McCall: good riddance to a year of frustration

Firhill Park'Stuart McCall- In happy mood-3 yrs contract'10th June 2009'Roberto Cavieres
Firhill Park'Stuart McCall- In happy mood-3 yrs contract'10th June 2009'Roberto Cavieres

FRUSTRATION has been the overriding emotion in the Partick Thistle camp, what with the squad struggling to find consistent form, and the icy weather causing havoc to the fixture list.

The most recent victim of the weather was last Saturday’s away game against Morton, with burst pipes at Cappielow forcing a postponement.

However, Thistle manager Ian McCall put a brave face on it as he looked back on a very testing first half to the season.

The gaffer said: “It’s frustrating but it is just one of those things and something that you can’t apportion blame to.

“2010 has been without doubt the hardest year of my managerial career.

“I experienced tough times at other clubs in the earlier part of my managerial career but that was at clubs where not much was expected of them.

“There is a much higher expectation level at this club with the perception, at least, that we are a big club.

“An important thing for me has been the way that everyone at the club has stuck together during these times.

“It might take two or three years but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

“A couple of years ago we had a team that had finished second in the league and we had put together a squad that really was on the verge of challenging for a place in the SPL.

“A couple of players from that squad were transferred and a few others moved on as well, and that group of players was broken up.”

Looking ahead McCall said he could see the “makings of another good team” in the squad he has.’

He said: “I feel that we have a good group of players in the 19-25 age range that can take this club forward and I want to keep them all here at Firhill.”

However in the short term McCall admits that - with a number of important games coming up - the aim is one of survival.

He said: “In this league you are just as likely to beat a team at the top end of the league as you are one at the bottom.

“If we can get a good run of results from those games and really push on then we have a chance of finishing the season in the top half of the league.”

And turning his attention to players, McCall said that with Martin Hardie’s time at St Johnstone coming to an end he is ‘definitely’ a player that interests him’, although his main priority at the moment is keeping goalie Scott Fox at Firhill.

The gaffer is also keen to extend Conrad Balatoni’s loan from Hearts, and is reported to be delighted that the paperwork has now been completed on Balatoni’s loan extension until May 31 this year.

The Jags next match is a Scottish Cup fourth round tiw away against Falkirk on Saturday, January 8.