PARTICK Thistle captain Stuart Bannigan has hit out at the dressing room leak who shared a WhatsApp message from the squad’s group chat, saying the players in the Firhill dressing room now know who they can trust.

A member of the Thistle squad, understood by HeraldSport to be striker Ally Roy, shared a message that assistant manager Brian Kerr posted to the private group asking the players to submit their own starting elevens for Saturday’s crucial relegation clash against Queen of the South. It was then widely circulated on social media.

Bannigan believes though that the whole episode can have a galvanising effect on the rest of the dressing room as they rally behind manager Gary Caldwell.

“It’s obviously disappointing that it got out first and foremost, you want these things to be kept in house,” Bannigan said.

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“I don’t think it will affect us come the weekend though, we’re going to stick together and hopefully we’ll be an even tighter group now. I think it can galvanise us. It will definitely make us even more up the fight now that it is out there.

“People will say what they want to say, but we’re certainly going into the game all guns blazing.

“We know what we need to do, and in a strange way this all might make us even closer together and make us fight for each other even more. Hopefully it can have a positive impact rather than a negative.

“When these things come out you need to try and get to the bottom of who it was and how it happened. You don’t want to be pointing fingers, but while I don’t want to name any names, we have got to the bottom of how it came out.

“So, you now know the people you can trust, and we know that the group we have got are all in this together and are all striding towards Saturday as a staff and as a group of players.

“It’s disappointing that it has come out this way, but it’s certainly not the end of the world and it won’t change the result on Saturday.”

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The exercise of getting the players to pick their own team was purely a hypothetical one according to Bannigan, who insisted that Caldwell will still make the final call when it comes to handing out the jerseys at Palmerston.

“ I think the manager just wanted an insight into who the player’s felt they trusted in a big game,” he said. “The team selection is down to him though.

“I’ve been in football a long time and you always try different things. I’ve done quite a few things in my time that are a bit out of the ordinary, but the manager has just wanted a rough idea of who the players felt they trusted.

“He might have a look through that and see if the same names are coming up or whatever. He’s the manager though, he will have his own thoughts and I don’t think any of this will have any bearing on what he thinks.”

A win against Queen of the South, or an Ayr United win over Alloa, will ensure that Thistle don’t have to go through the agony of the relegation play-offs for the second year in a row, an eventuality that doesn’t bear thinking about for Bannigan.

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“A lot of the boys have social media and you do hear a lot of the stuff that is being said about the club,” he said.

“But it is down to us players on the park. We haven’t done enough to show the fans we’re up to it this year.

“It hasn’t been for a lack of trying, we’ve just not had enough quality in the team to get results.

“It would be a disaster for this club to drop down again considering where we were. We built the club up, were stable in the Premiership, so even to drop down to the Championship was a big blow. To go further down, we don’t even want to think about that and what it would do to the club.”