Partick Thistle have confirmed that goalkeeper Harry Stone has returned to Hearts after his loan spell was cut short due to a lack of game-time.
The 19-year-old joined the Firhill men in the summer on a season-long loan but found himself playing second fiddle due to the impressive form of shot-stopper Jamie Sneddon.
The Jags No.1 set a new club record for consecutive clean sheets this season and committed his future to the club by signing an 18-month contract extension last week, as has defender Tunji Akinola.
That has limited Stone to just four appearances between the sticks and the former Albion Rovers loanee will now head back to Tynecastle.
Thistle manager Ian McCall said: “Harry is an excellent young goalkeeper who has found himself on the bench for the majority of this season because of Jamie Sneddon’s incredible form.
“He’s at a stage where he wants to be playing games, understandably, but with Jamie playing the way he is just now, that’s not been happening here so he’s going back to Hearts to then go somewhere else where he can play.
“He showed his qualities in that 3-0 win we had at Dunfermline earlier this season with the way he commanded the box and the saves he made so he’s definitely got the attributes to make it at the top level and we wish him all the best in trying to do so.”
McCall is unlikely to add another keeper to his squad in January after it was announced Thistle Weir Youth Academy graduate Mason McCready has been recalled from his loan at Gala Fairydean Rovers in the Lowland League.
Meanwhile, the Jags boss has branded offers received for in-demand striker Zak Rudden as “daft” and told clubs to “get serious” if they want to land his star man.
The ex-Rangers youngster is out of contract in the summer and free to discuss a pre-contract move this month, with Premiership sides Motherwell and St Johnstone reportedly in the running to secure his signature.
Saints manager Callum Davidson, who was in attendance as Rudden scored during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Hamilton Accies, have had bids turned down by Thistle.
Motherwell are currently weighing up a potential offer, with three other English clubs are also keeping tabs on Rudden’s situation.
However, McCall confirmed the club are not willing to let him leave for a small fee.
He told Football Scotland: “The offers so far have been daft. If clubs are genuinely interested then they need to get serious.”
Rudden joined Thistle from the Gers in January 2020 following a successful loan stint at English League One side Plymouth Argyle.
The Scotland under-21 international has registered 10 goals in all competitions so far this term and the 21-year-old hasn’t closed the door on extending his stay at Firhill beyond the end of the season, with two extension offers already tabled.