PARTICK THISTLE will be able to compete with the Old Firm in terms of attracting Glasgow's best young footballers after announcing they are to have the club’s first ever dedicated training ground.

Ian Maxwell, the managing director at Firhill, made this claim yesterday when he described the development as “transformational” for the club who last weekend secured a top six place in the Premiership, thus guaranteeing the team’s best finish since 1981.

Euromillions lottery winners Colin and Christine Weir, who have already put close to £1.5m into the club they support, are behind a company called Three Black Cats which will built the £4m facility with a site still to be finalised.

Read more: The Partick Thistle story: From fighting Samurai soldiers on a council scheme to their own state of the art training centre

Thistle are to pay rent on the property; however, the deal will feel like a steal if Thistle can at least operate at a closer level to Celtic and Rangers in terms of youth recruitment.

Asked if Thistle would be able to compete at youth level with the city's big two, Maxwell said: "Definitely. It’ll be huge for the academy in terms of having the one training centre and knowing where we’re going, but also in terms of the amount of time the coaches can spend with the kids which will increase because we don’t have to be off in an hour as there’s not another team coming on after us.

“So we’ve got to sell it as best we can and if they can see the training platform and that progression through to the first team then it gives us that opportunity. It's a massive part of all this.

“If you look at the Premiership, in a group of clubs of similar sizes, budgets and when there is a player available, we are all going for the same one and it’s about how you sell yourself as a football club, from the style of play, management and the players in the first team squad.

“But something like this, to be able to take a prospective signing to our training facility and show them what they’re getting rather than saying well we train here this day and if it’s raining we train there. So it’ll be incredible from that point of view."

Read more: The Partick Thistle story: From fighting Samurai soldiers on a council scheme to their own state of the art training centre

Maxwell, a former Thistle player, returned to Firhill four years ago when they were in the Championship and the club’s fortunes have improved exponentially over that time.

He said: “What does it mean for the club? Do you know I don’t actually think anybody can answer that question for another 15-20 years.

“It’s an unbelievable step forward. When you look at the strides we’ve made in the last few years, the training facilities and the fact we are all over the city on various nights of the week has been the one missing link. We’ve not had somewhere settled and dedicated that we can call our own.

“To be able to look forward to that it’s transformational for the football club.

“It would have been absolutely ridiculous a few years ago and it still feels absolutely ridiculous that I’m going to get to go and build one. It’s incredible.”

Maxwell also paid tribute to the Weir family. He said: “They are lovely people and they always do what they do because they want to do it. We are very fortunate that they are happy to back the club and they trust us as much as anything else.”