PARTICK Thistle’s comfortable victory over Cowdenbeath on Tuesday night provided a timely morale boost as the Jags prepare to visit fellow promotion hopefuls Airdrieonians at the weekend – and manager Ian McCall reckons he’s spoiled for choice up front after beefing up his attacking options.

Motherwell centre-forward Ross MacIver and Livingston’s Scott Tiffoney have both pitched up at Firhill in recent weeks – the latter’s loan was only finalised on Tuesday afternoon – while Zak Rudden notched his first goal in red-and-yellow in the 3-0 win over the Blue Brazil.

Tiffoney looked lively throughout the Scottish Cup second-round tie and MacIver will have been left wondering how he didn’t get on the scoresheet himself, often finding space at the back post but unable to steer the ball home.

With Brian Graham and Connor Murray also vying for a place in McCall’s starting XI, the Thistle manager reckons the increased competition can only serve his side well.

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“I still think Zak’s finding his fitness because he’s been out for a while,” he said. “But yeah, we have got options up top. I think we’ve only conceded once in our last nine games so defensively, we’re fine.

“Zak’s not played too many games and he’s been really unlucky. When he was at Falkirk, he didn’t have an injury the whole time he was there and he scored a good few goals. He’s still missing a bit of fitness and sharpness.

“I thought at the time when I signed him, Docherty, Brian Graham and Darren Brownlie that they would be real assets moving forward. And if he can get a bit of luck with injuries, I still believe that.

“Ross thinks he should’ve had a hat-trick. He had two or three headers but to be fair, one of the goalie’s saves was terrific. He should have scored in the second half but he did well again. It will be a difficult team to pick for Saturday which is a very, very big game. In fact, they’re all big games.

“I thought we were a bit open without Ross Docherty in there, I’ve got to say. As for [Stuart] Bannigan – I don’t have his stats but he must have covered 14km tonight. We’ve got options at striker now – we can also play Connor Murray or Tiff off the striker – and that’s got to be good moving forward.”

Tiffoney had only arrived in Glasgow that same day before producing a debut to remember for the Jags as he danced, jinked and drove at opposition defenders. But it was only through a slice of luck that the 22-year-old was even playing for Thistle, after right-back Ryan Williamson returned earlier than expected from his own lengthy lay-off.

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“It was a late one,” McCall said of Tiffoney’s acquisition. “Young Adam Devine – we felt Ryan Williamson was going to be out for another month – and that’s why we signed him. But Ryan’s come back early and the medical team have done really well with him. So rather than staying here and not playing a game, he went back to Rangers and that allowed us to get another forward in.

“We needed a wide player who could play through the middle as well with a bit of pace and that’s what Tiff’s got. He did well tonight.”

Another player making his first appearance at Firhill was 18-year-old midfielder James Lyon, who was brought on for the last 20 minutes or so to see out the game.

McCall admits that he’s got high hopes for the youngster – adding that he hopes to see another couple of youngsters take the step up to men’s football in future.

McCall said: “Listen, I don’t want to build the kid up but since he’s came in and I’ve been able to see him – I think he’s got a big, big future. I see things in him that you can’t coach – I don’t care how good a coach you are, you can’t coach it. His awareness of space, how he takes the ball, how he moves over the ground.

“He’s joined on a two-year deal with three other young boys we’ve got big hopes for. Part of my remit when I returned was to build the club up. We’ve not been able to do that because of the circumstances – that’s nobody’s fault – but he’s definitely a player who I think has got a big future. And you know what? I really enjoy watching him play football. I’ve been doing this a long time and that’s what I want – to enjoy watching people play football.”