Shea Gordon warns Partick Thistle team-mates of resurgent Dunfermline ahead of Scottish Cup third round tie

The Pars have enjoyed a recent revival under new manager John Hughes in recent weeks

Beware the wounded animal - a phrase Ian McCall would have drilled into his players ahead of Partick Thistle’s goalless draw with Dunfermline last month.

Fast forward four weeks, the Pars return to Firhill on Friday night a different proposition and Shea Gordon has warned his Jags team-mates to prepare for stern test as both teams clash in the Scottish Cup third round.

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The resurgent Fifers, under new leadership after John Hughes replaced Peter Grant a fortnight ago, have enjoyed an upturn in form.

Following their winless start to the Championship season, a recent revival under the man who guided Inverness to Scottish Cup glory in 2015, has lifted the club off bottom spot in the table.

Midfielder Gordon reckons the arrival of Hughes’ will enhance the difficulty of securing a place in the next round of the competition.

He said: “It seems like they have changed around a wee bit since he’s (Hughes) came in.

“We all knew at some stage they would turn things around because they’ve got so many good players in the team, so you think that poor run they were on wasn’t going to last forever.

“Even the last time we played them, we knew it would be a tough game, you’re not going to get any easy game. Since he’s come in, they’ve started to pick up again.

“We know Friday night, regardless of who their manager is, would be tough anyway but I think now it’s added a bit more to it – it’s definitely going to be a tough one for us.”

Barring a run to the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup in 2019, the Northern Irishman has yet to sample a proper run in the domestic cups during his two-and-a-half years with the Maryhill men.

The 23-year-old believes reaching the latter stages of the tournament would further enhance the feel-good factor around the club of late.

Gordon admitted: “Yeah (a cup run) would be nice. I’ve been here for a couple of years but we haven’t really had a cup run I suppose. It definitely brings a different buzz about it.

“Obviously when you’re doing well in the league, you want to keep that momentum going.

“If you can go on a cup run I think the fans jump even more on that and I think it would be great for everyone around the club.

“It gives a different kind of feel, so if we can start of on a run this Friday, it would bring a bit more excitement for everyone. As long as we’re still winning games, that’s just as important.

“I’m not too sure (what the high and low points have been in the Scottish Cup). For me, the low probably was more when we played Hearts a couple of seasons ago and we came close against them.

“On the night, we could’ve had a couple of penalties and we felt we could’ve done a bit better.

“Even against Dundee United last season, we thought we were the better team in the game and we ended up throwing it away in the last few minutes.

“It was still early stages in the competition, but I think if you can get past the first few rounds, you’re not far away.

“When you win you’re first couple of games then you can look to push on. I think for us we’re just going to worry about the game on Friday.”

Thistle set a new club record of six consecutive clean sheets during last weekend’s 1-0 win over Hamilton Accies.

After leaking goals earlier in the season, Gordon has been proud of the way his team-mates have shored up their defensive line and with goals being spread around the team, he insists the squad is in a very positive place.

He added: “When you’re scoring goals like we did, it gives confidence to everyone around the team. Add to that we’re not conceding goals now, so it just shows that when you’re doing both of those things then you’re doing something right.

“For us, we want to keep that going and when your confidence is high like that it’s almost as if you can do no wrong.

“I think we’ve done so well in every area of the pitch, everyone is playing their part without conceding goals, but now we’re creating chances and scoring goals.

“It’s definitely been a full team performance every week, we’re not just relying on one man anymore, so it’s brilliant.”

Gordon has been limited to a bit-part role in McCall’s side this term, but after marking a late substitute appearance against Ayr United by scoring his first goal of the season, he is happy to slot in where required.

“It’s part of football,” Gordon stated. “At the time I wasn’t playing as much so I was more than happy to fill in and do a job for the boys because when you’re not playing regularly you will go on the pitch anywhere.

“For me, I don’t mind where I’m playing as long as I’m on the pitch.

“Coming on a right-back wasn’t too different to where I’ve played before and I felt I did a half-decent job but I know now if I’m needed to play there I can do it again. Hopefully I get another chance like that again soon.”

“It was nice coming on (against Ayr), I wasn’t on for long so I didn’t expect to score but I popped up at the back and was able to knock one in, so it’s nice because when you’re not playing as much, to come in and contribute to the team, you want to do your bit as well so I was pleased with that.”