PARTICK THISTLE moved up in the world by playing in the Premiership last season.

And Conrad Balatoni capped a year to remember by heading around the globe this summer.

The Jags star geared up for his first top-flight campaign with a trip to Thailand 12 months ago.

He returned to pre- season training this week and has plenty of tales to tell after another action-packed summer that has seen him clock up the air miles once again.

Balatoni said: "I went to the Dominican Republic for a week then I went on a stag do to Prague, which was a bit of carnage!

"I went island-hopping on the Greek islands for two-and-a-half weeks.

"It has been eventful and it has opened my eyes up to a few things.

"You don't get many people in football that go away by themselves, live on a budget and stay in hostels. Nobody I know has done it.

"I have met so many friends from all over the world so if I want to go somewhere I am sure they will put me up.

"I was in Thailand last year and got the travelling bug. I booked it last minute, I knew I was going but didn't know when because of the play-offs.

"The internet is full of sites so I looked for reviews and the hostels I stayed in were top notch.

"I met so many people and had a great laugh.

"I would recommend anyone to do it. People might think it is scary going away themselves, but I had no trouble and it was one of the best holidays of my life.

"The boys last year were saying, 'I bet you don't go' and that I was all talk. I was a bit worried about going myself, I had never done it before.

"Going solo it was the first time, but it was the best decision I have made and I will look back on it as one of the best holidays that I have had."

Having returned to Scotland bronzed and primed for action, Balatoni has been put through his paces by boss Alan Archibald this week at Thistle's new base at Garscube Science Park.

He has been joined by former Hearts team-mate Ryan Stevenson after he agreed a switch to Firhill earlier this summer.

And he is confident Thistle are on the right track on and off the field.

Balatoni said: "I was at Hearts when he was there so I know him. I didn't play in the first team, but I trained with them and know him well.

"It is a great signing by the manager and hopefully there are more to come and we can add more quality to the team.

"You never know who the manager is trying to bring in, but with the training complex we have now it brings that bit of professionalism to the club and improves the reputation of the club."