Lewis Mayo discusses Partick Thistle return, gaining international recognition and Rangers loan progress update

The defender has been called up to Scotland Under-21 squad for their upcoming fixture against Denmark

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Lewis Mayo is delighted to be back at Partick Thistle for a second loan spell after his first Firhill stint was cut short due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The defender re-joined the Jags in July for the 2021/22 campaign and is relishing the extra responsibility placed on his shoulders by manager Ian McCall, who admitted the Rangers youngster was his “number one target” to bolster his defensive ranks this summer.

Mayo believes the entire outlook of the cub has transformed significantly since he first arrived in Maryhill with Thistle now eager to challenge at the top end of the Scottish Championship table.

The 21-year-old will line up against Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park this afternoon – a side he knows much about after his spell with Fife rivals Dunfermline last season.

He said: “When I came here during my first loan spell, the club were in a relegation fight and circumstances meant we were unfortunate not to get the chance to see out the season, because we felt as though we were starting to gain a bit of momentum.

“I played a few games before Covid hit but I’m enjoying the opportunity to come back and play here again. The environment this time round is much more positive.

“I’m learning a lot from playing alongside guys like Kevin Holt and Richard Foster and the responsibility that has been placed on me by the manager.

“Even in training, you can see that we’ve got a lot of quality in our team.

“We obviously had a good start to the campaign, our past couple of results have been disappointing, but we know that on our day we can beat anyone if we turn up. That has got to be our focus going into every game.

“The great thing about football is that you always get another chance to put things right.

“I think in both the Inverness and Kilmarnock games, we came flying out of the traps, starting at a high tempo and we looked dangerous.

“However, we lost that intensity in the second half and that’s when we started to open up and concede chances. We need to be more clinical in both boxes.

“Raith play quite and open and expansive style of football, so it’s going to be a tough test for us but one that we’re looking forward to.”

Mayo received a call-up to the Scotland Under-21 squad on Wednesday for their upcoming fixture against Denmark next month.

The centre-back was recently involved with Scott Gemmill’s side in a 1-1 draw with Turkey, admitting the international experience he has gained has been a great learning experience.

He admitted: “If you perform well at international level, the one thing you always take from it is confidence and that can translate to your club form.

“Getting selected is recognition for what you’re doing at your club, so playing competitive football rather than in the reserves is definitely a better platform for stepping up to play for the 21s squad.

“Playing in the Championship is very demanding physically. It is very intense, you’re involved in a lot of duals.

“International football can be a bit slower, games are often dictated by shapes and the certain team formations, so you’ve got to be patient and mentally focused.”

Mayo remains in regular constant dialogue with Rangers’ loan manager Billy Kirkwood regarding his progress for both club and country.

He added: “Billy will try and watch some of my games when he can and if he’s not there in person then he’ll watch them back midweek and give you feedback on what you’re doing well, what’s expected of you and areas you can work on.”