JACKIE McNAMARA has challenged Tommy Stewart to fire his way into the Northern Ireland squad after signing the striker on a new one-year deal at Partick Thistle.
The former Wolves, Derry City and Shamrock Rovers frontman became Jags boss McNamara's second signing of the summer today when he agreed terms hot on the heels of St Johnstone full back Jonny Lindsay.
Stewart arrived at Thistle as a free agent in April following the conclusion of the Irish League season and made his mark with two goals from three starts.
Now McNamara has urged the 25-year-old - who has 19 Northern Ireland under 21 caps to his name - to use the next year at Firhill to force his way into Nigel Worthington's international set-up.
He told the club's official website: "As I have said many times, I knew Tommy from his time at Wolves and, as I think he proved in the closing stages of last season, feel that he is capable of scoring goals at our level.
"One of the reasons he came over to Scotland was to try and force his way into the international set up with Northern Ireland.
"Hopefully by being successful with Thistle he can do just that."
McNamara completed the signing of 19-year-old full back Jonny Lindsay from St Johnstone last week and is close to agreeing terms with midfielders David Rowson and Iain Flannigan as his first team squad takes shape ahead of the new season.
Season tickets weren’t due to go on sale until June 1 but demand has been so strong that application forms have already started to come in and are being processed.
The Jags have also confirmed a pre-season game against Blue Square Premiership club Fleetwood.
The side that finished fifth last term before losing in a play-off to AFC Wimbledon, will be in Scotland for a week-long training camp and have arranged a game with Thistle.
It will take place on Saturday, July 9 but will not be played at Firhill.
Thistle's first pre-season clash will be away to Blyth Spartans on July 2.