GIVEN events over the last few days, it is clear that the immediate future is bright for Partick Thistle.

They are not content to settle for a short-term improvement in their fortunes, however, with plans being put in place to preserve and enhance their long-term aspirations.

After a nine-year wait, the Jags have booked their return to the SPL, with boss Alan Archibald's side set to lift the Irn-Bru First Division trophy when they face Dunfermline on Saturday.

The benefits of promotion are significant, with the added finance that will be generated and the increase in exposure not just for the club but their young, talented squad, just two reasons to be cheerful ahead of Thistle's return to the big time.

Away from the first team, the building blocks are being put in place to ensure this current purple patch is not a one-off and that recent successes can be replicated.

The Maryhill club are once again investing in their future and head of youth development Gerry Britton is confident their next step will have significant benefits.

"The SFA have six different tiers and we are currently in the second one," Britton told SportTimes.

"We have been making plans to move up to the third tier, you can only move up one level at a time, and it is coinciding with the first team's promotion to the SPL.

"What that will mean is we will run six youth teams rather than the four we are just now and we are looking to bring in some more coaches to the department.

"At the moment, we start at Under-13s, but we will now start at U11s. We are expanding the whole set-up, which is brilliant for the club.

"It is important we invest in youth development and look to bring through our own players and we are keen to continue building on the good work that has already been done at the club."

Having neglected, to their cost, youth development for many years, Thistle are now making big strides on the right road.

The Jags are keen to promote themselves as a family club and have seen their 'Kids go free' scheme at home matches bring a new generation of supporters to Firhill.

They are determined to build upon that success on the field in the coming years and Britton hopes the transformation of midfield star Stuart Bannigan will set the path for others to follow.

He said: "The ultimate aim of the youth-development system is to get players into the first team.

"I think the progress of Stuart has maybe tipped the balance in the club's thinking.

"We have had Stuart with us since he was 14 or 15 and he has progressed to being a first-team regular and a Scotland U21 internationalist.

"We are seeing the benefits of youth development and hopefully this expansion will see the good base we have grown.

"We feel this is the right time to add to what we have and we will continue to develop."

The summer months will see Archibald attempt to strengthen his squad ahead of his first SPL campaign as a boss and the club ready themselves behind the scenes.

New additions to the Jags squad will be crucial, but there is another crucial position to be filled as Thistle look at the bigger picture.

Britton said: "The big thing about going up to the SPL for us in terms of youth development is the fact that we will play in the U20 league. That requires a full-time U20 coach.

"Until now, we haven't had the resources to do that. Initially it was Jackie McNamara and Simon Donnelly who were coaching the kids and when they got the manager's job, Archie took over.

"There is a good pedigree of coaches who have been working with the kids. We will now have a dedicated U20 coach, it won't be a dual role, so we can concentrate on those players fully.

"It can only enhance the players we have. The manager will look for someone to fill that role and that is a good task for him, there are plenty of well-qualified applicants.

"He has got a few people in mind. I know he is keen to have his plans in place early so I am sure he will look to make that decision over the next couple of weeks."