Flag day was a day to remember for Jags fans, none more so than Brian Graham. The veteran striker kept up his remarkable run of form on Saturday, scoring a brace as Thistle ran out 3-2 winners at home to Queen of the South, making the SPFL TOTW. With six goals already this season, Graham is confident for the season ahead.
He said: “Yeah, I’m delighted. To get off the mark as a striker in the first League game is always good. All is well for the season ahead.
“Obviously it’s good for strikers to score goals but I need to touch on Zak Rudden today who never scored but created two [goals] in the first half. The boy has got bags of talent, bags of energy and it’s a pleasure to play alongside him”
Graham is keen to kick on after forming a formidable strike partnership with Zak Rudden. The pair were at the forefront as Thistle cruised to the League 1 title at the tail end of last season, attracting many plaudits.
“Last year he was unfortunate with his injury in the first half of the season but he’s got [himself] back fit. I’ve just been waiting on him getting back fit, [in order] to play with him because the last pre-season we clicked right away and he’s a pleasure to be around.
“There’s an element where we can read each other’s game and we know where the other is. We’re here to help each other so it’s definitely a good thing”.
Any professional manager will tell you fitness is at the forefront of the modern game. Experienced in the managerial role with the women’s team, Graham has taken his own fitness to the next level as he looks to help the Jag’s make it back to back promotions.
“I think the last ten minutes I was out on my feet. You’ll see with that shot at the end where I cut inside I just had nothing left, I was delighted to hear the whistle. Sometimes that’s what you need to do. You need to grind out a victory and we did that today.
The return of fans to Firhill also meant the reintroduction of certain songs in the stands. After notching his brace, Graham’s name could be heard ringing around Firhill Stadium, much to the strikers’ enjoyment.
“Yeah, it’s fantastic when the fans are backing you and backing the team. We were all in it together today and worked hard to get over the line”.
The addition of strong competition may scare some players, but Brian Graham believes otherwise, welcoming the signing of Forward Cammy Smith to the roster.
“I’m delighted to get Cammy on board and I don’t think the gaffers finished there, either. He wants to add another bit of quality so long may it continue because the more competition for places is only better for the squad”.
With 6/7 teams tipped to be involved in the title race, Graham agrees that this season will be one of the tightest Championship contests in recent years.
“I said the other day to someone, I think second to second-bottom could be about 5 points. It’s going to be so tight. On their day, anybody can beat anybody, so it’s brilliant we’ve got off to a good start. Now we go to Dunfermline next week and pick up where we left off today hopefully.”