BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
JAMES PENRICE is determined to follow in the footsteps of Liam Lindsay after returning to Partick Thistle following a successful loan stint at Livingston.
The 19-year-old has been recalled from his spell with Championship outfit Livi, having done enough in his 13 appearances for the Lions to convince Jags boss Alan Archibald he could have a part to play in the second half of the season.
And he reckons Lindsay is the prime example of what can be achieved, having spent time on loan at Alloa and Airdrie before becoming a standout at Firhill and sealing a move to Barnsley.
The 22-year-old is getting rave reviews at Oakwell and has been tipped as an English Premier League centre-half of the future.
Penrice said: “Liam [Lindsay] went out on loan twice and he is the proof that the pathway is there, if you work hard enough and play well.
“Then if you perform in the top league, there are always sides from down south watching the Scottish game. If you stand out, who knows where you can end up.”
And Penrice is adamant the conveyor belt of talent at the Thistle Weir Youth Academy is alive and well – and could save Archibald a fortune in the transfer market.
“I believe that soon when the gaffer needs a player, he won’t need to go out and buy – it will be in the system,” continued Penrice.
“I think the youth academy at Thistle is starting to bear fruit. Liam Lindsay has got a great move, Jack Hendry went down south and there is talent still at the club, like Andrew McCarthy, Neil McLaughlin, Kevin Nisbet.
“There comes a point when the gaffer has to go ‘do I put these boys in the side? Are they better than my senior guys’. It’s up to us to prove that. If you are doing well enough, he will put you in the side.”
Penrice, who has reported to Partick’s warm weather training camp in Spain this week as he bids to earn a starting berth, is adamant his three months in West Lothian have steeled him for the rigours of the top-flight.
He continued: “This loan has brought me on leaps and bounds and I’m going back to Thistle a better player. This has been the best thing for my career and I’m just so thankful to Livingston for taking a chance on me.”