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Partick Thistle FC

Youngsters delighted with debuts

Saturday’s win over Montrose in the Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup was extra special for two of Thistle’s promising crop of youngsters.

Both Mouhamed Niang and Dean Watson made their first team debuts which they both hope will be the first of many in red and yellow.

Niang started the game in central midfield, while Watson made a late but lively appearance from the bench.

Speaking after the game, a still grinning Niang, was obviously delighted with his first start.

Speaking to he said: “I’m really happy to have made my first team debut. I’ve been working hard so I’m delighted that it has paid off and I got the chance today.

“I was pleased with how I played. I set really high standards for myself so I always think I could maybe have done better but that will come the more I’m involved and over time. Overall, I’m happy with my performance and I thought the boys were excellent, overall though it was just good to get the win.”

The versatile player who can line up at the back or in midfield took up a central midfield role and he was happy to show what he could do.

“I’ve been working hard in training; every time I train with the first team I always try and make sure I impress the manager and he is great with the youngsters. I’ve been learning a lot and I’ll continue to try and improve.

“I can play in a few positions and I want to show that versatility. I’m just happy to be out there and will always give my all, wherever I’m asked to play.”

After immigration red tape held up the start of his Thistle career it was a culmination of a long journey for the player they call Sena and he was happy to finally reach this point

“The whole situation was really frustrating but I was so happy when it was all sorted. Last season was just a bedding in period because there is a big jump from the Juniors to here, but I feel I’m making the adjustment.

“I know I can improve tactically but that will come, that can only get better with experience and watching the other boys.”

Despite his debut, Niang knows he has to stay grounded and continue to work hard.

“Nothing changes, I’ll continue working just as hard if not harder. Now I’ve had that opportunity I want more of it, I want to keep playing and I’ll give it my all and be ready if I get another chance.

“There were a number of us involved today and it was great to be there together, we drive each other on and try and make each other better players.

“There are chances there if you work hard, just look at Fitzy, he was playing reserves with us and now look at him, that just motivates you to work even harder.”

The other player to make his debut was Dean Watson, the midfielder coming on with 10 minutes remaining. Sena was delighted for his team mate.

“I was delighted for Dean too getting his chance. As the older one amongst the youngsters in the team – and the moany one – I’m always on the others back to make sure they keep doing the right things and making sure we all drive each other on.”

Watson himself couldn’t have been happier to make his Jag bow. A Thistle Weir Youth Academy product he had a day to remember.

“It was great, I absolutely loved it. I was delighted to get on the bench for the first time and was brilliant to get on and get a few minutes under my belt.

“Working hard is key.  It all starts now, I don’t want that to be the last and I want more, so it’s all a case now of continuing doing what I’m doing, not getting ahead of myself and trying to impress the gaffer.

“I’ve got a taste for it now, and I want more, the only way to do that is working hard in training and learning.”

Watson was in the thick of the action after coming on with some good runs before being involved in some handbags with the experienced Iain Campbell.

Dean was pleased with how he did and admits he had to stand up for himself after some tough treatment.

“I was really happy with how I did when I got on. I was glad to get the chance to get hold of the ball and show some skills and show what I can do.

“When a young player like me comes on, there are always players out there that will try and take you out. You’ve just got to stand up to them. In youth football you won’t usually get that but at first team level you’ve got to fight harder and I found that out early when I got a bit of a kicking.

“You need to show you aren’t afraid in those situations, people will run over the top of you if you don’t so that’s what I did.”

Watson also paid tribute to his fellow debutant while praising the rest of the squad.

“Sena played brilliantly today, he deserves his chance and it was great to have the others on the bench too. We always drive each other on in training so it’s always great to see guys getting their opportunity.

“It’s always great being involved in the first team, the other players are great in training, they always encourage you and keep your head up if things don’t go your way. I just need to keep trying to learn from them and give it my everything.”

A more in depth video interview with Gary Caldwell is available to Jagzone subscribers now as well as reaction from Reece Cole and Tam O’Ware  – log in to view.

Highlights will also be available to view later and will be free for Jagzone subscribers.

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