Season of goodwill has Stephen looking to repay boss' faith

JACKIE McNAMARA has been rewarded by the Partick Thistle board after the Firhill hierarchy handed him a new contract.

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O'Donnell wants to back up vote of confidence by the board towards McNamara with title
O'Donnell wants to back up vote of confidence by the board towards McNamara with title

Now, defender Stephen O'Donnell hopes the Jags squad can do their bit for the Thistle boss and give him a league and cup double to celebrate.

After a stunning start to the campaign that has seen Partick open up a two-point lead at the top of the Irn-Bru First Division and book their place in their first cup final in 41-years, the club have moved swiftly to reward McNamara with a fresh deal, giving him just rewards for his sterling efforts, and protecting the Jags' long-term interests in the process.

If McNamara could lead his side to the SPL and see off Queen of the South to land the Ramsdens Cup, his stock would continue to rise and potential suitors would surely be alerted.

He has assembled one of the finest squads the Firhill crowd have seen for many years and O'Donnell hopes the Jags group can repay their mentor's faith in them in the coming months.

He said: "Last year he said that all the players had potential and he was trying to get us to believe in ourselves more.

"We are doing brilliantly this season and that is down to the gaffer and Sid (assistant boss Simon Donnelly).

"Everyone wants to come in and train and play for them.

"We have got competition right across the squad and that is down to the manager making some great signings. You can't speak highly enough of him.

"We wanted to win the title at the start of the season and that hasn't changed. Now we have the Ramsdens Cup final to look forward to as well.

"If we could get the double, that would be a huge achievement for the club. That is what everyone in the squad is aiming for so fingers crossed.

"We have done a lot of hard work this year but we know that there is still a lot more to be done if we are to make 2013 a great one for the club.

"We have got some huge games coming up but we are always confident."

With McNamara's future now secure, thoughts will turn to agreeing new deals with a number of his key men who are out of contract this summer.

Alongside long-time friend Donnelly, the 39-year-old has transformed the fortunes of the Jags since replacing Ian McCall in the Firhill dugout last year.

O'DonnelL is one of a host of quality captures McNamara has made and the defender is delighted his mentor has put pen-to-paper.

He said: "It is brilliant news. There is not a manager in the country that deserves a new contract more than he does. It is good for the club to get him tied up. I am delighted for him, it is a huge boost.

"He signed some great players in the summer and there has been a lot of improvement from last year.

"We were a good side last year, although we never hit the peaks we should have, but this season the gaffer has made some astute signings and we have performed really well.

"The results are a credit to the manager and Sid."

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