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Last Updated: Monday, 4 August, 2003, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Jags out to avoid the drop
Jakup Mikkelsen and Jean-Yves Anis are two of several signings
Jakup Mikkelsen and Jean-Yves Anis are two of several signings
It's all change at Partick Thistle, with a new manager and almost an entirely new team set to take the field this season.

The Jags finished their first season back in the top flight for seven years in a respectable 10th spot and avoiding the bottom of the 12-team pile will once again be the target.

Thistle legend John Lambie stepped down from his third stint in charge at Firhill at the end of last season and his long-serving assistant Gerry Collins has finally taken over the reigns from his mentor.

But Collins will have to do without many of the players from the team he helped Lambie develop.

Several key players have been lured away over the summer by the promise of higher earnings elsewhere.

Top scorer Alex Burns has departed, along with midfield organiser Martin Hardie and an entire back four - Alan Archibald, Scott Paterson, Kevin McGowne and Stephen Craigan.

Only Jamie Mitchell, Kenny Arthur, David Lilley, David Rowson and skipper Derek Whyte look like remaining in the first team plans.

Collins must rely heavily on his new signings - but the good news is that there are plenty of them.

Experienced Faroe Islands international goalkeeper Jakup Mikkelsen has arrived to challenge Arthur for the gloves.

Young defenders Jean-Yves Anis, Andy Ross and Paul Kaczan have not been tested at this level, while Grant Murray has never looked the most composed centre half during his times with Hearts and St Johnstone.

Stuart Taylor, who was with Falkirk last season, is a talented player who can pull the strings from midfield and has an eye for long-range shooting, while Stephane Bonnes will be out to prove himself after years in the Celtic reserve set-up.

Andy Thomson will be asked to lead the line and Collins will be hoping the big striker can use his experience in England with QPR and Gillingham to good effect.

With Gerry Britton reaching the end of his career and now involved in the coaching staff, Thomson's strike partner looks like being James Grady.

The former Dundee forward could only manage five goals for Ayr United last season, while Collins' other striking options are limited to youngsters John Gemmill, Emmanuel Panther and Ricky Waddell.


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