Feb 2 2009 By Andrew McInnes, Daily Record
THISTLE keeper Jonny Tuffey revealed he is desperate to go head-to-head with his Northern Ireland buddies Steven Davis and Kyle Lafferty in the SPL.
The shot-stopper helped his side to three vital promotion points against Airdrie and the Jags now sit just three points off the top of the First Division table.
And even though he isn't getting carried away, the prospect of finally playing in the top flight is helping Tuffey raise his game when it matters.
He said: "I'm really keen to play in the Premier League.
"I speak to Kyle and Steven regularly and we meet up from time to time but it would be a dream to come up against them on the pitch on a regular basis."
The Jags totally outplayed a jaded-looking home outfit, nullifying Airdrie's attacking instincts and getting the crucial goal just before half-time when Liam Buchanan volleyed home from close range.
Tuffey added: "It was a great day all round for us as St Johnstone and Dunfermline dropped points.
"We believe we are good enough to challenge for the title as we have plenty of ability.
"But it's a funny league as all the teams at the top end of the table have been dropping points in recent weeks and no one has been able to streak ahead."
Two minutes before half-time, Buchanan scored from six yards after Marc Twaddle found him unmarked with a whipped cross from the left.
Thehome side's best opportunity came eight minutes into the second half when winger Joe Cardle burst through and created space for himself to shoot but Tuffey blocked the attempt with his outstretched left leg.
Thistle boss Ian McCall said: "We thoroughly deserved to win the game and it should really have been dead and buried after 25 minutes."
Airdrie manager Kenny Black said: "We got what we deserved as Thistle obviously wanted it more than we did. It was a really poor performance and our opponents dominated in every area."