IAN McCall has his heart set on having 2000 season ticket holders at Firhill next season – with the Partick Thistle manager getting the ball rolling by buying a couple of his own. 

The Jags sold 1231 season books for the 2020/21 campaign but McCall is confident that number can rise significantly this summer, particularly given the prospect of the return of supporters to stadia next term. 

Thistle fans were offered a refund for last season’s tickets after not being able to attend a single game but 97 per cent rejected the reimbursement, saving the Jags around £100,000. McCall admits he was blown away by the gesture – even if it didn’t exactly catch him off-guard. 

“It’s outstanding for a club of our size,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me. I think there are a lot of people at football clubs who wouldn’t claim it back but our club in particular – three per cent is remarkable. 

“The thing is for me to really get what I need [in the transfer window], we really need to bang out the season tickets. My target – not the board’s – is that we need to sell 1998 season tickets. I’m buying one for [my son] Edson and his pal. 

“You’ve got to add to that that the people who asked for a refund – there’s absolutely no problem with that. But people that are able – let’s get 2000 season tickets. If we’re allowed 2000 in when the season starts [20 per cent of Firhill's capacity] then that gets you in the door. 

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Partick Thistle left 'speechless' as 97% of fans reject season ticket refund offer

“It’s a big, big thing from us and a big drive for me personally. In a selfish way, it will allow me to maybe get one and a half to two players of a standard that the fans would absolutely love.” 

There is a sizeable chunk of the current crop In Maryhill that have never played in front of their own fans; not once have they soaked up the adulation from a packed-out ground. Their names are now woven into the fabric of the club after sealing the League One title in thrilling fashion last month and when supporters do return, they will have new heroes to celebrate. McCall hopes that he can bring in a couple of fresh recruits to thrill the Firhill stands. 

He explained: “I think the fans have had people they can really celebrate over the last 40 days but we’ve not really had that for a while until that point. We need to find a Chic Charnley; real football players that our fans can adore. 

“There are one or two there that are like that if I can get them. The season books are a really big thing. I’m not asking people to do it if they haven’t got the money – that’s fine – but we’ve really got to do it if the club is to be driven forward. 

“I would never say ‘back where we belong’ because that’s utter nonsense. But I do think outwith the top six or so clubs in Scotland there are a group of clubs – maybe 10, 14 – they should be in the Premiership or the top end of the Championship, and we’re one of them. 

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Hard work starts now for Ian McCall as Jags boss targets new recruits

“It doesn’t give you a divine right to it though. I’m banging on here but it’s why some of the stick we got about the draw with East Fife in March – you know, ‘how have we only drawn against East Fife?’. We’ve got no divine right to beat East Fife, that was the whole thing I had to bring back to the club. You need to be humble, there needs to be a bit of humility. East Fife’s home record was the best in the league until we went on that run!” 

Of course, it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows when fans do finally grace Firhill once again. There will be cheers and applause, sure, but there will also be the odd bit of stick. But McCall wouldn’t have it any other way. 

He added: “It will be absolutely fabulous. Even the ones that give me absolute pelters – and listen, there are probably three or four that no matter what I do, they’ll still give me pelters! I’d prefer to take pelters off the away fans, mind …”