Bannigan delight after cap call-up ...

STUART BANNIGAN started the season aiming to shine in red and yellow for Partick Thistle.

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Now the Jags midfielder has the chance to star in dark blue having been called up to the Scotland Under-21 squad to face Greece on February 6.

Bannigan and Firhill defender Stephen O'Donnell were named in an 18-man group that will face the Greeks in Korinthos.

The pair have played well as the Jags have moved into Irn-Bru First Division title contention and the Ramsdens Cup final in April.

Both could feature at Cowdenbeath this weekend before jetting out with Billy Stark's squad, and Bannigan said international recognition was never on his mind this term.

He said: "I am delighted to be in the squad. My aim was just to get in the Thistle team.

"It has come along now so I am delighted. I can't wait to join the squad and go to Greece and test myself against international players.

"It is a great chance for me to play against different players and in a different part of the world.

"I am not expecting to go there and play, I am going to train and be part of the squad and, hopefully, I can make my debut.

"I am happy to go there and it would be great if I could stay in the squad for the coming games."

Should Bannigan or O'Donnell feature for the young Scots next month, they will become the first Thistle players to represent their country at Under-21 level since Andy Dowie played against Italy in March 2005.

Firhill skipper Alan Archibald has been capped five times at that level and Bannigan admits the cap call is recognition for the club as well as the players.

He said: "A lot of people have taken notice of Thistle this year.

"I know a few in the Scotland squad but it is good Stephen is in as well.

"People have been talking about the good football we have been playing so it is great that we have two boys being called up for Scotland."


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