Thistle look to Duffy as Collins is sacked

DUNDEE’S Jim Duffy is believed to be top of Partick Thistle’s wanted list following the dismissal yesterday of Gerry Collins as manager at Firhill.

Collins, who was sacked following a 40-minute board meeting, pays the price for the club’s worst sequence of results in 95 years. Thistle are bottom of the Bank of Scotland Premierleague on two points, the last of which came in a 2-2 draw against Motherwell in August. Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Celtic was their tenth on the trot in the league - the Maryhill side’s worst losing run since 1908.

Thistle now hope the crisis at Dundee will persuade Duffy to leave Dens Park and return to Thistle, whom he played for in the early Nineties. Dundee were put into administration last week with debts of 20million and were forced to shed 15 players in a desperate bid to cut costs. Duffy described it as the worst week of his football career and indicated his own position as manager was uncertain.

As well as being a former Thistle player, Duffy hails from Maryhill. Whether that emotional tie would be enough to lure him back to the west end of Glasgow remains to be seen. He has achieved great things in his second spell as manager of Dundee, guiding the club to the Scottish Cup final and a place in the UEFA Cup. He will also be conscious of the anger caused when he walked out of the club in 1997 to take over Hibs.

Partick player/coach Gerry Britton will take charge of Thistle for Thursday’s CIS Insurance Cup third round tie against Celtic at Firhill. He will be assisted by captain Derek Whyte.

A statement from the club read: "The board of Partick Thistle FC, having given extended consideration to the club's current league position and related matters, has decided to terminate the appointment of team manager Gerry Collins with immediate effect.

"Gerry was an integral part of the management team which brought back-to-back championships to Firhill and oversaw Partick Thistle's return to the top level of Scottish football.

"Regrettably, however, the current position could not be sustained and, consequently, Gerry and assistant manager Bobby McCulley will now leave the club. The post of manager will be advertised in the course of the coming week."

Player-coach Chic Charnley also leaves the club.

Collins took charge from John Lambie towards the end of last season, winning his first game in charge at Hibernian on the final day of the season.

However, the optimism from that triumph began to vanish quickly as Thistle slipped to the foot of the table this season.

Lambie guided Thistle to successive promotions to earn the club their top-flight status with Collins as his No2. However, the veteran manager decided to take his retirement and moved ‘upstairs’ to allow the 48-year-old to take over the hot-seat.

But, after the win at Easter Road, Collins and McCulley, have found the going tough. Speculation has been rife over Collins’ future since the 4-2 home defeat to Kilmarnock eight days ago where some fans called for him to leave. The Firhill manager even announced his decision to ban his wife, Marie, from the ground this week to prevent hearing abuse against him.