Ian McCall admits penny has dropped for Scotland striker Kevin Nisbet after questioning his attitude during Ayr United loan spell

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The Jags face Queen of the South in SPFL Trust Trophy on Friday night - a competition the Jags boss had fond memories of

Ian McCall has been fortunate to play a small part in the progression of Scotland internationalists Lawrence Shankland and Kevin Nisbet in previous years.

However, the Partick Thistle boss admits he questioned the latter’s’ attitude when he brought Nisbet to Ayr United on loan as a teenager.

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The striker, who netted Hibs goal against Rangers during last Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Ibrox, has now cemented his place in Steve Clarke’s squad and could feature against Israel in Saturday’s World Cup Qualifier at Hampden.

A disappointing return of two goals in 20 games saw him leave for Dumbarton before a move to Raith Rovers ignited his career which continues to go from strength to strength.

McCall said: “I don’t personally take any pride, although I’m sure people at the club do.

“I took him to Ayr and I remember he missed an unbelievable chance in the last minute of a game against Raith – the miss of the century.

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“I questioned his attitude at the time, but he went back and since then he’s done great.

“It was pretty clear he had a lot of attributes though, a bit like Shankland in that respect. He could finish off both sides, was good in the air and he move around the pitch well.

“I just love that kind of story, the boys who have gone down that route and come back, it’s great.

“He’s kicked on. It’s like a lot of players that I’ve had over the years, sometimes it just takes something for the penny to drop.

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“Sometimes players need to be surrounded by the right type of people. For example, we had Dario Zanatta here, who is now at Raith and that move had worked out well because he’s on fire just now.

“Nothing against part-time teams or clubs in League One or League Two, but I think some players think ‘if I don’t do it now then that’s where I’ll end up and I won’t make a decent living’ so sometimes the penny just drops.”

McCall has tipped Partick Thistle striker Zak Rudden to emulate those players in years to come given the glimpses of magic he has become accustomed to seeing in training.

He admitted: “I think he’s definitely got attributes to play at a higher level. He needs to really immerse himself in football but in terms of what you see in training at times it is frightening.

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“His goal scoring record for us since he’s got himself fully fit is really, really good.”

The Jags make the trip south to Dumfries on Friday night as they take on fellow Championship side Queen of the South in the SPFL Trust Trophy.

It is a competition McCall has struggled to get excited about in recent years but one that he holds special memories off during his playing career.

McCall was a key figure in Jim Jefferies Falkirk side as they beat St Mirren 3-0 at Fir Park in the 1993 Challenge Cup Final.

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He stated: “I think once you get to the Quarters or the Semis, it starts to liven up, but I don’t think the changes have enhanced it.

“We’ll obviously need to make one or two changes as Jake Hastie is cup-tied and Lewis Mayo is away with the Scotland under-21s, but it’s a game we want to win.

“People will start to take the competition seriously if we can get through and we know if we are lucky enough to get to the final, there would be an awful lot of Thistle fans there.

“I remember (during the 1993 Final) Jim nearly knocked me and Richard Cadette out at half-time. It was the first time I’d ever seen Yogi quiet in the dressing room because he couldn’t believe what was going on!

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“We were terrible in the first half. It was a really snowy day and we just couldn’t get going.

“Jim and Billy (Brown) had a hell of a temper on them, and I’m pretty sure Richard said something back to them and all hell broke loose.

“Whether that type of thing would work today, I don’t know but it certainly worked that day because we played a lot better in the second half.

“It’s interesting looking back because we had the ex-captain of Chelsea (Joe McLaughlin) in our team, the future captain of Rangers (David Weir) and the future captain of Hibs (John Hughes) all in the defence, so there were a lot of good players in that team.

“I don’t think I could claim to being the greatest professional while I was there, but I got on great with Jim and Billy.”

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