Partick Thistle unveil trio of new signings as Anton Dowds, Harry Milne and Aaron Muirhead check in at Firhill
Jags boss Ian McCall has started to build his squad ahead of the 2022/23 season
and live on Freeview channel 276
Partick Thistle have announced a trio of pre-contract signings with Anton Dowds, Harry Milne and Aaron Muirhead checking in at Firhill.
The Jags, who missed out on promotion from the Scottish Championship after losing the play-off semi-final against Inverness 3-1 on aggregate at the end of last season, are stepping up preparations for a second successive season in Scottish football’s second tier.
Manager Ian McCall has wasted little time in re-shaping his squad ahead of the 2022/23 campaign and his latest hat-trick of additions will join up with the club upon the expiry of their contracts elsewhere.
Striker Dowds, who has signed a two-year-deal until the summer of 2024, earned a step up to professional football after scoring 50 goals in all competition for Heriot-Watt University in 2018.
The 25-year-old, who has a degree in International Business and Business Law, moved to East Fife before joining Falkirk.
Dowds spent time on loan with Arbroath during the first half of this season, scoring five goals and playing a vital role as the Red Litchies rose to the Championship summit.
He was recalled in January and netted eight goals for the Bairns in League One.
Left-back Milne, a former Aberdeen youth player, has also penned a two-year-deal and will join from newly-promoted Cove Rangers where he has been playing since 2015.
The 25-year-old has been a central figure in the Aberdeenshire club’s impressive rise from the Highland League to winning the SPFL League One title last term.
He leaves Balmoral Stadium having scored six times in 37 appearances for Paul Hartley’s side, keeping 15 clean sheets throughout the season.
Milne scooped two ‘Player of the Year’ prizes at the club’s end-of-season awards night last month and was also nominated for PFA Scotland’s cinch League One Player of the Year award.
Versatile defender Muirhead, who has signed a one-year contract, returns to Thistle for a second spell having previously spent two-and-a-half years in Maryhill between 2012 and 2014.
The 31-year-old was part of the club’s 2012/13 First Division title winning squad, before spending four years with Falkirk where he served as club captain.
McCall then brought him to Ayr United in January 2019 and Muirhead would go on to make 104 appearances for the Honest Men.
Meanwhile, Zander MacKenzie has become the latest Thistle Weir Youth Academy player to make the step up and sign with the club as a modern apprentice.
The 16-year-old midfielder has penned a two-year contract, following in the footsteps of fellow Academy graduate Ben Stanway who did likewise back in January.
MacKenzie, who joined the academy at under-12s level in 2017, spent time on loan at West of Scotland outfit Petershill during the second half of the last season.
He helped the club secure the Conference C title on the final day of the campaign and Jags boss McCall has got high hopes for the youngster
He said: “I’m pleased to have Zander signing his modern apprenticeship with the club. He’s a very talented young player who we believe has real potential.
“He’s had the opportunity to train with the first team this season and he’s played in a couple of friendlies too so hopefully that’s given him a taste of what could be ahead of him and only makes him hungrier to improve and grow as a player.
“As I always say to the young guys who come up from the Academy, you can’t stop now. At this point you’ve got to work even harder and push yourself even further to go and take your game to the next level so it’s now up to him to do that.”
The Jags were drawn in Group B of the Premier Sports Cup on Thursday and will face Premiership-bound Kilmarnock, Montrose, Stenhousemuir and Highland League winners Fraserburgh.