Partick Thistle should have been a club who used relegation to galvanise and bounce straight back up. What actually happened in 2018/19 was quite the opposite.
After deciding not to change manager post-relegation the Partick squad and management team were caught out badly by the challenge of the Championship and they had a disaster of an early season. This awful start set the tone for the whole campaign and they never really recovered. Sacking Archibald was inevitable but it happened months too late for most fans and it left Gary Caldwell with a tough, but exciting challenge in restoring Thistle to the type of club they should be. The potential is there at Firhill so Caldwell will love the challenge ahead after having a few months of bedding in last season.
With rumours and counter-rumours over the summer, the financial and board level future of Partick Thistle is still up in the air. I have tried to keep on top of things but I don’t really know what the current picture looks like. There have been numerous statements and numerous changes but as far as I can see there is nothing concrete as of yet.
Transfers In – Lewis Mansell (Blackburn Rovers, loan made permanent), Kenny Miller (Dundee), Tommy Robson (Falkirk), Ryan Williamson (Dunfermline), Raffaele De Vita (Livingston, loan), Cammy Palmer (Rangers, loan), Mitch Austin (Sydney FC), Scott Fox (Ross County), Shea Gordon (Motherwell), Alex Jones (Bradford),
Transfers Out – Christie Elliott (Carlisle United), Aaron Lennox (Montrose), Andy McCarthy (Queen of the South), Scott McDonald (Western United), Ally Roy (Airdrieonians), Blair Spittal (Ross County), Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone, end of loan), Conor Hazard (Celtic, end of loan), Jack McMillan (Livingston, end of loan), Aidan Fitzpatrick (Norwich City), Cammy Bell (Falkirk), Souleymane Coulibaly (Etoile Sportive du Sahel), Kris Doolan (Ayr United), Niall Keown, Miles Storey
Transfer Window Success? – Partick have recruited well this summer and the squad looks stronger than it did last season. I have been impressed with their moves to improve both fullback positions but they maybe still lack a little upfront. After taking a chance on Scott McDonald last year they now look towards Kenny Miller to fill the role of experienced goalscorer. His form will have a huge bearing on their season.
As with any squad going through a transition there is still room for two or three new faces but if everyone is fit then Partick have assembled a strong enough 11 to challenge at the top end of the table this season.
The Manager – Gary Caldwell replaced Alan Archibald just a few months into the 2018/19 season so, by my rule of thumb in giving managers a full pre-season he gets a pass at the moment.
Caldwell did steady things after a poor start and he has tried hard this summer to engage with fans and talk to them about his philosophy and plans moving forward.
With some boardroom challenges and changes still to come it might not be Caldwell who is the biggest worry for Partick fans and the supporters will be hoping that the manager can take the team forward on the park without the distraction of what might be going on upstairs.
The Hope – After a disaster of a season (that did end in slightly more positive circumstances), the fans will hope that Thistle can once again challenge at the right end of the table. They have the resources and they have the nucleus of a good enough squad so it is not out with their reach to be aiming for a playoff spot at the very least. It might be that they fall slightly short of United, Dundee and Inverness but they will fancy their chances it getting in amongst the bookies top three.
Look Out For – It is a very lazy point to make but it will be genuinely interesting to see what kind of player Partick are getting in Kenny Miller. His form will be crucial, especially early in the campaign. If he gets amongst the goals early then he could go on to have a great season but he will undoubtedly be a target for defenders who will want to prove that he is past his best.
One signing that maybe didn’t get everyone particularly excited but I think will be very important is the return of goalkeeper Scott Fox. I think Partick have missed a consistent performer in the goal so he could make a real difference this season.
Transfer and club information correct as of 30th July 2019