Prize guy but Pen­rice does not feel like a win­ner yet

Evening Times - - SPORT - BY GRAEME McGARRY

OC­TO­BER, to put it kindly, was a month for Partick This­tle to for­get.

It all kicked off with a home de­feat to Ross County that saw the cur­tain come down on man­ager Alan Archibald’s five-year reign at the club.

The ap­point­ment of Gary Cald­well may work out in time, but it did not have the im­me­di­ate im­pact that the Firhill board would have been hop­ing for, with an­other home de­feat to Dundee United fol­lowed by con­sec­u­tive sin­gle-goal re­verses to Al­loa and Ayr. The less said about the start to No­vem­ber, the bet­ter.

But at least one player at Firhill that can hold his head up high is young de­fender James Pen­rice, who took the club’s McCrea Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices player of the month award for Oc­to­ber and ad­mit­ted he’s a lit­tle em­bar­rassed to have re­ceived it given the for­tunes of his team.

“I’m glad that the sup­port­ers have voted for me and given me this award,” Pen­rice said. “That be­ing said, it ob­vi­ously hasn’t been a very good month for us, but I’m very thank­ful to have re­ceived the recog­ni­tion.

“It’s over­shad­owed by how we are play­ing as a whole and the re­sults we are hav­ing. We haven’t been any­where near our best this month and it hasn’t been great by any stan­dard.

“The per­for­mance lev­els have been way below what we need to achieve what we want this sea­son, so we have to look to the In­ver­ness game on Satur­day to change that.”

The 19-year-old ad­mits that his emer­gence as a first­team fix­ture at This­tle hasn’t been the fairy­tale he might have dreamed of a year or two ago, but he be­lieves that the cur­rent ad­ver­sity he is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing may just be the mak­ing of him.

“It’s been hard,” he said. “It would have been a lot eas­ier com­ing into the team if we were win­ning very week, but in a funny way, it can stand me in good stead be­cause I don’t want to be back in this sit­u­a­tion and have this sort of feel­ing ever again.”

Pen­rice of course knows all about the chal­lenge of play­ing in the Cham­pi­onship, hav­ing spent a part of last sea­son on loan, iron­i­cally, at Liv­ingston, who beat This­tle in the play-offs to take their place in the top-flight.

And he feels as if the suc­cess he and his tem­po­rary team-mates had at the Tony Mac­a­roni Arena is, in a round about way, hav­ing a detri­men­tal ef­fect on his par­ent club even now.

“A lot of teams have prob­a­bly looked at what we had at Liv­ingston last sea­son and have mod­elled them­selves on that blue­print,” he said.

“A lot of the time, there is no foot­ball be­ing played re­ally. Teams go di­rect, and it is work­ing for them to be fair.

“We can prob­a­bly add that side to our game, but we don’t re­ally want to aban­don play­ing foot­ball. The board were right in the sum­mer, we want to play the This­tle way.”

■ McCrea Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices, an in­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cial ad­viser based in Glas­gow, is a long term spon­sor of Partick This­tle. McCreas pro­vide a wide range of ser­vices for get­ting the most out of your fi­nances.

Young full-back James Pen­rice picks up the Partick This­tle Player of the Month award for Oc­to­ber

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