Brut force as Fraser goes champagne supernova...

GARY FRASER earned his champagne after sparkling as Partick Thistle's man of the match in the 4-0 demolition of Ross County on Wednesday night.

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Thistle's Gary Fraser celebrates after scoring against Ross County on Wednesday night
Thistle's Gary Fraser celebrates after scoring against Ross County on Wednesday night

Now Jags manager Alan Archibald is tipping the 20-year-old to have a vintage season at Firhill.

In truth, several players could have laid claim to be the pick of the bunch as Thistle got their Premiership season off to the perfect start.

But it was Fraser who landed the award after a superb showing - and finally buried the memory of the nine-game ban he was handed last year for punching Dunfermline's Chris Kane in an U20 match.

Twelve months after arriving at Firhill on loan from Bolton, and seven since penning a permanent deal with the Jags, Fraser produced one of his finest performances in red and yellow as County were brushed aside in style.

He was flanked by Stuart Bannigan and summer signing Abdul Osman as Archibald's side got the season underway in style.

And the Thistle boss is confident there is plenty more to come from one of the unheralded starlets in Scotland.

Archibald said: "Gary is a young lad, but when he is on the pitch he is mature. He has added a bit more to his game.

"This is his first full pre-season with us. Last year was a bit stop-start for him when he went down to Bolton and it was a broken year.

"On Wednesday I thought you saw the benefit of having six weeks with us and a full pre-season. He looked full of energy and full of life.

"If you let Gary play, he can get the ball from side to side. We are delighted with him and a number of others.

"We have never had any bother with Gary, his application has always been great. He had the incident last year, but he has been fantastic.

"I think the addition of Bannigan and Osman helped him in there and gave him a platform to go and play.

"We did new contracts with the boys last year and believe in all the lads.

"We believe they are good enough to play on this stage and hopefully they will go and get better.

While Fraser was always likely to be one of the first names on the team-sheet for the visit of County this week, Archibald had a choice to make further back.

He gave keepers Scott Fox and Paul Gallacher equal chance to shine in pre-season and eventually put his faith in the man who started last term as the first choice.

Fox didn't let him down, pulling off a string of superb saves as Thistle got a clean sheet to go with their swashbuckling forward play.

Archibald said: "It was a hard decision. They are two great goalkeepers and great professionals.

"We spiced it up all through pre-season and gave them a game each.

"I wasn't worried which one I played. I have total trust in both of them."

With the first 90 minutes gone and the first three points collected, attentions have quickly turned to the trip to Dens Park tomorrow.

Dundee have taken two points from their opening fixtures back in the top flight, Wednesday's goalless draw at Inverness Caley Thistle coming on the back of a 1-1 stalemate against Kilmarnock.

And Archibald is expecting a stern test against Paul Hartley's side. He said: "Paul has done fantastic. I was on the A Licence course with him and I know how good a coach he is.

"He is single minded, he knows what he wants to do and you can see that the way his teams play.

"He has a good squad and a strong squad. It will be a tough match. He will have them well organised."

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