The big question is if Dundee United can do what looks almost impossible and pull off one of the greatest relegation escapes ever as they visit Partick Thistle.
Forget Dynamo, David Blaine, Uri Geller or even Tommy Cooper – if big Finn Mixu Paatelainen can perform his tricks and drag the Terrors off the bottom spot, then he deserves a spot in the fabled Magic Circle.
United are trailing second-bottom Kilmarnock by a bumper 11 points, but their 5-1 demolition of the Rugby Park side at the weekend has at least given the team in Tangerine some believe that they can perform a miracle and avoid the drop into the Championship.
They’d endured a nightmare run of seven defeats in the nine games previous to that – with only two points to show for their efforts – and the bumper victory over Killie was only their third of a torrid season.
Never mind Rimbaud, United’s woeful form this term has been a real season in hell. But for them to smash in five times against their closest relegation rivals has provided a real chink of light through the gathering storm clouds over Tannadice – now they just need to follow that result up with some consistency to show their fans at least that they haven’t already thrown in the towel.
The trip to Glasgow won’t prove easy for United though and they can expect few favours from a Jags side that have got themselves back up to eighth spot, albeit on goal difference, and Thistle aren’t out convincingly clear of being sucked into the threat of the relegation play-off place themselves yet.
They are level with Motherwell and Hamilton just a point ahead of Kilmarnock and are still embroiled in a battle to keep themselves up after taking a point in a goalless draw at Inverness on Saturday.
That was only their second point in four games following a four game winning run, so Alan Archibald’s men will look to continue the form book that’s seen them defeat United twice already this season without conceding a goal.
Both sides need to get some points on the board in this game with a draw doing little for either team’s chances, so it could prove a decisive game in the season.
A win for United would further boost their confidence and belief, while three points for the hosts would put them right back in amongst the mix in mid-table.
On paper you’d say that Thistle should have enough quality to put the game to bed but with just two goals in the previous four games they are showing a distinct lack of firepower – in fact, they’ve netted three less than the basement side over the season, so Paatelainen will be encouraged by that. However, the Thistle defence is the best outside the top three, so chances could be at a premium at either end.
The first goal could prove very decisive in this fixture, which may be a very nervy and tension-filled affair.
Partick Thistle Recent Form WWDLLD
Dundee United Recent Form LDLLLW
12/12/2015 Dundee United 0 Partick Thistle 1
03/10/2015 Partick Thistle 3 Dundee United 0
28/02/2015 Dundee United 0 Partick Thistle 2
04/01/2015 Partick Thistle 2 Dundee United 2
18/10/2014 Dundee United 1 Partick Thistle 0
Partick Thistle (4-4-2) Cerny, Dumbuya, Frans, Seaborne, Booth, Welsh, Osman, Lawless, Amoo, Bannigan, Doolan.
Dundee United (3-4-1-2) – Kawashima, Dillon, Donaldson, Gunning, Spittal, Paton, Souttar, Rankin, Dow, McKay, Murray.
Partick Thistle: Fraser (inj), Pogba (inj).
Dundee United: Morris (inj).