JAMES MARTIN today admitted Tony Watt convinced him to swap Partick Thistle for life in the Belgian Third Division after clinching a loan deal to the continent last month.
The Partick Thistle youngster has penned a deal with KV Turnhout that will see him spend the second half of the season at the Stadsparkstadion as he joins Hoops loan star Watt in trying to shine in Europe this term.
Martin left Hamilton Accies by mutual consent last summer, and was snapped up by Jags Under-20 boss Scott McKenzie as he built a Firhill second string after Thistle won promotion to the Premiership.
Watt has enjoyed a productive campaign so far on the books of top-flight side Lierse SK and Martin is determined to follow in his friend's footsteps after making the switch late in the transfer window.
He said: "I have settled in fine and I am enjoying it. Obviously staying with friends makes it a bit easier.
"All the people at the club have made me feel really welcome and it is a nice place so I am getting on fine.
"I have kept in touch with Tony since he moved and he told me about the standard of the football here and the way of life and he reckoned it could suit me.
"It would have been a regret if I didn't come and give it a go and I didn't want to be in that position, so I wanted to come and give it a shot.
"The team I am with is a third division team. A lot of the teams are full-time and the players are on good money.
"The standard in training is good and there are a lot of good players here that I think could go on and play at a higher level."
Martin had impressed for Thistle's Under-20 side this season as the young Jags made a solid start to the season under McKenzie.
The forward could have found himself playing first-team football in Scotland for the rest of the campaign but has taken the unusual step of heading for pastures new.
Martin made a handful of appearances for Accies after coming through the New Douglas Park ranks and the Firhill protege is keen to make the most of his continental chance.
HE said: "I think there was interest from a couple of clubs in Scotland that wanted to take me on loan.
"But I got a call from my agent saying that Turnhout were keen on me.
"I spoke to Tony about it and I thought it was a good opportunity for me. It is a new experience.
"I hoped I would get the chance to play abroad at some point in my career so it is good that it has come around just now.
"I enjoyed the first half of the season at Thistle. I was settling into a new team after leaving Accies.
"Scott McKenzie did lots for me and gave me a lot of confidence and the boys were great as well. It is a good squad we have. I managed to play a few games and score a few goals.
"Now I have a first-team opportunity and I want to make the most of it."