IAN McCALL has warned Mouhamed ‘Sena’ Niang that the hard work starts now after the 20-year-old put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension at Firhill this afternoon.

The youngster, who has impressed since filling in for the injured Tam O’Ware at centre-half over the last five games, will now remain at the club until the summer of 2023.

McCall admitted he was pleased to get the deal finalised and tie Sena to the League One club – adding that he is excited for what the future holds for the former Pollok man.

He said: “I am delighted, I had a chat with him today and I told him the hard work starts now. I do think he has been excellent in the last five or six games.

“When I came in I wanted to put building blocks in and each season having a nucleus of players who can take us where we want to go.

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“When I was here the last time I didn’t do great but we signed boys like Paul Paton, Conrad Balatoni, Chris Erskine and Kris Doolan and they served the club well. We hope Sena is going to turn into that.

“He got a chance because of injury and he has taken it and I have told him if he keeps playing like he is he will stay in the team. He has got two-and-a-half years now to progress and be as good as he hopefully can be.

“We do need to build the club up and [chairman] Jacqui [Low] and the board have been fantastic. Sena is as humble a boy as you could ever meet.

“He has a few things to work on but he has all the basics good defenders need. He has pace and aggression and having played in midfield he is comfortable in possession so he has a real chance.

“He has to keep working because he has to keep his level of performances up to stay in the team.”

McCall admits that he always suspected Sena had the ability to forge a fine career in the SPFL but warned supporters not to get carried away after an impressive start to first-team life in Maryhill.

“When I first saw him I was convinced he could play in the Championship but now I think there is potential there to play at a better level,” said the Jags boss. “I might be wrong and I don’t want to build him up too much but he could go higher.

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“We have no concerns he won’t work hard to get even better due to the type of boy he is.

“Alan Archibald does a lot of work with the defenders and we do that every Thursday and he always wants to learn. I think that side of it we will have no issues with, the rest is up to him about how high he can go."

He continued: “He does remind me of the likes of Erskine and Doolan but in a different way. When they came in they earned nothing but it made them determined and that’s the link with Sena.

“He is desperate to succeed and I really hope he does. As a boy, we have tried to bring back a bit of humility and we have and he fits that build.

“I think he has come out his shell a bit. I always think young players, as much as you want to coach them, they learn from playing in the first team.

“I took Michael Rose in at Ayr and he was great in training but never got much chance in the first year. But once he got his chance he kept learning and learning and now he plays in the English Championship.

“I think you learn when you are playing and I have seen an improvement in him but we can’t go overboard as he has a long way to go.”

Now that Sena’s new deal has been formalised, McCall is keen to extend the contracts of a few more key players in the coming weeks and months.

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“The board know I have identified a few players who I want to tie down and they are doing all they can for me,” McCall said.

“We have [Ross] Docherty, [Darren] Brownlie and [Stuart] Bannigan on deals until the following summer, so we want to put the blocks down for the future but you have to win games the now.

“We do need to build the club back up and we are starting to.”

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