JAMIE SNEDDON is hoping to recapture the form he was producing towards the end of last season as Partick Thistle embarked on a late rampage to seal the League One title – but the goalkeeper admits that the arrival of Harry Stone on loan from Hearts means he has a fight for the gloves.

The 24-year-old suffered an injury after the first game of the season last term and didn’t feature for Ian McCall’s side until the new year, playing an important role as the Jags built up a head of steam at perfect time in the title race.

Sneddon has found himself in and out of the starting XI this season – a howler at Gayfield was enough for McCall to give Stone a go between the sticks for a period – but after a run of games and string of encouraging performances, he appears to be first choice in goal. Now that he’s earned that distinction, Sneddon is determined to keep things that way.

“The few months where I was out injured last season were not ideal but I’ve put that behind me and the end to last season was a dream,” Sneddon recalled. “I was looking to come in this season and carry that on.

“It was a rough start and I was in and out the team a bit at the start of the season but recently I’ve been happy with my performances in large. It’s about getting a bit of momentum under my belt. Hopefully I can help the team and be the No.1 going forward.”

Of his new competitor for a starting spot, he added: “Harry’s a great young goalkeeper. You can see how highly rated he is by Hearts and since he’s came in he’s been really good.

“It’s been brilliant for both of us: driving each other on in training every day, each of us wanting to be better than the other. But at the same time enjoying that challenge and thriving on it.”

Thistle’s strong start to the season has lost some of its shine in recent weeks. Three defeats in their last three outings – to Inverness, Kilmarnock and Raith, all sides above them in the standings – have resulted in Thistle losing ground early on in the race for the play-offs, but Sneddon is adamant that he and his team-mates are ready to turn things around, starting at home to Ayr tomorrow.

“We know that losing those three games isn’t good enough for where we want to be,” he admitted. “They were three tough games so it’s a good indicator of how much we need to improve.

“We also had a lot of good spells in those games so we can take confidence from that but it’s about bouncing back now, putting it right on Saturday and starting another run.

“You always know you’re going to get a tough game when you’re playing Ayr United. They’re hard working, they’re physical and they’re good at what they do.

“Even in the first half [against Raith], I think we had large spells where we were probably the better team. We came out for the second half, missed a few chances in the first 10 or 15 minutes and then they got the penalty for their second goal.

“It was small margins in that game, I think – obviously, we ended up 3-0 down but it could have been different.

“We showed a lot of character to keep going and managed to get two goals towards the end. If we had played a few extra minutes, who knows what would have happened because we were really on top. We’re definitely still confident in our ability as a team.”