Partick Thistle’s budget for the upcoming season will be lower than the previous one. But that doesn’t mean that expectation levels will drop at the Wyre Stadium At Firhill.

Kris Doolan’s side came within inches of sealing promotion to the cinch Premiership last term, finishing in fourth place before embarking on a remarkable run through the play-offs where they swatted aside their opponents with apparent ease until 20 fateful minutes in Dingwall consigned the Jags to another campaign in Scottish football’s second tier.

With Thistle having to tighten the belt after posting a six-figure loss last season, the Glasgow club are already feeling the pinch. Four regular starters – Scott Tiffoney, Kyle Turner, Ross Docherty and Kevin Holt – departed Maryhill once their contracts expired, but the rebuild is well and truly underway.

Thistle’s summer transfer business kicked off on Monday when former Kilmarnock striker Scott Robinson became Doolan’s first signing. A few hours later centre-back Wasiri Williams, recently released from Swansea, became the Jags legend’s second, while new contracts have been drawn up and signed by Brian Graham and Aidan Fitzpatrick.

The squad is beginning to take shape but Doolan is aware that the summer transfer window is a marathon and not a sprint. With two months to add to the team, the 36-year-old will be applying a patient approach to the club’s wheeling and dealing – and insists that the only limit to the team’s hopes for the upcoming season is its ambition.

READ MORE: Brian Graham reveals transfer approach - and explains why he signed new deal

“I am confident that this will be the squad and we will add to it,” Doolan said. “I want to do it strategically. I could sign 20 players in one day but that’s not what is best for Partick Thistle.

“We have to be selective and bring in the right type of people and players. I am conscious of that. It is about putting in the work behind the scenes to get one player in - it is incredible the time and effort it takes.

“If you have to do that across half a squad, then it will take time but it is a long window. I know how the transfer window works but I am happy to stick to the strategy.

“We have brought in boys who I think will make us better and bring a lot to the team on and off the park. Scott Robinson has experience of the Premiership and Wasiri Williams has a huge future ahead of him. He has been well coached as a youngster but we will make him better.

“That is exciting and it will help the boys who are here and we will look to continue to add to make the group better.”

He continued: “When the budget drops you have to assess what you want to do. I have ambitions and want to take the club as far as I can.

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“I will start the season with that same mentality. We will play to win every game, like we always do. If you box things off all the time you put yourself under massive pressure. For me, I want that freedom for everyone that there is no limit.

“The budget is the budget. If you have a heart and soul that wants to play here then you will give everything. You can still achieve a lot if you do that. We have never been blessed with a massive budget. Even when we were in the Premiership we had a small budget but we stayed up for five years.

“It is one of them where yes, it is difficult when the budget comes down, but we are at a stage where we are bringing boys in. They can make us better and we can improve them. So we have to have a long-term plan behind it.

“It’s not season to season, I want to bring in boys for the future. We want to hold onto our assets but it takes time to build up your assets and I will put in the effort to make it successful.”

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This is Doolan’s first transfer window as a manager and the former striker, who sits fourth in Thistle’s all-time top scorer table, and it has already proven to be an eye-opening experience for him. Like the players, he enjoyed a brief respite from the beautiful game before returning to training on Monday – but he is quickly learning just how all-consuming the manager’s gig at Firhill can be.

“I was away but there was no break,” he explained. “I’ve realised that as a manager there are no days off or no real time off. I went away with the family to Portugal only for a week but to be honest I was on the phone all the time.

“You still have to make time for your children. At the end of the day, I’m a dad so there has to be a balance where it doesn’t completely take over your life, which it easily could. I can see how that happens. You have to make time for your family. We have been through a lot recently and they are the ones who are with you in the good times and in the bad times.

“I’m aware of that but there’s not a lot of downtime, even on holiday. You can’t switch off completely. It never stops.”

With Docherty departing for Dundee United, there is an important decision hanging over Doolan: the small matter of who the next Thistle captain should be. The Jags manager says he is fortunate as he has plenty of viable candidates to choose from, but he insists that he expects every member of his squad to play a part in leading the team, whether they wear the armband or not.

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“I haven’t made up my mind on the captain,” he added. “That will be another sleepless night. It’s something that will come further down the line. I have so many things to sort out first.

“We will have one captain but I want 20 leaders. One guy wears the armband, I did at times, but you want everyone to lead.

“There is a difference between a captain and a leader. We should have 20-odd leaders – that is better than having one guy everyone listens too. It will happen but it isn’t that important.”