As part of our unique three-part sponsorship of Saturday’s fourth round Scottish Cup tie against Dunfermline Athletic, the Club kindly agreed to host a pre-match “press conference” for TJF members yesterday afternoon.

Ian McCall was joined by Stuart Bannigan and Jack McMillan, and gave those in attendance a real insight into where things are both on the park and behind the scenes during the January transfer window.

Ian admitted away results needed to improve

Improving results on the road

The gaffer acknowledged that the side’s away record has been challenging, and wants to transfer some of the more recent home results into better returns on the road. The next few away games could drastically improve that position.

He emphasised that he was particularly keen to hold onto Lee Hodson, for his versatility. We hope that TJF’s recent financial support gives him the flexibility he needs to push Thistle up the table in the second half of this season.

Green shoots on the Firhill pitch

Reflecting on the Firhill surface, the manager stressed that the situation this season was significantly improved on last, when we had been ground-sharing with Queen’s Park.

Jack McMillan echoed this, emphasising that, as a player, the recovery times after playing on synthetic surfaces was often longer than after games on grass.

A thriving partnership

Jack also reflected on his more permanent move to right back, indicating that it is now his preferred position. He has also greatly enjoyed playing alongside Stevie Lawless again, having first linked-up with him at Livingston.

TJF members join Ian, Stuart and Jack in the Firhill dugout!

Banzo’s Bookings

Banzo gave us a bit of a perspective on why he keeps picking up all those yellow cards. It seems that some referees are more tolerant of his backchat than others!

Boot camp?

By the sounds of it, Ian McCall won’t be in any hurry to send the players back to SAS bootcamp. Stuart reflected that Gary Caldwell’s “initiative” wasn’t exactly his own favourite away day, though we suspect a cold night at Cappielow isn’t much better!

Acknowledgments and future events

We’d like to thank the Club for this special opportunity for our members. Special thanks go to Ian, Banzo and Jack for making time available to the fans, and to Brian Welsh for facilitating the event.

TJF is keen to work with the Club on similar events in the future, to build the Thistle community and give supporters a real stake in the future.

We appreciate that yesterday’s event was held at a time that won’t have suited everyone. It is our intention to host similar events in evening slots, so that more members can attend.

A call to arms!

Now, the focus must turn to Saturday’s game, and getting into the next round of the Scottish Cup. If you haven’t bought a ticket yet, make sure you do so on the Club website.