It's love in first degree for ace James at Thistle

THERE will be few who have earned a promotion and graduation in the same summer.

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Craigen aims to make grade
Craigen aims to make grade

But that is the goal Partick Thistle star James Craigen has set himself as he targets success at opposite ends of the M8.

Despite making the switch to Firhill at the start of the season, the forward is still enrolled at Edinburgh University as he works towards a degree in Sports Business Management.

He combines life as a full-time footballer with that of a student as he bids to earn his grades.

The 21-year-old is also aiming to make a significant impact for Thistle in the Irn-Bru First Division run-in, after returning from a loan spell with Forfar.

However, Craigen knows he has his work cut out both on and off the field.

He said: "The past few months have been brilliant for me, I have loved my time at the club so far.

"It has been a bit of a whirlwind coming from university to being involved in a promotion challenge but I ove it.

"The training has been really good and we have got a great bunch of boys here. If I hadn't signed for Thistle, I would still be at university during the day and playing for their team.

"Being at Thistle beats it by quite a long way.

"This would have been my last year. I am still doing a bit of it part-time, I had a lecture on Tuesday after training.

"Come the end of the season, if everything goes to plan, hopefully I will have two winner's medals from Thistle and my degree from uni.

"We have got a lot of big games coming up, starting with the double against Cowdenbeath over the next two weeks, so we need to keep going.

"We have taken confidence from the Falkirk win and hopefully we can keep going from strength to strength."

WhileCraigen was starring for the Loons under former Jags gaffer Dick Campbell, Jackie McNamara's side have kept up their title tilt alongside rivals Morton and Dunfermline.

Victory over Falkirk at the weekend kept them within touching distance of top-of-the-table Ton with two games in hand.

Craigen replaced veteran midfielder Hugh Murray for the last half hour of the Firhill clash and is keen to force his way back into the starting line-up.

He said: "It is nice to be back with Thistle. My loan with Forfar went well and it was good to get on against Falkirk on Saturday.

"I just have to keep working hard in training and if I do get a chance to come on in games then I have to do well.

"My loan spell was certainly beneficial for me. I needed to play games and the gaffer was quite right to send me out on loan.

"I got a few games and I feel a lot sharper and fitter now. The Second Division is still a big jump up from university football.

"It was a competitive league and it was good to be going for three points every week rather than playing reserve football.

"The team has been fantastic this year. I just need to keep doing what I am doing and hopefully I can get my chance."


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