Oct 12 2012 By Fraser Wilson
Jackie McNamara, Simon Donnelly
SIMON DONNELLY insists helping guide Partick Thistle to a first-ever Challenge Cup Final would match any of his final appearances as a Celtic player.
The Jags travel to Cowdenbeath on Sunday hoping to make history by booking their place in the final of the Ramsdens-sponsored tournament for the first time.
Firhill assistant manager Donnelly won all three major honours on offer in the Sottish game - including the Scottish Cup in 1995 and League Cup in 1997 - during a six year career with Celtic.
But he reckons helping the Jags overcome their Ramsdens Cup curse as an assistant to his long-term pal Jackie McNamara would be just as satisfying.
The competition may be regarded by some as small fry compared to the Scottish Cup and League Cup. But not Donnelly.
Asked how reaching the Ramsdens Cup Final would compare with his many Hampden appearances, Donnelly said: "I think it would be up there with the best of them.
"Jackie and I have just started out in the management side of things and we are relatively new to everything.
"It's surprising the club hasn't made it to the final before but that just goes to show how strong a competition it is.
"So for this, our second season at the club, to reach a first final in 40 years would be a great achievement.
"Of course we haven't achieved that yet but if we did we would be determined to go on and win the cup.
"I think it would be up there with any achievement we have managed in our playing careers."
The Firhill management duo have had to pick their players up from a first league defeat of the season last Saturday.
The 3-1 reverse at Morton toppled the Jags from the summit of the first division after a storming start saw them win all six of their opening matches.
Donnelly insists the mood is good in the camp head of the trip to Central Park which he reckons is the best time to get back to winning ways.
He said: "We have done well to get to the semi final but the old cliche is nobody remembers the teams beaten in the semi.
"The players are disappointed with the way thing panned out last week but we made it known to them that it has taken to that stage of the season for our first defeat so we have to bounce back from that and take the positives out of the run we were on.
"I think the fact it is a semi final and everything that comes with that I think it's an ideal situation to get back on the rails. We know it's not an easy place to go, the pitch is tight and the boys will have to be up for the battle.
"It's another tough game. We had the best of the play against them the other week but Cowdenbeath came back and made it difficult for us.
"With them being at home they'll see it as a wee bit of an advantage. They will fancy themselves and it's a tough challenge for us. But we will be right up for it.
Thistle have doubts over Alan Archibald ahead of the match but otherwise should be at full strength.