Jul 16 2012 By Fraser Wilson
Jackie McNamara, Simon Donnelly
PARTICK THISTLE boss Jackie McNamara handed teenage prodigy Caolan McAleer a two-year deal at the weekend - then immediately farmed him out to Arthurlie Juniors.
The Northern Irish winger, 18, arrived on a short-term deal from Linfield at the end of last season and made an immediate impression on the Jags boss with his natural ability on the ball.
The Glaswegian revealed last month that McAleer, who made one appearance for the Thistle first team in a 1-0 defeat at Morton in April, was to be offered a two year deal.
And he finally signed the contract at the weekend on the understanding he will spend the entire campaign playing in the top division of the west region juniors with Mark Cameron's Arthurlie.
McNamara said: "Caolan will be coming back on board. He did well when he arrived in the latter part of the season and is definitely one for the future.
"Getting him in on a two-year deal will allow us to work with him and improve him from an early age."
McAleer's potential has been recognised by his country and he is part of the Northern Ireland youth squad taking part in this month's Milk Cup where he will face Chile, Mexico and Denmark.
He will then revert to a season in the Juniors with Arthurlie. The Barrhead club are one of the top sides in the Premier Division of the Stagecoach Superleague and will vie with the likes of current champs Irvine Meadow, Pollok, Petershill, Clydebank and Auchinleck Talbot for the title.
McNamara said: "He’s got a chance, and has loads of potential. We’ll see how he develops, we’ll work with him for a year and we’ll see how he gets on in the Juniors for a season, that will certainly toughen him up."