May 16 2012 By Fraser Wilson
Aaron Muirhead Image 1
PARTICK THISTLE newboy Aaron Muirhead hopes he can follow in the Firhill footsteps of his uncle David after becoming Jackie McNamara's latest summer signing.
The 21-year-old defender is nephew of former Jag David Irons and put pen to paper on a two-year deal on Tuesday.
Thistle won the race to sign the full back from Annan Athletic, where he has spent the past four years, with Dundee and Queen of the South also interested.
Irons, now managing Stenhousemuir, had also sounded his nephew out about a summer move to Ochilview. But he couldn't stand in the way of a move to full time football with Thistle.
Muirhead is too young to remember his uncle in his Thistle pomp during the early 90s when he helped the club win promotion to the old Premier League.
But he said: "I know my uncle had a successful time with Partick and, given time, I hope I can taste success here too.
"I spoke to him a lot about Partick's interest in me and he was very positive about the move.
"He has always been there for me in my career. I take his advice on board and, while there was actually a chance for me to move to Stenny, he understands that I was always going to choose full time football.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for me after four brilliant years with Annan. It seems like a good club and I was really impressed with what Jackie McNamara and Simon Donnelly had to say.
"I have always looked up to them as players. They have been at the very top of the game with Scotland and Celtic and there's no better people to be learning from in my opinion."
Muirhead is well aware of Thistle's reputation for nurturing young players with Paul Cairney, Paul Paton and Aaron Sinclair just a few examples in the past couple of seasons.
But the level-headed defender is prepared to bide his time when the new season gets underway.
"There's so much competition for places that I will be lucky enough just to get a chance in the team," he said.
"But I am prepared to knuckle down and work hard for that opportunity. Aaron Sinclair has done really well to step up from Montrose but he had the stepping stone of a couple of months training with St Johnstone.
"I haven't had that. I will be patient and hope to grab my chance when it comes.
"I gave up the offer of a good job to go full time with Partick and I hope to make the most of this opportunity."
Muirhead, who made 127 first team appearances with Annan and scored 15 goals, paid tribute to the Galabank club and their manager Harry Cairney.
He said: "Harry took a chance on me when I was just 17. He signed me from the Ayr United youths and put me straight into the first team at Annan and he has been a huge influence on me."