JACKIE McNAMARA is confident a scientific approach to pre-season will get his Partick Thistle squad in shape for the new season.
The Jags gaffer has spent two weeks putting his players through their paces, with a trip to Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire last week giving them the ideal preparation for their first friendly against Irn-Bru Third Division champions Alloa tomorrow night. While some managers opt for an old fashioned pre-season schedule, McNamara is keen to keep things up-to-date and utilise the Jags' sports science staff.
It is an approach the Thistle boss benefitted from during his illustrious playing career on both sides of the border.
He said: "We don't do a lot of running, we do a lot of work with the ball and it is the same during the season.
"You are working harder when you are doing football specific drills. I always preferred that approach when I was a player.
"I had a few managers who had us up and down hills and running up sand dunes. I want to do the things that I liked and that worked for me.
"As I got older, I dealt with sports scientists at big clubs. I don't see the point in running up hills until you are sick.
"We are trying to get them fit to play football matches, not to compete in triathlons.
"When I was at Celtic, the sports scientists kind of took over and the manager just watched on and it was the same at Wolves.
"When I came back up the road, it was a bit different at Aberdeen but Yogi was very much into it at Falkirk."
While much of McNamara's pre-season work will remain similar as he prepares for his second season in charge, there will be one main difference for the Jags this time out.
On their return from Catterick twelve months ago, McNamara saw his side slump to a 2-0 friendly defeat to Blyth Spartan and the Firhill boss admits he is keen to avoid returning to match action too early this summer.
He said: "We took the game against Blyth last year but I wouldn't do that again.
"This time, I would rather we had a bit more training time.
"The boys had a hard week running last year and then went straight into the game. Even though it was a friendly, the fans came down to watch us and wanted to see us up and running right away.
"We only had five days training and then went into the game and it was too soon. We will wait before we start playing games.
"Being away for the week helps build a team spirit and togetherness and that is something we are keen to work on.
"That is what football is about, a good team ethic and helping each other. Towards the end of the season, I thought we looked like a team, whereas at the start we played more as a group of individuals."