GARY CALDWELL will return to the place where it all began for him at Partick Thistle this afternoon in search of another new beginning, as he bids to take the Jags back to the Premiership.

Thistle travel to Alloa to open their Championship campaign, and Caldwell is hoping they can buck their trend in recent years of starting their league seasons slowly.

He firmly believes they can do so, with the progress his team have made and the players he has brought to the club since joining filling him with a confidence he didn’t have when he first took a Thistle side to the Indodrill Stadium.

“We’ve come a long, long way since then,” Caldwell said.

“It was my first game. It was a disappointing way to start. We did ok, but we conceded a poor goal in the second half.

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“I feel like we are going there with a totally different team, a totally different mentality. I actually feel that we’re now a completely different club.

“So, we are going there full of confidence and belief, and full knowledge of my players. The last time I went there, I didn’t really know what the players were capable of or what they could do, having only worked with them for a few days.

“This time, I feel a lot more confident in the players that I’ve got.

“The Betfred Cup has also given us real confidence. It was never going to be easy playing competitive football so early.

“The players came back on June 13th and have worked extremely hard, and they have been rewarded with a great group stage.

“That has bred positivity and confidence, and now it is up to them to take that into winning games in the league as well."

Caldwell was relieved to hear that the pitch has been widened at Alloa, for the sake of both teams and for the spectators, with new Wasps manager Peter Grant seemingly intent on playing a more expansive style of football.

“Peter was coach at Celtic with Tony Mowbray briefly when I was there,” he said. “He’s a lovely guy, a football man and every time I’ve come across him he’s been a really good guy.

“I saw Alloa play against Stirling in the Betfred Cup, and they are a different team playing a different way.

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“They have expanded the pitch now, and I think this will be a different game to any we had against Alloa last season.”

Caldwell is still harbouring hopes of adding to his squad before the close of the transfer window, believing he has quality, but perhaps not the strength in depth required to win the Championship just yet.

“I think we’re very strong from one to 15 now,” he said.

“We’re still three or four players light to give us numbers and competition within the squad, but going into the season I’m very confident and with the players we do have, and I’m very confident we can go and get results.”

New signing Mitch Austin has yet to start full training following his move from Australian football, while Callum Wilson will sit the game out after dislocating his shoulder in training on Wednesday.

“Mitch is still doing physical work with the fitness coach,” Caldwell said. “He’ll probably be another two weeks, probably after the Ross County game in the cup.

“I’m really disappointed for Callum, because he probably deserved more minutes in the Betfred Cup and he had been training really well.”

Kenny Miller and Cammy Palmer did train yesterday though as they overcame knocks, and both are expected to be available this afternoon.