Oct 15 2009 By Fraser Wilson
PADDY BOYLE has followed the media epic over old pal Andy Driver's international dilemma with interest - and pledged to get his own career back on track as a result.
The crocked Thistle full back has endured a frustrating start to life at Firhill and he is the first to admit he hasn't done himself justice so far.
Boyle learned his trade at Premiership giants Everton after starring in the same Scotland Schoolboys' side as Driver, who is facing a Scotland or England dilemma due to new international eligibility rules.
Also in that under 16 Charity Shield winning side was Scotland striker Steven Fletcher and current Jags team mate Bryan Hodge.
Boyle was tipped for the top after signing a professional deal at Everton and dreamed of pulling on the navy blue of Scotland for real one day.
But a succession of injuries curtailed his development and, after loan spells at Norwich City and Crewe, he returned north to Dumbarton 10 months ago.
Thistle boss Ian McCall has long been an admirer of the 22-year-old though and he snapped up his man on a two-year deal in the summer.
Things may have started slowly for Boyle at Firhill. But the left sided player is determined to rediscover the form which had him tipped as a future star when he lined up alongside Driver six years ago.
He conceded: "I have not done myself justice since I came to Thistle.
"It's been a frustrating time because I have been hampered with a niggling injury which they think is linked to my sciatic nerve but they can't be sure.
"I want to show the fans what I can do but I haven't really had the chance to yet.
"I came in on the left as a replacement for Marc Twaddle but he was the type of player who liked to bomb forward and run with the ball while I'm more of a defender.
"I'll play anywhere to get a game but my preferred position is left back and the wing back position probably didn't suit me.
"For now it's just a case of taking one step at a time and getting back in the team but that won't be easy with the way the side is playing just now."
Boyle admits to being a little envious of former team mates Driver and Danny Fox who are both being touted for Scotland call-ups.
"I played against Andy Driver when I was 13 and 14 and he was at Hearts and know him fairly well," said the amiable Glaswegian.
"He has been with Hearts a long time and when we played in that Scotland Schoolboy side you could tell he was special.
"We were obviously aware he was English - it was hard not to notice when he began to talk! But at the same time we thought he was Scottish because he was playing beside us.
"I certainly wouldn't have a problem if he chose to play for Scotland.
"I can see people's arguments that he has no Scottish blood but football is cut throat and you have to take advantage of the rules. You just have to look at how many good players we have lost out on in the past.
"I was out with Danny Fox the other night and we were talking about the situation.
"I came through the Everton youth set-up with Danny and he has done really well at Celtic.
"It brings it home to you how quickly things can change in football when you see guys like him suddenly on the verge of a cap.
"When I was 18 things were going exceptionally well for me at Everton and I was on the fringes of being in the first team.
"But then I injured my back and required an operation on my knee and that set me back for a long time.
"It took a while for me to get my strength back but I don't see now why I can't get my career back on track.
"I'm certainly at the right place to do that.
"Thistle are a huge club and I was delighted when Ian McCall asked me to sign. It was all done and signed within a couple of hours of the gaffer asking me.
"My immediate aim is to get fit and get back into the Thistle first team so I can prove to the fans that I am a good player.
"The club has ambitions to get into the SPL and we are certainly capable of doing that. But, for now, I just want to get back in the team."