PARTICK THISTLE have signed goalkeeper Cammy Bell on a pre-contract agreement as Alan Archibald steps up his summer rebuilding job.

The former Rangers and Dundee United keeper is still contracted to Hibernian until the start of July, but has now put pen to paper on a two-year deal at Firhill after completing a medical last night.

SportTimes also understands that Thistle are targeting former Livingston centre-back Craig Halkett to bolster their defence.

Halkett was a standout performer in Livi’s Premiership play-off victory over Archibald’s side, but is now a free agent upon expiry of his contract and could potentially be plying his trade back in the Championship next season.

One man who looks unlikely to be joining the Jags however is former Thistle defender Freddie Frans.

The Belgian defender has contract offers from Ross County and Dundee United, and while he has been in talks with Thistle over a potential return to the club, they are unable to match the lucrative terms on offer from their Championship rivals.

After signing his own contract at Firhill, Bell said: “I’m delighted to be here and I’m delighted to join such a big club.

“Obviously it was a tough year for the club last year getting relegated, but hopefully we can bring some positivity back to the club and get the fans back out to watch us, and hopefully we can be up there challenging to win the Championship next season.”

Thistle had also been sounding out veteran goalkeeper Neil Alexander about a possible move to Firhill, but the signing of Bell may end the prospect of the 40-year-old joining the club.

Meanwhile, new Partick Thistle chief executive Gerry Britton admits he is relieved to have secured ‘a significant portion’ of the club’s budget for next season after agreeing a new sponsorship deal with Just Employment Law.

The law firm became the club’s principal backer last season and have opted to extend their deal by another season, despite Thistle’s relegation to the Championship.

Britton has confessed that any change would have been a major worry for the Jags as they bid to cope with the huge financial hit of dropping out of the Premiership.

However, the former Dundee, Dunfermline and Thistle striker, who is himself a trained lawyer, is thrilled to have received the reassurances of a fresh sponsorship agreement.

He said: “Obviously, the priority was always to tie down the main sponsorship quickly, as it is the highest-profile sponsorship that we have and forms a significant portion of our budget for the season.

“With that in mind, it could have been a source of some concern had we been left without their support this year.

“From the off, though, it was clear that David was keen to continue supporting the club and the whole firm has really bought in to what we are aiming to achieve this season.

“I’m certain they will play a massive part in our fight to regain our Premiership status and, like them, we can’t wait to get started.”