Partick Thistle are closing in on a new manager, with chief executive Gerry Britton confident that their new boss will be in place before they travel to Alloa this weekend.
Britton took charge of the side which went down 2-1 at home to Dundee United – and he is hoping that will be the only game that requires him to step into the dugout.
With Ayr United manager Ian McCall opting to stay with the league leaders, Thistle have been heavily linked with former Wigan and Chesterfield boss Gary Caldwell, who enjoyed a fine playing career with Newcastle United, Hibs, Celtic and Wigan as well as Scotland.
Jim Duffy, Jim McIntyre and Scot Gemmill have all been linked with the job, but 36-year-old Caldwell, who has one title success and three relegations on his managerial CV, is now the favourite for the post.
Britton said: “We have been working hard on bringing a new manager in. There has been a short-list identified and we are now going through the process of interviews and vetting.”
“We are hopeful that someone will be in before we play again.”
Thistle saw at close quarters the impact the right appointment can make with Robbie Neilson helping to inspire United to their Firhill success.
The Tannadice men, who have endured a dismal few years since relegation from the Premiership, sacked Csaba Laszlo after a grim start to the season and looked a more confident side against Thistle as they dominated the game until the closing stages when the home side finally came to life after a late goal.
Home goalkeeper Cammy Bell was in fine form with a series of stops. However, just when it looked as though United’s efforts would yield nothing in the first half, Fraser Fyvie released Sam Stanton on the right and his cross was hooked home by Fraser Aird.
The second 45 minutes got off to a great start for the visitors with Pavol Safranko tapping in after Paul McMullan had been denied by Bell and United looked all set to canter to victory. However, Thistle roared into life in the final quarter and Jai Quitongo slipped the ball through Benjamin Siegrist’s legs after shrugging off the attention of Rachid Bouhenna with 13 minutes left.
It was all Thistle now but United held on and Stanton praised the impact the new boss has made.
The former Hibs midfielder said: “The manager has given us a big lift. His training has been great, and he has given us all a new lease of life.
“He wants to get us promoted. That is his aim. He has a belief in the squad and that is why he took the job. He has his own ideas and everything he has done has been positive.
“The difference in a week is massive. Our belief has grown, and you could see that on the pitch. We were sharp.”
Stanton added: “We are not isolated behind the leaders. It is still very tight and if we can put wins together we will be right up there. The fans were great as well and we felt their backing for the whole game.
“It is a big lift for us as players to have them back on side.”