Danny Devine admits that the Partick Thistle defence haven’t been up to scratch this season, but after conceding just one goal in their last three matches, he felt like they were finally steadying the ship.

The loss of Liam Lindsay in the summer and a host of injuries had taken its toll on the Jags backline, but with Jordan Turnbull bedding in and Adam Barton dropping back to help out, Devine was sure that they had turned a corner.

You can imagine his horror then when Turnbull was recalled by parent club Coventry City on Wednesday and immediately sold on to Northampton Town, causing yet more disruption to the Thistle rearguard.

But the Northern Irishman is refusing to panic, placing his trust in manager Alan Archibald to pull another rabbit from the hat during the January transfer window to plug the gap left by Turnbull’s sudden departure.

“Jordan leaving is a blow,” admitted Devine. “It’s been quite tough on the whole team this year, and the defence has been a bit up and down and a bit shaky at times.

“I don’t think the injuries we’ve had and boys having to play out of position has helped, but we’ve had to deal with that, and recently I felt as if we were starting to pick up a little bit.

“Now Jordan is away, but I’m sure the manager is looking elsewhere and looking for replacements, and hopefully he can get somebody in.

“Jordan was a big player for us, and he will definitely be missed, but we trust the manager to find a replacement.

“It’s only me and Niall Keown here that are centre-backs now, and you always need that extra body because boys pick up injuries.

“We have been switching between a three and four, and it’s always good to have that flexibility there.”

Devine was speaking from Thistle’s winter training camp in Marbella, where the Jags are working hard to make sure that their two wins from three at the end of December doesn’t represent a false dawn, but a turning point in their season.

After a gruelling December, he says that it has been hugely beneficial to have the short break, before getting down to business yet again.

“It has been great to get a bit of time to switch off,” he said. “We had a couple of days off before we came out to Marbella, and I think that’s important.

“Getting a wee break, both physically and mentally as well, is major. Spending some time with your family and friends so that you come back refreshed and ready to go again once we start back.

“Physically it’s a big demand to play so many games obviously, and some boys will pick up little niggles along the way too. But the mental side is often overlooked, and it is quite tough to always get your head right for a game every two or three days.

“I think it could give us an edge, so it’s great that the club have sent us over here. You’re getting away as a group, the injured boys are here also getting their work done, and we’re working hard to make up for those couple of days we had off!

“It’s great to get all the boys in and around each other before we get into a major part of the season for us. It will definitely do us good.”