PARTICK THISTLE assistant Neil Scally has warned the new faces in the Firhill dressing room that they will be given no time to settle in as the Championship club seek to move up the table.

The Jags are currently two points adrift at the foot of the standings and with the team's stated goal to reach the play-offs slipping away, drastic improvement is required as soon as possible - starting tomorrow night, when Thistle host Ayr United.

And while Scally accepts that there have been a lot of ins and outs at Firhill this month, he will not settle for players taking their time to adapt to their new surroundings.

Glasgow Times:

"There’s been that many changes it’s been hard to keep track of them," he said. "I don’t think we can afford [giving players time to settle]. A lot of the boys we’ve brought in have got good experience. We’ve brought in Brian Graham, who’s got experience of winning this league and we’ve brought in Darian MacKinnon in and he’s very experienced. Boys that have been there and done it in this league, that’s part of the reason that they are here.

"There’s no bedding-in time. The league is so tight just now. Everyone in the league is beating everyone so it’s hard to put a run together, but if you can then you’ll move up the league quickly. The play-offs should be a target but first and foremost we just need to concentrate on one game at a time."

Darren Brownlie is the latest player to sign on the dotted line at Firhill after the defender sealed a move from Queen of the South earlier this week. The centre-back had already agreed a pre-contract to join the club in the summer but Thistle pushed the move through this week to bolster their defensive ranks.

Glasgow Times:

"It’s good knowing that we’ve got Brownlie in, he’s someone that we have admired for a while.

"We had a lot of good players in the squad but we just felt that it was maybe a wee bit lopsided, so we have identified a few boys that we wanted to bring in to add aspects to the squad that we didn’t think we had. Darren was with a view to next year but it’s an absolute bonus that we have got him just now.

"I think that could be us done and dusted now. There might potentially be one more but it’s unlikely if I’m honest.

"It allows us to settle and know what we have got between now and the end of the season. We know what we’re working with and it makes things a lot easier to plan."

Thistle suffered defeat last time out, losing 2-1 away to Arbroath. Both of the goals at a very windy Gayfield came via corners, while new signing Zak Rudden dropped out of the starting line-up after picking up a knock in the warm-up.

Glasgow Times:

Scally says that Thistle have been working on defending set-pieces in training this week - and revealed that Rudden remains a doubt for tomorrow's visit of Ayr.

"It’s challenging conditions up there at the best of times but to lose two from set-plays is disappointing," he admitted. "It’s an area we have identified this week and we have been working on it on the training ground.

"Zak’s been with the physio and he’ll be 50/50 for the game. Ideally, for us, we want him back as soon as possible but we don’t want to push him that much. The type of injury that it is, it can become a more long-term one. So if he does miss out on Friday then I would expect after one game out he’ll be fine. If we rush him back we might end up doing more damage."

Scally will be all-too-familiar with tomorrow's opposition, having served as Ian McCall's assistant at Somerset Park for years. The Thistle No.2 expects a tough test from his former employers in Maryhill but is hopeful of securing a massive three points for his club.

Glasgow Times:

"It’s a huge challenge," Scally added. "Having worked with the boys for a good number of years, I know exactly what we’re up against. We’ll be up for the challenge and we know what to expect, but we’re looking forward to it.

"From the Ayr players’ point of view, Mark Kerr won’t need to motivate his players. They will be buzzing for the game anyway because they’re playing against Thistle, because the gaffer and myself had worked with them for a while. So I think they’ll be up for it, no doubt."