Ian McCall says it’ll be great to get the football back underway at Firhill as the Partick Thistle boss looks ahead to the new season.
The Jags will ply their trade in League One this term after a controversial relegation from the Championship last term. Despite sitting two points from safety with a game spare before the football shutdown, Thistle were still demoted.
Having been in the Firhill area for over 30 years, McCall is well aware how hard the last three years have been for the club. It’s why he’s so keen to get back to business and get Partick Thistle moving back up the divisions.
“I’ve been on record as saying when I went into Ayr many years ago, the dressing room – people wouldn’t believe what it was like. It had to be changed,” said McCall. “I’m not saying that’s what it was like here but certainly for me anyway, not everybody was pulling in the right direction and certainly there wasn’t a togetherness that there should be.
“One thing it has done is put me seriously under pressure. I need to try and do well this season. With the amount of games left to go, we felt confident that the new signings were starting to turn things around a wee bit and there was plenty of time to get out of it, but that wasn’t to be.
“Never more so has it been important that we get off to a fast start but the last two or three years at Ayr we always got off to a fast start so we basically need to just replicate that. A lot of the supporters and media don’t really know a lot of the things that I know that have been going on – just on the football side – that I think had to be changed and rooted out.
“There are five or six players here from last season but I’m hoping they’ll all be like new players. Nobody in this world can tell me Stuart Bannigan is a poor player. He wouldn’t be playing for us if it wasn’t for his injury, he’d be away playing in the English Championship.
“Tam O’Ware, who by his own admission didn’t have a good season, he was in the Championship team of the season two years in a row. There are good players and they maybe just need better people around them; a mentality, a togetherness around the football club which I don’t think was there.
“Never will I say that we are too big to be in this division because that’s a load of nonsense. We are where we are. It’s not easy to win a league or get promotion no matter what league. There are other clubs like Falkirk who don’t expect to be down there and they may have felt that type of resentment with what happened in their league.
“That pressure has come on but that’s a football thing. I was at Ayr United for five years but what’s happening there has nothing to do with me now. I’ve been at Thistle for six months and Thistle’s problems are everything to me now. That’s just football and I’ve been in it long enough to know that.”
McCall has also provided an update on where Thistle are in the transfer market. Most recently he brought in Rangers youth duo Rhys Breen and Kieran Wright, alongside additions like Richard Foster, Ciaran McKenna, Ross Docherty, Darren Brownlie and Connor Murray.
It’s been really pleasing for McCall – and he’s hoping for more things to fall into place on the transfer front: “I might be [close to more signings] but I’m waiting to find out stuff for Friday.
“We are a midfielder and a striker short but I’m happy. But I think it’s a new chance for the players that have been here who I think are good players and have good attitudes.
“Ross Docherty was a no-brainer as he was my captain for five years. We’ve taken on two or three younger players in the forward areas. The last time I was in this league we scored about 100 or something goals.
“Blair Lyons and Connor Murray look like exciting young players. The centre-backs look like they want to play in the team and I’m really happy with them. They’ve all come back in really decent condition.”