Stephen aims for A-game to boost A-team

THERE have been few failures for Partick Thistle so far this season as they have shot to the top of the Irn-Bru First Division.

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O'Donnell has been critical of his recent showings
O'Donnell has been critical of his recent showings

But defender Stephen O'Donnell is candid enough to admit he has not been satisfied with his recent performance levels, despite the Jags' encouraging form.

Although Jackie McNamara's side exited the William Hill Scottish Cup on Saturday as title rivals Dunfermline clinched a 1-0 Firhill win, it has been a decent few weeks for Thistle. O'Donnell was one of the star performers as the Jags thrashed Jim Jefferies' Pars 5-1 on league duty a month ago, but the right back insists he can do better as he looks for personal improvement.

He said: "We need to be on our A-game every week but, personally speaking, I don't think I have been in the last couple of weeks.

"If myself and the rest of the boys can play how we can play then I don't think anyone can stop us on our day.

"I have been frustrated at myself. It is a tough time of the season, but I have not been where I would like to be.

"I don't need the gaffer, the players, my parents, the fans, or anyone to tell me that, I know that myself.

"All I can do is come in the next day and work hard and hopefully you come out the other end of it better.

"Individually, I have been disappointed but that happens. Hopefully I can get back to where I feel I should be soon."

Saturday's cup exit was one of few low points so far this season for Thistle, with a first-half header from striker Andy Barrowman enough to book Dunfermline's place in the next round and set up a last-16 tie against either Dumbarton or Hamilton.

It is the second knock-out competition from which the Jags have crashed out early this season following their Scottish Communities League Cup defeat to Accies in August.

They returned to training yesterday with their focus now fully on league duty in the coming weeks and O'Donnell hopes McNamara's side can return to winning ways when they face Cowdenbeath on First Division duty this weekend.

He said: "We were very disappointed with the manner in which we lost. We did well with ten men– after Aaron Muirhead was sent off – but it just wasn't our day.

"It is frustrating when you have done so well at home for the run to end on a sour note like that.

"But we need to pick ourselves up for Saturday and the game at Cowdenbeath. We have been there already this season and we know it is going to be really tough.

"We need to focus and be ready to keep the league form going. We have had a couple of blips here and there but, on the whole, it has been very good."

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