morning.

“We know every Partick Thistle supporter and all connected with the club will join us in sending their love, thoughts and condolences to Kris and his family at this difficult time.”

Doolan’s assistant, Paul McDonald, said in a club video: “Devastated at the news we got regarding the passing of his dad. Condolences from everyone here at the club.”

Thistle have only lost once in 14 games since Doolan took over and also scored four goals against their Glasgow rivals last month in a Championship game, keeping a clean sheet in the process.

McDonald promised the players will approach Friday’s game with their manager’s style of play prominent in their thoughts.

“The message will be, don’t change anything in terms of our attacking style of play,” he said,

“That’s been the manager’s message since he has come in. He has always encouraged the group to look after the ball and to use the ability and the dangers we have within the group.

“They have responded brilliantly to his leadership and the way he wants to play. The players have carried that out fantastically well.

“We won’t be going there to sit in and defend the lead, we will be going there to win the game.”

Queen’s Park manager Owen Coyle believes minimising lapses in concentration will be vital for his team after some painful recent defeats.

The Spiders lost five goals against Dundee in their Championship title decider last Friday.

Looking back at the first leg, Coyle said: “We could have scored two goals in the first five minutes because we started the game better.

“So we know we can score goals, because that’s what we want to do in the long term, we want to play in a way where people think ‘I enjoy watching my team’.

“But in the same way, we need to do better defensively. That’s not just the back four, it’s from the strikers all the way back because it’s very much a collective effort.

“There are certainly things to work on, not a lot of time, but we have shown prior to the last couple of weeks, clean sheet at Hamilton, clean sheet at Ayr, we are capable of doing it.

“It’s just that focus and concentration. They are a young team, there will be lapses, but it’s about minimising those lapses. When we do, we have shown we can win these type of games.”

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