Partick Thistle managing director Ian Maxwell says that it is time for the club to assess its position within Scottish football.

Maxwell has welcomed last week’s deal that left the club debt-free, but has warned that they must use the removal of that burden as a catalyst to improve further.

Despite the significant progress made by the club in recent years, Maxwell believes that the challenge for them now has to be in establishing themselves as a club able to compete nearer the top end of the Premiership.

He said: “I think the big question that we need to address is, who are we as a club? Where are we in terms of Scottish football?

“At this point in time in terms of support, infrastructure, hospitality and everything we’re trying to do, we’re probably somewhere between 8th and 16th. The problem that we’ve got is that from 13th down you aren’t in the Premiership.

“If you look at the 12 clubs that are there, you’ve then got Rangers and Hibs who are bigger clubs than us, Falkirk, St Mirren and even Dunfermline who are probably around the same size, so it’s about trying to become a club between fourth and eighth.

“We don’t want to stay where we are now and be in this relegation dogfight every year, we want to go and become a team like St Johnstone for instance.

“In terms of size of club they’re not that different to us, and the challenge now is to be that club that is thinking at the start of the season ‘can we make Europe?’ not ‘can we avoid relegation?’.

“It’s fine lines. It’s an extra few punters through the door, it’s making sure you’re maximising every revenue stream at the club, and I think that’s where St Johnstone are maybe a wee bit ahead of us at the moment as a club.”

To achieve the progress that Maxwell wants, he believes that Partick Thistle must take themselves more seriously as a business, and maximise every possible revenue stream.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that Scottish clubs have been slow to start treating themselves like any other business. It puzzles me because we’ve got very successful business people on our board, and it’s not specific to Partick Thistle at all.

“I don’t think that businessmen on any board in Scotland would say that they run their clubs the same way they run their businesses, and I don’t really know why, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t.

“Things like the student offer that we’re doing, it’s not enough to just do these things. The problem is that we need to know who we are giving these offers to and who these people are.

“Our biggest variable that we have is on a Saturday, where on average we might have around 2500 home supporters. We have around 1500 season ticket holders, of which around 1200-1300 will turn up, so there’s probably around 1000 people turning up that we don’t know who they are, because they’re paying in. It can’t be the same 1000 every week, otherwise they would all have a season ticket.

“So that 1000 might be 5000 people, but we’re not communicating with them. We’ll put stuff on the website and if they choose to go and look at it they’ll see it, but if we could get an email or a newsletter or a flyer to just connect with these people it would help.

“We’re looking at stuff like free Wi-Fi for supporters where they have to log in with an email address to access it. Could we run competitions where they text us so we have their mobile number? It has to be something different.

“Part of the student deal is that they have to send us an email prior to the game. There’s no value to us to just let people in for nothing then they disappear and you never see them again.

“What we’ve not done well enough before is in analysing what we’ve done, and we’ve been reactive rather than proactive.

“We’ve never been good enough at that but now that’s what we’re doing. With the student offer we’ll sit down after the event and look at how many it brought in, if we marketed it effectively like any other business would and learn from it.”