IAN McCALL is hopeful that Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock's request to allow supporters into tomorrow night’s Championship fixture will be heard but accepts it is a long shot.

With the restrictions on crowd sizes at sporting events being lifted on Monday, both clubs have asked for fans to be able to attend the match at Firhill.

Chairman Jacqui Low explained: “Partick Thistle was pleased to hear the good news that restrictions on fan numbers at games are to be removed. However, we don’t understand why this hasn’t happened immediately.

“As well as the significant financial impact on Thistle, this decision means our fans face another game where the majority cannot attend and we cannot welcome opposition fans.

“We have asked the question to see if there is any scope to bring the date forward as we owe it to our fans to try. We know it’s a long shot and unlikely to be changed but the right thing to do was to state our case rather than simply accept being disadvantaged again.”

McCall echoed the club’s concerns but conceded that ultimately, the decision does not rest with him.

“I’m hopeful but as our chairman and board said in the statement, I think it’s unlikely,” he said. “But, I’m not sure what difference three days makes. It would be great if we could do that.

“At this late stage, Kilmarnock would still be able to bring 2000 with them. We’d have over 2000 and the crowd would be over 5000.

“I think the board’s done the right thing and we’ve just got to wait and see what the guys at the top of tree say.”

With the transfer market open and in full swing, McCall admits that playing a match in front of a reduced crowd would have significant financial side-effects. He revealed his plans have been changed somewhat by the reduction of income but backed the club’s board to make up the shortfall.

“We’ve got a clear picture of what we’re trying to do in January,” he said. “That picture has changed because of the situation. I’m in 100 percent agreement with the board on that.

“Since I’ve arrived, everything we’ve tried to do is long term because of the state of the club when I arrived. We’ve come on leaps and bounds.

“But because of situation around the world and in Scotland, we’ve tried to do things short term now. We’d be trying to maybe sign two players of quality on loan. That is covered right now.

“But obviously [not having] a 5000-plus home gate is going to leave a little hole. The board have managed this situation really well and you hear a lot of chairmen around Scotland saying how much it’s cost them.

“Our case is a little bit different as well. We were demoted [in 2019-20] when we shouldn’t have been. We got £150,000 when part-time clubs got £500,000 from the government or whoever it was from. We’ve been hit, I don’t think there’s any point saying we’ve been hit the worst because everybody has been hit bad.

“It’ll leave a hole but we’re well managed by the board to get through it.”

The Thistle manager added that while his team have only had to play one game so far with crowd restrictions in place, he is eagerly anticipating the return of fans in their droves.

“We had three games off with Covid cases and a waterlogged pitch,” he explained. “We’ve had one game.

“I’ve got to say that I did notice it but it was a pretty extreme situation because we took over a 1000 fans to Hamilton last time and won 6-1 so the atmosphere, for us, was electric. I’m not quite so sure it was good for Hamilton.

“On Saturday, although the second half was a terrific game of football, it was just dead. We’d probably have had 1500 fans behind the goal we were shooting into in the second half, it might have helped Scott Tiffoney put the ball in the net rather than miss a sitter.

“It’s not nice. We went through it last season and coped with it reasonably well last season.

“The night we won the title, there would have been seven or eight thousand at Firhill. And there were 300 at the canal. There was about a thousand on Firhill Street afterwards, mind you.”

Speculation abounds over the future of Scotland Under-21 internationalist Zak Rudden, with a host of top-flight clubs keeping tabs on the striker, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

St Johnstone have already had an approach rejected this month and Motherwell are the latest Premiership side to be credited with an interest in the centre-forward – but McCall said there have been no new offers in the last week.

McCall said: “No, [there’s no update]. He scored a good goal last week and trained really well.

“He is in contention for tomorrow. I believe there are a number of people coming to watch the game so we will see what happens after that.

“No, [there have been no fresh bids]. There have been four, five, six or whatever but nothing even remotely like we would be interested in.”