Ian McCall says the hard work starts now for Mouhamed ‘Sena’ Niang as the 20-year-old battler signs a deal at Partick Thistle until 2023.

The youngster has filled in admirably for Tam O’Ware at centre-back, becoming a key man in defence for the Jags as they push for promotion to the Championship. He will now remain in Maryhill for the long-term after a two-year extension.

Niang has signed a new deal. (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Manager McCall says Sena has the ability to go far in the game as he compared him to two Firhill heroes: “When I first saw him I was convinced he could play in the Championship but now I think there is potential there to play at a better level.

“I might be wrong and I don’t want to build him up too much but he could go higher. We have no concerns he won’t work hard to get even better due to the type of boy he is.

“Alan Archibald does a lot of work with the defenders and we do that every Thursday and he always wants to learn. I think that side of it we will have no issues with, the rest is up to him about how high he can go.

Greenock Morton v Partick Thistle - Ladbrokes Championship
McCall’s backing him to go far. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group via Getty Images)

“He does remind me of the likes of Chris Erskine and Kris Doolan but in a different way. When they came in they earned nothing but it made them determined and that’s the link with Sena.

“He is desperate to succeed and I really hope he does. As a boy, we have tried to bring back a bit of humility and we have and he fits that build. I think he has come out his shell a bit. I always think young players, as much as you want to coach them, they learn from playing in the first team.

“I took Michael Rose in at Ayr and he was great in training but never got much chance in the first year. But once he got his chance he kept learning and learning and now he plays in the English Championship.

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Rose is one McCall has developed. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

“I think you learn when you are playing and I have seen an improvement in him but we can’t go overboard as he has a long way to go.”

Now that he’s got one Jag tied down long-term, McCall wants to add more to that list: “The board know I have identified a few players who I want to tie down and they are doing all they can for me.

“We have [Ross] Docherty, [Darren] Brownlie and [Stuart] Bannigan on deals until the following summer, so we want to put the blocks down for the future but you have to win games the now.

Dundee Utd v Partick Thistle (Ladbrokes Championship)
Planning for the future at Partick Thistle. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group via Getty Images)

“We do need to build the club back up and we are starting to.”

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