KEVIN Holt reckons his adventures on the continent have made him a more well-rounded player – but the Partick Thistle defender insists he has not returned to Scotland just for the sake of it.

The left-back, who last week signed a two-year deal at Firhill, has spent two of the past three seasons in Cyprus after departing Dundee in 2018, turning out for Pafos initially before a sojourn with Ermis Araddipou.

Those spells in Europe bookended a return to Palmerston for the 2019/20 campaign but Holt put his time in the Mediterranean to good use. Despite featuring primarily as a full-back in Scotland, the 28-year-old enjoyed a new lease of life slightly further infield – adding a rather sizeable string to his bow.

“It was a different challenge,” Holt explained. “Obviously, it’s a different culture and different style of coaching over there. It was good to experience – and the weather helped as well!

“I had options to stay over there – both with the club and I had a few other offers as well. But my kids are two and five and they’re going to be starting school next year, so it’s better for them to get back home and settle down.

“When I spoke to Neil Scally and the gaffer about coming to Thistle, they were really ambitious about trying to get back to the Premiership. I didn’t want to come home just to sign for someone back home – I wanted it to be the right move. The offers to stay abroad are better financially but I wanted to come back and join an ambitious team that want to go and do something.”

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So, promotion? “That’s the plan,” Holt confirms. “When I was at Dundee a few years ago, Thistle were a top-six Premiership team. There’s definitely potential to get the club back there and if that can happen when I’m here, that would be ideal.

“The two years I played in Cyprus I basically played all my football as a centre-back. Sometimes I’d play on the left of a back three or as a centre-half in a four last season. It’s something that I’ve not played much in Scotland – only maybe 10 or 15 games – but over there, with the style of play and things like that, the manager had me playing there.

“I’ve played the majority of my career at left-back so for me it’s good to learn it. Especially being out of the limelight and being abroad – it took the pressure off of learning a new position a bit, so it was really good for me. I’m confident and comfortable now playing left-back and left centre-back.”

Holt – whose father, Gordon, used to play schools football with Ian McCall – will likely be competing for a starting berth with 35-year-old Richard Foster, who enjoyed a fine debut campaign in red-and-yellow on the left of the defence.

Holt says he is looking forward to work alongside the former Rangers and Aberdeen full-back – adding that while he has still to meet up with his new team-mates, there are one or two familiar faces in the first-team squad when he turns up for his first training session.

He said: “I played against Fozzy when he was at Rangers and I was at Queens. That was a few years ago now but I spoke to a few boys and he had a really good year last season when he went to left-back.

“The more experience in the team and the extra competition for places – it just drives you all on. It should be like that because if you go somewhere thinking you’re guaranteed games, you never get the best out of yourself.

“I was golfing today with Neil Scally and Darren Brownlie – I know Daz and Connor Murray from my time at Queens. I know a few of the boys from nights out and bumping into other teams and things like that. There won’t be too many unfamiliar faces when I go into training in a couple of weeks.”

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After spending over a month off following the conclusion of the Cypriot campaign, Holt added that he is raring to go when the squad meet up for pre-season training in the coming weeks. His only hope is that by the time he makes his debut at Firhill, the stands will be occupied in some capacity.

He said: “It’s not long now! But I’ve been off for four or five weeks after the season finished in Cyprus so I feel like I’ve already had my summer. I’m looking forward to getting out there – probably more so than the other boys.

“It’s been a strange year but it would be great if come the first day of the season, the fans are back in. There were some at the play-off games so hopefully the situation keeps getting better and they can get back in for the first game.”

Partick Thistle season tickets went on sale on Wednesday with McCall setting a personal target of 2000 sales. They are off to a flying start with as many season books sold in the first 24 hours as it took a week to shift in 2019, the Jags’ previous Championship season. Fans can purchase a 2021/22 season ticket at