Partick Thistle manager Ian McCall wary of reunion with close pal and new Dunfermline boss John ‘Yogi’ Hughes ahead of Scottish Cup tie

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The two Championship clubs will battle it out at Firhill for a place in the Scottish Cup fourth round

Partick Thistle manager Ian McCall is looking forward to a long overdue reunion with close pal and Dunfermline boss John Hughes.

Following a run of 13 Championship games without a victory, McCall has not been surprised by the Pars resurgence under Yogi in recent weeks.

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The Fife club appointed Hughes as their new boss, stepping in to replace Peter Grant and two wins on the bounce has ensured they will arrival at Firhill tonight in buoyant mood after moving off the foot of the table.

McCall, a former team-mate of Hughes during their playing days together at Falkirk in the early 1990s, said: “I thought they had too many good players to be in the doldrums for too long.

“They have a five out of ten manager now so they might be a bit better! 

Asked whether Hughes is the type of manager who can get a reaction from his players and give them a confidence booster, McCall replied: “I would agree with that totally - as long as he doesn’t put his posh voice on that he uses in the media because it’s just embarrassing.

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“Yogi is a very good friend of mine – in fact, I’m godfather to his daughter.

“People seem to think that he’s got a mixed record but I would say that what he did at Inverness – to win the Scottish Cup and finish third – is as good as anything anyone has done in Scottish football.

“He knows what he’s doing and he’s infectious. I’ve played with him and I’ve managed him, which was an experience. He kept trying to pass the ball out – Billy Brown and Jim Jeffries used to shout at him at half-time to tell him just to be the bear; just head the ball and kick it!

“That’s all he was good at. He went to Celtic and thought he was a football player!

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“I’m looking forward to seeing him. We’ve been on the phone a couple of times but I rarely see him, you can’t get him out of Leith to be honest!

“Whether it’s too late for them to make the play-offs I don’t know but they’ll certainly have a run at it with him in charge.”

While the league remains their bread and butter, McCall admits it would be a financial boost to the club if they can start of on a Scottish Cup run this evening.

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He stated: “Their two wins in a row have jumped them up from bottom into sixth so they’ve got some good players. It was going to be a hard game anyway.

“They came here with Peter in the league and drew 0-0, we beat them 3-0 at East End Park. They’re one of the big clubs in the league.

“I would suggest that – and you know me, I’m not that interested in budgets – but I reckon they’re second or third in the division in that regard.

“I say it every week but it doesn’t matter who you play. We played Hamilton who are in the bottom five and it was a really, really hard game.

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“The first half could have went either way. I think we deserved to win in the end but it was only 1-0. I think you’ll find as the season goes on that games will be really tight and wins will be at an absolute premium. I don’t think Friday night will be any different.

“The league is the priority for everybody I would say.  I think that’s how you’re judged as a team but if we could get a cup run and by a cup run I mean go two or three rounds it would be fabulous, financially as well for us after the season before was very, very tough for the club financially so of course we’re the same as everybody else.”

McCall, who has been monitoring the fitness of two unnamed defenders this week, confirmed the tie “will come too soon” for defensive midfielder Steven Bell, who is back in full training after injury.

Thistle set a new club record of six consecutive clean sheets last weekend and McCall is eager to extend that impressive run as they bid to clinch a place in the next round.

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“Yeah, that would be nice,” McCall confessed. “The boys have done really well in our last seven games we have lost one goal in the 90th minute but we haven’t really given up many chances.

“It will end at some point but let’s hope it goes on for another few games though.”

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