Partick Thistle youngster Andy McCarthy has revealed he was almost lost to the professional game after quitting the club when he was younger.

Having become disillusioned with the set-up at the club at the time and his lack of playing opportunities even at youth level, McCarthy was so frustrated that he threw the towel in at Thistle to play with his mates at his local junior outfit, Rossvale.

The intervention of Gerry Britton lured him back to Firhill though, and the influence of head of academy coaching Scott Allison has turned the midfielder into one of the hottest prospects at the club.

The 18-year-old is now hoping to make his presence felt on Alan Archibald’s starting eleven, after climbing off the bench to make his tenth senior appearance against Kilmarnock last week.

“I joined the club when I was 13, but when I got to under-17s I chucked it for a bit,” McCarthy said. “I wasn’t playing that much and I didn’t think I was that good back then, so I became a bit disillusioned.

“It sounds daft to say it now, but I’m from Bishopbriggs and I thought I’d be better off just playing with my mates at Rossvale. It was a laugh, but I’ve no idea why I thought I would be better off there.

“It was stupid and naïve, but it gave me a bit of incentive to make sure I didn’t stay at that level.

“Luckily, Gerry Britton phoned me up and asked me to come back in, and the academy was night and day from what was there before. It was really good, the coaches were brilliant, and that made me stick at it.

“It was a lot more professional and a much more positive place. Scotty Allison came in and gave me a lot of confidence, and I’d go as far to say he transformed as a player.

“That was a big factor. When I left I didn’t think I was good enough, and with the way it was, I didn’t see myself progressing. But the coaches gave me confidence and that started to give me a bit of belief in myself, and that’s when I started to push on.”

Not that McCarthy’s progress to figuring in his manager’s thoughts has been plain-sailing since his brief time away from the game either.

A serious back injury kept him out long-term soon after, and that’s when his self-doubt started to creep in again.

“Two seasons ago I was out for six months with my back,” he said. “It took a wee while to get back from that, but then the gaffer started putting me into first-team squads, and that gave me such a boost.

“It was massive, because if someone told me when I was out that this is where I’d be or that I’d have played in a game at Celtic Park, I wouldn’t have believed it.

“Now I just want to get a run in the team and do the best that I can every time I get the chance to repay the manager’s faith in me. Hopefully, I can show the gaffer that I’m working hard and play as many games as a I can.”

The fact that Thistle are struggling as a team at the moment is something of a double-edged sword for McCarthy.

The stuttering form of others may present him with a greater opportunity of first-team football, but whether he plays or not, his main concern is seeing his side move up the table as quickly as possible.

“We’ve got to go into every game fancying ourselves and being confident that we can get a result,” he said.

“We need to put in a better performance than the last two games, which haven’t been good enough.

“Hopefully that will be better against Dundee, and that will flow into the result.

“We’ve been really positive this week and that’s the attitude we’ll take into Saturday.”