HE might have received their cheers on Sunday but Paul Paton knows he’ll be in line for some jeers from Partick Thistle fans this weekend.

But, while the Pars captain accepts he’ll be the pantomime villain for home punters in Saturday’s Firhill crunch, he says it’ll not bother him as long as it’s his side celebrating a much-needed three points.

Following the disappointing home defeat to Inverness, Paton made the first of two visits to Maryhill within six days 24 hours later to take part in former Jags team-mate Kris Doolan’s testimonial match.

The 32-year-old, along with ex-Par, James Craigen, joined a team of Thistle legends to take on a side of Celtic greats – including Jackie McNamara – for the now Ayr United striker’s benefit game.

Paton, along with Craigen and Doolan, was part of the Partick side that won the First Division title in 2013, lifting the trophy after a 3-3 draw with Athletic – a result that, combined with a final day defeat to Airdrie, helped consign them to the relegation play-offs.

“Everyone was in good spirits and the club gave Dools the send off he deserved,” Paton told Press Sport this week.

“When you go back and play against Partick Thistle, it’s like a different feeling, but when you’re there with all the boys you won the league with, a lot of nice memories came flooding back.

“I had my daughter, my mum and my brother in the stand as well watching the testimonial, so that was quite good for them to go back. I think a few memories came back for them as well.

“It wasn’t about me, it was about Dools. I think he was disappointed with the way he left the club, so to go back and get that ovation from the fans was nice to see. I feel he deserved that.”

Despite captaining the Jags to the Premiership, it was announced prior to them securing the championship that Paton was to leave for Dundee United – who had appointed McNamara as boss in January after he resigned from his role at Thistle.

“When I go back there, I’m the pantomime villain; they boo me and stuff,” Paton continued.

“I left when I was captain and we’d got promoted. I was probably a bit disappointed the way it ended there; I think they released I was moving on the night of the biggest game of the season, which was a bit bizarre, and I had a bit of a backlash from that.

“I wasn’t wanting things like that to be leaked at that time in the season, but I had a decision to make and I felt that was the best one for me and my family at the time.

“You can’t turn down the chance to go to Dundee United when they had the team that they had then.

“It was the right decision to make but I wish it ended a bit better. I see Chris Erskine (now with Livingston) still gets clapped and standing ovations when’s he back, but I get booed!

“It doesn’t really bother me, but I would’ve liked it to be a bit better. When I was there on Sunday, it made me realise I wish it did end a wee bit differently.

“Some of the football we played that year is still the best football I’ve ever seen from any team. We were outstanding.”

When asked if taking some stick can help a player thrive, Paton replied: “I think you only thrive off it if you’re winning the game.

“You don’t really take anything to do with the crowd, especially as you get older and experienced, and I don’t mind it.

“All that’s in my head is the three points; it’s not really about the booing or the cheers.”

Dunfermline and Thistle both sit on just two points from their opening five games, with goal difference keeping the Glasgow side just ahead of the Pars, who sit bottom.

It’s an important game for both sides, which Thistle will go into on the back of sacking manager Gary Caldwell on Wednesday.

Former Athletic hitman Gerry Britton, together with Kenny Miller and academy director Scott Allison, will take charge of the Jags, but Paton continued: “I think every game’s big when you’re at Dunfermline, and it’ll be the same at Partick Thistle.

“The two sets of fans expect to be up there challenging, and we’re not, so there’s going to be pressure in every game.

“I feel as if we’ve got a decent side but we’re just throwing away terrible goals at the minute,” he said.

“We’re losing games we should be drawing, and drawing games we should be winning. It’s not been good enough – we know that as a team – and Saturday’s a great chance to put that right.

“Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t outstanding (against Inverness), but we should have taken something from the game.

“Probably a draw would’ve been a fair result but we’re shooting ourselves in the foot every week just now.

“Daft mistakes are killing us and, if we want to turn things round, we need to change that individually before we start doing it collectively.

“I think we probably need to mature a bit as a team as well. We’re a bit naïve at times, so maybe change that and hopefully we can get the right result on Saturday.

“It’s far too early to be hitting panic buttons. I understand fans won’t be happy but no-one’s more disappointed than the players.

“We’re only one game away from the season getting turned round. We’ve got a good manager, good staff and a good group of players.

“I know things haven’t gone for us so far – there’s no getting away from that, and we’re bitterly disappointed – but we’re still full of belief that we can turn it round.”