Jul 11 2012 By Gordon Parks
New signing Steven Lawless opened his Thistle account in the friendly win over Alloa
IT'S all systems go at Firhill as the Jags gear up for the new season.
After a rigorous training week with the Scots Guards down in Catterick, Jackie McNamara’s side kicked off pre-season action last night with a 2-1 friendly win over Alloa at Recreation Park.
New signing Steven Lawless and Aaron Sinclair hit the goals in the win over Paul Hartley's third division champions and Thistle now turn their attention to Monday night's friendly at Ayr United.
With new signings Lawless, Hugh Murray, Sean Welsh and Aaron Muirhead all starting last night's match, McNamara’s confident his squad is in great shape for whatever lies ahead this season.
The Jags bring their preparation to a glamorous close by hosting a first-ever pre-season tournament at Firhill over the July 21- 22 weekend.
Davie Moyes is bringing an Everton XI up from Merseyside for the ARR Craib Cup weekend, that will also feature a Celtic XI and Airdrie United.
McNamara said: “It’s a real mix of teams – from the Second Division, the SPL champions to Premiership opposition – so it’s going to be a real challenge for us.
“We have a couple of games ahead of it but it’s the tournament all the players are desperate to play in.
“We think it will ask real questions of them but we’re confident the boys won’t let us down.
“They’re in great shape right now.
“It’ll also be our first action at Firhill and the lads can’t wait to get back on our own pitch.
“It’s looking great so hopefully we can go out there and play our brand of football.”
Jags defender Stephen O’Donnell admits his relief at signing a new deal last season will allow him to hit the ground running.
The 20-year-old has been going through his paces at the Jags’ pre-season base in the north of England.
And he said: “Last year I didn’t have a contract during the summer and only signed for Thistle after the start of the season.
“It’s been great knowing I have a contract this time but I couldn’t take anything for granted.
“I could find myself back in the same position next year. In football, you don’t have security unless you are on a long-term big-money contract.
“I wasn’t consistent enough in the games I played last season and that’s something I need to work on.
“I know where I am going to be next season and hopefully I can push on and do well for Thistle.”
● For ticket information keep an eye on the Jags website ptfc.co.uk.