Jackie’s at helm after McCall exit

IAN McCall’s resignation as Partick Thistle manager came as a shock to many in football last week - not least to his players.

Captain Alan Archibald said there was shock in the dressing room when the gaffer - who was in the middle of a four-year deal and had been at Firhill since 2007 - announced he was leaving on Friday.

The veteran defender said: “Usually you hear something from the press, but there was nothing going about, no one knew anything about it, it was just sprung upon us in the morning to be totally honest, so we were quite surprised ourselves. He came in and said his goodbyes, then the board came in and told us what was happening and that was it.

“We’re all just very shocked. Ian will be a big loss to Thistle because we had quite a successful spell in the past four years. There have been more good times than bad and I’ve enjoyed working with him and he’s got quite a good record at this club.”

The club put McCall’s resignation down to “personal and professional reasons” - but press reports have linked him with a move back to Falkirk, who he managed in 2002.

He was unavailable for comment as Herald Sport went to press, but after announcing his departure, he said: “This has been the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. Living in the West End of Glasgow, Partick Thistle FC has been a huge part of my life.

“I’d like to thank the players, supporters and the board for their support over the years, and I wish the club all the success for the future”.

Acting club chairman David Beattie said: “It is with great regret I have accepted Ian’s resignation as manager of Partick Thistle FC. I fully respect and appreciate Ian’s reasons for wishing to leave. Personally I’d like to thank Ian for his contribution to the club. He is popular with the supporters, directors and the players and we’ll miss him”.

Former Celtic and Scotland star Jackie McNamara, who joined the Jags last year, has taken over as caretaker manager until the end of the season. His first game at the helm was Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Ross County.

Archibald said McNamara’s appointment had gone down well in the dressing room.

He said: “He’s a popular guy around the place. We’ve always got to give our all, we’re professional footballers. We’re obviously disappointed Ian left but we’ve got to move on - football’s like that.”

David Beattie added: “We’re delighted that Jackie has taken on the caretaker manager role and we will look at the permanent position over the coming weeks. Our aim would be to have this position confirmed well in advance of the new season”