Stuart Bannigan thanks Jackie McNamara after under-21 call-up
STUART Bannigan has paid tribute to former Partick Thistle manager Jackie McNamara after winning his first ever call-up for the Scotland Under-21s.
Bannigan and Thistle team-mate Stephen O’Donnell have both been included in Billy Stark’s squad for tomorrow’s friendly against Greece in Korinthos. The pair caught the eye of Stark after an impressive run of results by the Irn-Bru First Division side and Bannigan acknowledged McNamara’s role in their success.
The midfielder said: “He was the one who played us every week and got Thistle playing some not bad football. It’s mostly down to him.”
The phone call that broke the news of the call-up came from McNamara, who quit Firhill to take over at Dundee United last week. Bannigan added: “It was unexpected. I got a phone call last Sunday night just saying it was a possibility and to be aware of it. I wasn’t taking it for granted until it was official.
“It was a good feeling. I’ve never had this before at any level. There is a wee bit of apprehension but I’m just delighted and looking forward to it. I’m a First Division player but they obviously recognise we are doing not a bad job at Partick Thistle.”
With the qualifiers for the Uefa European Under-21 Championship for 2015 set to get under way next month, Bannigan said: “Hopefully I get a bit of game-time on Wednesday. I don’t know much about the opposition but if you want to be the best you have to play against different kinds of players.”
The young Scots will face the Netherlands, Slovakia, Georgia and Luxembourg in the qualifiers, but Bannigan added: “I’ll just concentrate on this week and see how I do.”
Fraser Fyvie, Stefan Scougall, David Smith and Lewis Toshney have all pulled out of the squad ahead of the Korinthos encounter. Their absence has paved the way for call-ups for Fraser Kerr and Callum Tapping.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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