Partick Thistle up for Celtic visit

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PARTICK Thistle face Celtic in a friendly at home on Saturday - and the result will be a good test of how the pre-season training is going.

This will be the squad’s second friendly and they are keen to take full advantage of playing at Firhill and not repeat the mistake they made against English side Blyth Spartan two weeks ago.

Saturday’s game follows hot on the heels of the Stephen Craigan testimonial match at Motherwell on Wednesday - former Jag Craigan netting the only goal from the penalty spot.

New gaffer Jackie McNamara will face his former club knowing full well a couple of friendly wins under his belt will do wonders to boost team spirits in the run-up to the start of the season in three weeks time.

Thistle’s first league game is at home to Dundee in what will be a tough but crucial opener.

However McNamara will have a fully fit fresh team to pick from, something that dogged him in his last couple of games after taking over at the end of last season.

One of the players McNamara was pleases to welcome back is defender Paul Paton.

The 24-year-old underwent surgery on his ankle at the tail end of last season and has been out since March 19.

Expressing his delight at being fit to play again, Paton said: “It’s a big relief to be fit again. I’ve a few aches and pains but nothing too bad and it is just a great relief to be back.”

Paton paid tribute to the work of the physio for all his help adding, “Physio Kenny and sports scientist Steve have helped me a lot.”

Paul came up through the youth ranks at Queens Park and made it into their first team with his debut in a fixture against Elgin City in October 2005.

He quickly established himself in the Queens Park first team and at the end of his first season he was voted their Young Player of the Year.

The following season he was an integral part of the Queensside that won, via the play-offs, promotion from the Third Division.

He has had an excellent first season in Thistle colours and looks set to be an important player for Firhill for a number of seasons to come.