Ian McCall has only just arrived back at Partick Thistle and already Celtic boss Neil Lennon is singing his praises.
It’ll be a baptism of fire for the new Jags manager this evening when he takes Partick to face Celtic at Parkhead.
It would be a monumental achievement for the Firhill side, given the odds stacked against them, if they were to progress to the semi-finals. Celtic have a far superior squad, but the 53-year-old won’t make it easy for the home side.
Lennon says that Jags boss is someone he likes ‘a lot’.
He told The Herald (page 4, 25/09/19): “I like Ian a lot. I admire him. He is having a very good managerial career. He’s had a renaissance after so many people were writing him off. He’s bounced back brilliantly and has had unbelievable success at Ayr.
“You are seeing his talent again. It must have been a big decision for him, given the current situation of Ayr and Thistle, but he obviously sees huge potential in what Thistle have to offer.
“He knows the environment and his recruitment is good. He’s smart. He can walk to work now! I bump into him in the west end a lot. I always see him in his kit! He enjoys living there.”
It’s a real coup for the Jags to land McCall. He had been working with buttons at Ayr United throughout his time at Somerset Park.
In that time he has dragged them out of League One and into the Championship, making them one of the division’s best teams in the process.
He leaves them joint-top in favour of a return to Firhill, the team he managed between 2007-2011. With the Jags currently bottom, he has a big task on his hands to get them up the second tier table.
His accomplishments have obviously caught Lennon’s eye. He’ll know that McCall thrives on being the underdog, which Partick will be for the quarter-final clash.
This game looks like a foregone conclusion on paper, but McCall isn’t someone you want to right off completely.