Beattie: Others picking up on good vibrations

DAVID BEATTIE insists Partick Thistle will not derail their promotion bid by selling their top stars next month.

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n Erskine is free to leave in the summer n David Beattie believes the mood created by Jackie McNamara at the Firhill club has been pivotal to the Jags' success
n Erskine is free to leave in the summer n David Beattie believes the mood created by Jackie McNamara at the Firhill club has been pivotal to the Jags' success

After agreeing a new deal with gaffer Jackie McNamara this week, tieing down a number of out-of-contract stars is next on the club's agenda as they look to build for the future.

Thistle's stunning start to season has seen scouts flock to Firhill to see McNamara's side in action in recent weeks.

Jags stars such as Stephen O'Donnell, Paul Paton and Chris Erskine can all leave for free in the summer, but Thistle chairman Beattie will resist any attempts to lure players away in the January window.

He told SportTimes: "I think there will be a lot of players attracting interest.

"I know that because there have been a lot of scouts up from English teams looking at a few of our players.

"We are keen to keep the squad together at least until the end of the season to see what happens and see whether we are in the SPL or not.

"We have got a great group of players just now and I would be delighted if those players decided to stay with the club and come with us to the SPL, if we can get there.

"I understand that if a load of money comes in some players will depart because they want to take their careers to a different level.

"It would be six-figure sums we would want for our players before we would even consider looking at any bids. We have a winning formula just now so why would we change that? Financially, we are on a break-even budget.

"We haven't budgeted for selling players so we want to hold the team together if we can."

With a two-point lead at the top of the Irn-Bru First Division and a Ramsdens Cup final berth already secured, it has been a superb few months for McNamara in only his second season in the dugout. The Jags manager has transformed the fortunes of the club and Beattie is daring to dream of the SPL.

T HE Thistle chairman added: "I think this is the best Thistle team I have seen, however, I have only been at the club for the last five years.

"The whole vibe of the place, the culture of the club and what Jackie as manager is trying to do with the youths is great.

"That is reflected in how well the first team is doing. We are not preparing for life in the SPL just yet.

"It is a very exciting time. It is more than just the football, the whole feel of the place is different and the management of the place is different.

"That is driven by Jackie and Simon Donnelly and the way they handle the players and conduct themselves as true professionals. Over the last three years, the board of directors has changed significantly and the managememnt style that Jackie and Sid bring is totally different to previous management.

"It is very focused on the players, treating them all with respect, bringing the youth through.

"Jackie and Sid are both at training every day and there is a whole different vibe to things now."

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