FOR some coaches, receiving recognition and rewards for their team’s performances would be held up as evidence of the strength of collective effort. For Ian McCall, though – winner of the Championship’s manager of the month award for November after guiding his Partick Thistle team to four straight victories – it’s a far more straightforward prospect.

“I heard [Raith Rovers manager] John McGlynn last month thanking all the coaches and staff but for me it’s not about that,” McCall said with a mischievous glint in his eye. “For me, it’s all about me and I’m delighted I got it. And you can quote me on that.”

The Jags boss’ tongue was firmly in his cheek when making that quip but the joke disguises some of the excellent work that has gone on at Firhill lately. With just one defeat in 10 games in all competitions and a run of seven straight clean sheets, the Jags are finding form at a crucial juncture in the season ahead of this afternoon’s fixture at Palmerston.

Key to that run of shut-outs, naturally, is goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon. The 24-year-old’s current streak without conceding is a club record and while the shot-stopper’s form has given McCall grounds for optimism, he expects the goalie to hit further heights still.

“He’ll be a lot more confident once he signs his contract extension, which he’s been humming and hawing about,” McCall observed.

“He’s done really well. In the last couple of games he’s not had much to do but he’s done a lot of unglorified goalie work and done it really well: taking things in the air and using the ball.

“He’s done really well but I think he would be the first to say that it’s about the team, particularly the back four and the middle two. But even our strikers work their socks off to press the ball quite high up the pitch.”

As McCall alludes to, Sneddon’s deal is up in the summer and will be free to speak to potential suitors in January as he enters the final six months of his contract. Key players like Tunji Akinola and Zak Rudden find themselves in the same boat and their retention is a priority for the Jags.

The good news for Thistle supporters is that the trio are closing in on new deals and are expected to extend their stays in Glasgow’s west end within the coming days, while left-back Stephen Hendrie – whose deal was set to expire in January – yesterday committed to stay with the Jags until the end of the season.

Speaking on Thursday, McCall said: “I think within the next five days that Akinola, Sneddon, Rudden and Stephen Hendrie will all have extended, I hope.”

With the January window on the horizon, it is only natural that McCall’s thoughts have drifted to recruitment. Thistle’s squad is relatively small but even so, the Jags boss is reluctant to enter the market unless the right player becomes available. Keeping the balance within the squad, he explains, is of utmost importance.

“We’ve been thinking and talking about that [the January window],” McCall admitted. “I can only see maybe one coming in, maybe two. I don’t think there will be a lot of people leaving – maybe one or two, possibly.

“But I can’t for the life of me think it’s worth letting [down] two or three of the boys that have been coming on and doing well but not getting a regular start, considering how well they’re thought of and how well they’re training.

“If the right player becomes available that can help us over a longer period then we might do something there but I’m very, very happy with the togetherness of the squad right now.”