Partick’s Baltoni keen to build bond with Lee Mair

Conrad Balatoni in action for Partick Thistle. Picture: SNS
Conrad Balatoni in action for Partick Thistle. Picture: SNS
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CONRAD Baltoni says he is keen to build an off-field friendship with new Partick team-mate Lee Mair in order to strengthen their fledgling on-pitch partnership.

Former St Mirren defender Mair swapped Paisley for Firhill after being released by Saints last Friday and has already racked up two games alongside centre-half sidekick Balatoni.

But the 22-year-old admits he is still to get to know the ex-Aberdeen and Dundee man as a person and as a player. He has, though, discovered that Mair has got a second job flogging Herbalife nutritional supplements but is keen to now learn the tricks of the trade that have helped the 33-year-old clock up almost 370 career appearances.

“To be honest I didn’t know too much about Lee before he signed,” said Balatoni ahead of Mair’s reunion with his old side at St Mirren Park today. “I’d seen him a couple of times for St Mirren and I thought he was good. But since he’s joined us, you can see he can play and he fits in with our system well.

“Now it’s just about forming a relationship. As centre-halves we are the last line of defence and if you have got that understanding together off the field you will have a better one on it. He’s been quiet in the dressing room so far, I’m surprised he’s not tried to sell us that Herbalife stuff yet.

“He’s older than a lot of the young boys in our dressing room so maybe he feels like he will have to be the daddy of the group, but he is fitting in well. Lee’s a good guy and has already given me advice and I’ve listened to it, so hopefully I will improve.”

St Mirren manager Danny Lennon insists Mair will have nothing to prove when he returns to Paisley with his new team this afternoon.

The centre-back was released by Lennon last week after four-and-a-half years with Saints before quickly signing on with Thistle. But despite handing Mair just six appearances this term, Lennon insists he can be pleased with his contribution at the club, which included landing a League Cup winner’s medal last season.

“Lee Mair has got nothing to prove,” said Lennon. He was fantastic for our football club and we thank him for his efforts and his professionalism over the three-and-a-half years I worked with him. I hope everything works out well for Lee and his family over there at Thistle.

“He deserves that opportunity to go there and play for a club that will give him that chance to play first-team football week in and week out, so no, Lee has nothing to prove.”

Lennon has brought in Adam Campbell on loan from Newcastle this month and also snapped up winger Gregg Wylde following his release by Aberdeen. But he shot down suggestions he is also after Pittodrie striker Josh Magennis and refused to comment on claims he wants Ryan Stevenson from Hearts.

“Hearts are in a position where players may have to go out but I think it is inappropriate for me to mention any names or positions that we are looking at,” said Lennon.