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McCarthy: Determined to keep development going

The games have come thick and fast in December and Alan Archibald’s squad has been stretched to its maximum. Although injuries have undoubtedly been an issue, one of the positives to come out of the month has been the emergence of Andy McCarthy in the first team. Impressive performances against Celtic and Aberdeen have brought plaudits for the youngster but, as he told, all of his focus now lies on making first team appearances a more regular occurrence going forward.

Andy said: “It’s obviously been a good month for me as I’ve got good game time against Celtic and against Aberdeen. It’s not about the opposition for me though it’s more about the experience and getting the minutes I need on the pitch. I’m hungry to play a bigger and bigger part by playing more games so hopefully that will continue into 2018.”

As well as going toe to toe with Scott Brown, December has seen Andy play an integral part in a rotating midfield three that came close to taking a point away from Pittodrie on Wednesday night.

“We did a lot of rotation in terms of roles and positions, particularly in the Aberdeen game but I really enjoy that. I think it brings the best out of me but it means you have to concentrate all the time. No matter what part of the game it is, everyone has a job to do and you have to make sure you stick to those duties. If you do though it can be a really good way to play and a great system to be involved with.

“It’s good for me because I have been playing alongside two players who have hardly missed a game for us this season in Ryan Edwards and Adam Barton. For someone like me who is still learning it really helps to have that experience alongside you. Not only do you know where you need to be with both of them but they help talk you through games at times as well. We know how to play together and enjoy playing together too I think. Between training and matches you get plenty of experience of the different playing styles and that can only be a good thing.”

The odd game here and there is a good start but McCarthy knows he has to use this experience to kick on if he is going to develop as a Partick Thistle player.

“Everyone wants to be in football to play and the next step for me has to be to turn appearance like Celtic and Aberdeen from novelties or unusual circumstances to the routine. I want to be playing every week and that’s the target. Hopefully over the coming weeks and months I can prove to the manager and Scott Paterson that I’m at the level and I’m ready to play week in and week out. That kind of confidence from the management only comes with good performances though and that’s what I need to focus on now.

“You look at Liam Lindsay and Jack Hendry who are both players I played with at Development League level and you can see what they have gone on to do. They were good examples for me and the precedent is there for the manager giving young players a chance so that’s what I need to aim for.

“We’ve got players coming back from injury in January so that’s really the next challenge for me. I’ve been given a couple of opportunities this month but now I need to fight for my space and try to prove that I’m worthy of keeping my position in the starting 11. One of the best things about our gaffer is that if you train hard and do well then you’ve still got a good chance of getting an opportunity and that’s all you can really ask for.”

Saturday’s match against Ross County gives the Jags a chance to ensure they won’t be at the bottom of the table come the January break and, as far as young Andy is concerned, that is the one and only aim for the weekend.

“Saturday could be the biggest game of the season so far but then again every game is a big game at the moment so hopefully we can go and get a positive result to get us off the bottom going into the winter break. If we can do that it will be a huge boost to everyone at the club. I think it will be massive if we can be off the bottom for January. We’re all a positive group but that would lift us even further and with players hopefully coming back from injury in January it could really help us kick on in 2018.”

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