Prize guy but Penrice does not feel like a winner yet
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