IAN McCALL admits that his Partick Thistle team will be slightly understrength when they face Hamilton Academical in the Championship this afternoon.

The Jags’ previous league fixture against Morton a week ago had to be postponed due to a Covid outbreak at Firhill and while he will be missing a few bodies, McCall is pleased that his team will finally be playing again after their last three outings were called off at the last minute.

“We still may have four or five unavailable but we certainly have enough to put a team on the pitch,” he explained. “There’s been nobody in [training] – Thursday was the first day anyone has been in, we just cleared the place out.

“We were low on numbers again but the main thing is we have enough to put a team on the pitch. We might put two or three of the younger ones on the bench.”

There is likely to be a new face in the matchday squad, too, after central midfielder Robbie Crawford yesterday agreed a move from Motherwell. The 27-year-old, who played under McCall at Somerset Park, has signed a six-month contract with the Glasgow club.

“I’m very pleased to bring Robbie to the club because he’s a top midfielder,” McCall told the club’s website. “Over the past two-and-a-half seasons he’s played a good number of games in the Premiership which shows the ability he’s got and having worked with him before, I know what he brings to a team.”

Goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon, who set a club record for consecutive clean sheets earlier this season, committed his future to the Jags by signing a one-year extension, while Herald and Times Sport understands that a new deal for another player is expected in the coming days.

McCall is optimistic that Sneddon’s rise from back-up goalkeeper to Thistle No.1 can continue now that the paperwork has been completed.

“This season Jamie’s developed other parts of his game,” he said. “His command of his box and his distribution have come on leaps and bounds and those are the things that a lot of goalkeeper’s struggle with.

“For him, it’s now about maintaining the levels he’s shown and continuing to show consistency for the rest of the season.”

Zak Rudden, whose contract expires at the end of the campaign, has been attracting top-flight interest. An approach from St Johnstone was rebuffed last week and McCall revealed another Premiership suitor has been turned away since.

“There was one other club in the Premiership, a new one, but that was turned down flat,” McCall said. “My preference is for Zak to sign a new contract and I still hope that he will – but it all depends on what comes in.

“He seems very happy, hopefully he’ll be okay to play on Saturday. It’s an ongoing situation but it’s happened to me a million times so it’s not freaking me out. It’s certainly not freaking Zak out.”

Rangers winger Jake Hastie is understood to still be part of McCall’s squad but is expected to be sent back to Ibrox after struggling to make an impression in the first team.

The Jags manager added that the current restrictions on crowds have impacted his plans in the market somewhat while he rejected the idea of recalling players loaned out by Thistle, such as Blair Lyons at Montrose or Mouhamed ‘Sena’ Niang at Alloa Athletic, for the time being.

“We’ve had to change tack a little bit in terms of what we wanted to do,” he said. “I still think there’s players out there but I’m not sure we’ll be offering two-and-a-half year contracts or things like that. Maybe other clubs will, I’ve no idea – that’s none of my business.

“I don’t think [we’ll recall loan players] but the main thing is our first team and trying to put a strong team on the pitch, but also the development of those players. I’ve always believed that’s a really good avenue to go down.

“We don’t need to make that decision right now, we can see how this rides out in the next week or two and then make that decision.”