Partick Thistle are set to receive a club record transfer fee of £350,000 from Barnsley for central defender Liam Lindsay. The Yorkshire club’s bid was accepted yesterday and now they are free to negotiate personal terms with the player.
Thistle manager Alan Archibald, himself a former centre-half, has mentored the 21-year-old since he signed professional forms at Firhill in 2012 and is confident that moving to Oakwell will lead to Lindsay finally gaining international recognition.
He suffered from unfashionable club syndrome last season when, in spite of scoring seven goals in 42 appearances and being included in PFA Scotland’s Premiership Team of the Year, he was overlooked by Scotland at Under-21 level.
That was a source of great frustration for the player but Archibald believes that Barnsley – Thistle will be entitled to 20per cent should Barnsley make a profit by selling him on – represents the right move at the right time for Lindsay, who last week rejected interest from Oxford United. Archibald said: “League One wasn’t right for him and I don’t mean any disrespect to Oxford but, in terms of trying to get into the Scotland squad, then you need to be in the Championship.
“Unless you are at that level then I think the international manager might not even look at you.
“There are a couple of guys in League One who play and don’t get a sniff. I was reading an interview with Murray Wallace, who left Falkirk to sign for Scunthorpe, and he can’t get in. The higher the level then the better the prospects. I hope Liam can establish himself as a Championship player.”
Barnsley signed Scotland Under-21 playmaker Stevie Mallan from St Mirren last month and Archibald is convinced that Lindsay can usurp players such as Christophe Berra, Russell Martin, Charlie Mulgrew and Grant Hanley, who all won Scotland caps while playing in England’s second tier last season.
“Should Liam keep progressing then he will play for Scotland,” he said. “But he’s got to keep progressing; his career can’t stall. He’s got to keep getting better and better and, hopefully, the Scotland management team will take note.
“He’ll be in the spotlight in a Championship side. This is the next step in his career. Another 40 games here – if he was to stay – would not harm him; I think he’s a better player for having played so many games for us.
“Whether he’s here or there, though, it’s all about him raising the bar and the level of performance.”
Alex McLeish recently bemoaned the fact that this country no longer produces out-and-out defenders of the calibre of himself and former Aberdeen team-mate Willie Miller but Archibald insists that Lindsay is cut from similar cloth.
“He had the raw materials at 16 and he’s something of a dying breed in Scottish football in that he’s a big, honest centre-half [he is 6ft 3in] who wins headers and tackles,” said Archibald.
“That’s what I saw in him – he was powerful and not the slowest either.
“He wasn’t your typical academy player; they’re normally tidy on the ball but don’t have the rawness to just go and head the ball. Liam was the opposite; we had to work on him when he was on the ball.”
Meanwhile, Thistle yesterday announced that legal firm Just Employment Law will be their main sponsor for next season.