IAN McCALL knows that his Partick Thistle players face a difficult test at Tannadice this afternoon as his side look to record their first win of 2020.

The Jags played out a nil-nil draw against fellow Championship strugglers Queen of the South on Tuesday night but McCall saw enough positives from the stalemate to believe that Thistle can cause an upset in the City of Discovery today.

The clean sheet was the first that McCall's side have recorded in the league this season and after Rangers loanee Lewis Mayo made his debut – and collected the man-of-the-match award – the former Ayr United manager believes that his defence is beginning to shape up nicely.

"The centre-backs, with Tam [O'Ware] in the middle are quick," he said. "In a back three I think that is important. At home we might look to play a more attacking wing-back on one side so we will see. I was very pleased with how [Darren] Brownlie and Mayo played.

"Lewis is a great boy and that will stand him in good stead. A lot of players might have more ability but you have to have a great attitude and I know already he has that. I think he will do well in the game. He could have scored the other night and he knows that.

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"He played against Stephen Dobbie and at Dundee United he will face Lawrence Shankland. Outside of the Old Firm you won’t play against better strikers in Scotland than those two. It is a great experience.

"I think young players need minutes on the park. People talk about coaching them and that is right, but they need to play games. That’s what we can give Lewis. He is a fit boy but he was a bit sore on Thursday and that shows the difference to Under-20s football to first team football. He was a bit shaky in the first half on Tuesday but in the second was terrific."

The Championship's top-scorer, Lawrence Shankland, is United's most potent threat in front of goal this afternoon and McCall is all-too-familiar with just how deadly the 24-year-old can be. The Thistle boss coached Shankland at Ayr United for two seasons and despite Dundee United shelling out for his wages, McCall believes the Scotland striker was a savvy acquisition from the Tayside club.

"He has been worth a lot of points to Dundee United and he has justified the money they are paying him," he said. "We can’t worry just about him, all I am worrying about is my team. There might be two or three changes but we are going to have to freshen things up with so many games in March."