Partick Thistle manager Ian McCall discusses Ayr United affection, Jim Duffy appointment and memorable post-match exchange of pleasantries

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The Jags are without a victory in their last three games ahead of today’s Scottish Championship clash

Partick Thistle manager Ian McCall will always reserve a special place in his heart for Ayr United but knows he must park sentiment ahead of today’s crucial Scottish Championship clash.

The month of September was not kind to the Jags as they conceded eight goals during a run of three straight defeats.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In contrast, the Honest men arrive at Firhill unbeaten in their last three matches after thrashing Dunfermline, Hamilton and securing a goalless draw with Morton last weekend.

Thistle’s worrying slump in form has not concerned McCall who is targeting a return to winning ways against his former club.

He said: “We can still rectify the first quarter into a really positive one and we’ve not been far away, in all honesty.

“I watched them last Saturday and a draw was a fair result, despite Ayr probably edging the overall play.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s obviously a club I’ve got huge affection for. Whether I helped them progress is up for debate, but I know they helped me during a difficult time in my life, so I’ll never forget that.

“If I’m fortunate enough to still be at Thistle in another three or four years and the powers that be grant me a testimonial, there’s only one club that I would have it against and that’s Ayr United.

“I know Andy (Murdoch) and Aaron (Muirhead) well having manged them previously, but the squad has changed completely since I was there.

“It’s a relatively new team, with a new structure in place behind the scenes as well. Their new chairman seems to be doing really well and Jim (Duffy) is starting to get things right on the pitch, so it all adds up to an exciting game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“From our point of view, we need to put the last couple of results behind us. Every game brings its own challenges to negotiate, and Saturday will be no different.”

Ayr announced on Friday afternoon that Duffy, who had been holding the forte on an interim basis following the departure of David Hopkin, has been appointed as the club’s new boss until the end of the season.

McCall was delighted to hear his opposite number had been given the job, admitting: “Jim (Duffy) is a good pal of mine and he’s turned their form around recently.

“He certainly had the upper hand over me in Dundee derbies that’s for sure!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s great to see him back in management because he’s just a really good football guy. I’ve not spoken to him for a wee while.

“When he had his health problems, I dropped him a text and spoke to him then. He’s a non-smoker and lives his life really well, so it came as a bit of a shock to him.

“I think at the time he probably didn’t want to return to management but maybe getting a little chance like this has got his desire back to do so.”

McCall believes the days when managers would exchange pleasantries over a cup of tea or a beverage after games is sadly dying out but he recalled one memorable moment after a 2-1 CIS Insurance Cup quarter-final defeat to Rangers in September 2008.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “My old Partick Thistle team played Rangers in a League Cup game and Kris Boyd scored an unbelievable goal, a volley to open the scoring.

“Stephen McKeown equalised then David Rowson found himself one-on-one with the goalie with a few minutes to go and didn’t quite finish it.

“Rangers went up the park and Pedro Mendes scored an absolute peach and they beat us 2-1.

“I always remember sitting in the office after the game absolutely gutted with my coaching staff, Walter (Smith), Kenny (MacDowall), Ian (Durrant) and Ally (McCoist).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Coisty had played in a benefit game the week before just after his 45th birthday and he scored a hat-trick.

“Walter could tell I was gutted then McCoist pipes up and shouts ‘Cally.” I said, ‘what is it?’ then he said, ‘do you think there is a better over 45 footballer in the world than me right now?’. That lightened the mood a wee bit and is just one of a million stories I could tell.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.