Jags back Jackie and Sid to bring success


A NEW rookie management team has been confirmed at the helm of Partick Thistle - and club bosses say they are certain they will bring excitement back to Firhill.

Former Celtic pair Jackie McNamara and Simon ‘Sid’ Donnelly were officialy installed last week, after impressing during their five-game stint in charge at the end of last season.

New manager McNamara said he was delighted by the appointment - but admitted he faced a financial headache over signing new players and keeping present ones.

Donnelly, his assistant, said he couldn’t believe how his Firhill career has turned around in the space of a few weeks, as he’d planned on bowing out from the club before Ian McCall’s shock resignation in April.

Meanwhile, director David Beattie admitted the former Scotland caps lacked managerial experience, but insisted their appointment could lead to an upturn in the club’s fortunes.

He said: “I’ve bought some businesses in my time but I have to say that there is much more detail, and much more emotion, involved when it comes to appointing a manager.

“There are no guarantees when it comes to appointing a manager and we are taking a chance in appointing two individuals who are not tried and tested in football management but we are delighted to have appointed Jackie as manager and Simon as his assistant.

“We think that this appointment could prove to be a real boom for the club. Jackie was hugely impressive during the interview process and during his time in interim charge. He has thoughts on how to take the club forward that are very similar to our own. This is an exciting time for Partick Thistle.”

McNamara, the 24th Jags manager, said: “It is important that we already have the core of next season’s squad in place. I think we have the nucleus of a good squad here, a squad with the potential to do something.

“It’s going to be very difficult to bring players in, I don’t think there is any doubt about that. I’ll sit down though with David Beattie and the Board and see what is available to us in terms of funds but it is going to be very tight.

“I’ve already said that I’m keen to keep Tommy Stewart and we have spoken to David Rowson and hopefully we can get something sorted out with him. There are other players as well that we will be speaking to. There’s Paddy Boyle, although he has other offers to think about, John Robertson, Ross McGeough, Kyle Lochhead and Iain Flannigan. I’ll be speaking to all of them to see what their thoughts are.”

“The priority is getting the squad in place for next season but we need to get pre-season organised and get some matches fixed up as well. I’ve already spoken to Ian Maxwell about what opposition that we could play and the dates that might be available. Ian is a person that it is important for me to have a good relationship with and it will be good to have someone of his experience to turn to.”

Donnelly said: “I don’t think I would have believed you if you had said four weeks ago that I would be in this position now. I really did think that we were at the end of the chapter in my time at Partick Thistle. It just proves that football really is a funny old game and shows just how quickly things have moved in the last few weeks.”

McNamara, who had a distinguished career at Dunfermline, Celtic and Wolves and played for Scotland in the 1998 World Cup, joined the Jags initially on a loan deal from Falkirk in February 2010. He broke his leg in a match against Ayr United in Somerset Park but was back full time at Firhill for the start of the 2010/2011 season.

Prior to taking up the position of interim manager he had made a total of 19 appearances before announcing his retirement from the playing side.

Donnelly, who made his Scotland debut in the same match as McNamara in 1997, arrived at Firhill in the summer of 2006 when he was signed by then manager Dick Campbell.

The end of the current season saw him with 153 Thistle appearances to his name during which he had scored 19 times.