Partick Thistle goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon reflects on whirlwind 12 months after scooping third successive ‘Player of the Month’ award

The Jags goalkeeper collected his latest accolade voted for by the fans and revealed he has been thrilled with his form between the sticks

Not many professional footballers will look back on the last 12 months with a feeling of unbridled joy but for Partick Thistle goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon it has been a year he will never forget.

While the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the UK, modest Sneddon has gone about his business in a quiet and determined manner.

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Since establishing himself as the Jags No.1 earlier in the season, the former Hearts youth has continued to grow in size and stature between the posts, earning himself an 18-month contract extension.

Sneddon has played a vital role in Thistle’s run of just one defeat in 14 games, a period which saw him named as the Firhill club’s all-time record holder for keeping EIGHT consecutive clean sheets.

It is a far cry to where he found himself 12 months ago - out of the starting line-up and his progress hampered by a serious knee injury as Thistle toiled in the third tier of Scottish football.

Unsure if the season would even conclude as the virus grew more prevalent, Sneddon has every right to now feel a sense of pride.

The 24-year-old knew he would have to be patient to make his first-team breakthrough after spending three years in League Two with Cowdenbeath.

He did just that and is now reaping the rewards, quite literally!

After extending his stay until the summer of 2023, Sneddon is motivated to try and build on his recent success.

“When you say it like that, it’s crazy when you look back on it,” said Sneddon, speaking after winning the fans’ vote to be named Thistle’s McCrea Financial Services Player of the Month award for a third month running.

“To think where I was a year ago today – it couldn’t have gone much better. I’m really thankful for the way it’s turned out.

“I don’t want to get too caught up in the awards because obviously it’s nice when they come along but I’m also just enjoying playing in a really good team and challenging at the right end of the league.

“Hopefully 2022 can be just as good, if not better. Obviously last year will take some topping but this one has started well.”

Asked where he is currently displaying the awards that he has accumulated of late, Sneddon replied: “They’re actually tucked in the cupboard just now because I’ve not got a massive flat!

“I’ll maybe need to think about where to start putting them if they keep coming.”

Sneddon joked his mum must have worked overtime to help him secure his latest accolade but he reckons knowing manager Ian McCall is serious about his status as Partick’s main shot-stopper is helping bring out the best in him.

Ian McCall led Partick Thistle to the League One title. Picture: SNS

He stated: “My mum maybe overcompensated this month and made about 100 fake accounts or something, I don’t know.

“It’s a fan-voted thing so it feels nice to be liked by the fans. It’s an honour. This month we had a lot less football to play than usual so maybe I didn’t have to earn it as much but it is nice to get.

“Obviously I’ve seen all the nice things the gaffer has been saying about me and that just breeds more confidence.

“He’s put his trust in me over the past few months and hopefully I’ve repaid that. He’s said I’m his number one and that he’s going to give me that extended run, which is exactly what you want as a keeper.

“One thing I have focused on is not looking too far into the future or dwelling on the past, it’s just taking each week as it comes, enjoying my football and growing in confidence week-on-week.

“It’s about keeping the focus levels high and making sure I continue playing well for as long as possible.

“The fact we’ve performed so consistently as a team has helped me as well. I feel very comfortable with the boys in front of me and likewise with them.

“There has been some big moments in the season already where we have picked up crucial points at important times, which helps the team’s mentality and myself individually.”

Sneddon was denied a stunning hat-trick of penalty saves last weekend as the Jags were held to a 2-2 draw against Hamilton Accies at New Douglas Park.

Partick Thistle's players celebrate a fine win.

With the scoreline at 1-0 in his side’s favour, he got a firm hand to Andy Ryan’s penalty but was devastated to see the pace on the ball prove just too much as it crept over his goal line.

“I was very frustrated,” Sneddon recalled with a wry smile. “I got a strong hand to it but he hit it with power. I guessed he was going to go down the middle, which is quite uncommon, so I tried to stand up to it for as long as I could.

“I kind of clawed it into the roof of the net. It would have been nice to keep that run going but I guess I’ll just need to save the next one.”

That epitomised the confidence Sneddon is currently oozing.

He insists working alongside vastly-experienced keepers, including Tomas Cerny, Cammy Bell and Scott Fox during his three-and-a-half years at Firhill has been “massively beneficial” in his development.

And Sneddon now hopes his presence as Thistle’s No.1 can rub off on the club’s future goalkeeping stars.

With Harry Stone recalled from his loan spell by Hearts, Sneddon is expected to compete with 18-year-old Mason McCready for the remainder of the campaign.

Asked whether he will try to take McCready under his wing, he admitted: “Mason has been at the club full-time for a while now and he’s improved massively.

“He’s looks better every day in training and is definitely heading in the right direction. I’ll try my best to give him a few tips and give him some advice on where he can improve.

“I’ve learned from a lot of very experienced Scottish goalkeepers that have played at a high level for a long time and have also worked with a couple of highly-rated youngsters too like Conor (Hazard) who have really pushed me.

“It’s been massive for my development in terms of coming into training every day and trying to be better than these guys.”

Sneddon has another opportunity to impress this evening when he starts in front of the BBC cameras during Thistle’s televised Championship clash with Kilmarnock.

DUMFRIES, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 08: Kilmarnock Manager Derek McInnes during a Cinch Championship match between Queen of the South and Kilmarnock at Palmerston Park on January 08, 2022, in Dumfries, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Following the club’s decision to appoint Derek McInnes as their new manager, expectation levels have increased at Rugby Park with many people tipping the former Aberdeen boss to steer the Ayrshire outfit to the Championship title.

Fifth-placed Thistle, who remain just six-points adrift of part-time leaders Arbroath with a game in hand, have their own promotion aspirations and Sneddon reckons three points tonight would shake the title race up.

He said: “It’s good to play on TV as it gives you that wider audience who perhaps don’t see you week in week out. It’s nice to play under the lights on a Friday night as well.

“We know there is a lot of focus on them at the moment and that’s fine. We don’t look at that stuff. We will concentrate on ourselves. It’s what we have done all season and it’s worked well for us this season.

“If we focus on ourselves then we are confident we can beat anyone in this league. We need to carry that mindset into the match with Kilmarnock.”

*Partick Thistle’s Player of the Month Awards for season 2021/22 are proudly sponsored by McCrea Financial Services - visit www.mccreafs.co.uk to find out more.