Chris Doolan, coach of Partick Thistle, experiences tragedy prior to crucial playoff match.

    Partick Thistle suffered a tragedy on the eve of a playoff tie after the death of coach Chris Doolan’s father.

    Doolan’s side beat Queens Park 4-3 in the first leg of the Premier League play-off quarter-finals on Tuesday, with the second leg in Ochilview on Friday night.

    A statement on the club’s website said: “Everyone at Party Thistle is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Lawrence Doolan, father of head coach Chris Doolan, this morning.

    “We know that every Partick Thistle supporter and everyone associated with the club will join us in expressing their love, thoughts and condolences to Chris and his family during this difficult time.”

    Dulan’s assistant, Paul McDonald, said in a club video: “Devastated by the news we have received of his father’s passing. Condolences from everyone here at the club.”

    Thistle has only lost once in 14 games since Doolan took over, and also scored four goals against his Glasgow rivals last month in the championship game to go on to a draw.

    McDonald promised that the players would approach Friday’s game with their coach’s style of play in mind.

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

    “That has been the manager’s message ever since he came. He has always encouraged the group to keep an eye on the ball and take advantage of the opportunities and dangers that we have within the group.

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

    “We will not go there to sit and defend the lead, we will go there to win the game.”

    Queens Park manager Owen Coyle believes that minimizing lapses in concentration will be vital for his side after some painful recent defeats.

    Last Friday, the Spiders lost five goals against Dundee in the championship decider.

    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 run, we want to play in a way that makes people think, ‘I love watching my team.’

    “But we also need to do better defensively. This applies not only to the back four, but to all forwards, because this is largely a collective effort.

    “Of course there is work to be done, not much time, but we showed before the last couple of weeks, zero in Hamilton, zero in Ayr, we are able to do it.

    “It’s just focus and concentration. This is a young team, there will be omissions, but it is important to keep these omissions to a minimum. When we do this, we show that we can win these games.”

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