Celtic’s Lee O’Connor didn’t have the best of starts to his loan move to Partick Thistle. The right-back played the entire 90 minutes as the Jags lost 2-1 to Arbroath and as a result now sit bottom of the Championship.
He would have been hoping for a far better start to his time at Firhill. However, a feisty relegation battle could well be the making of the player’s career.
The reason for that is he will get to experience how tough life is at the bottom end of the Championship. That could mean he will need to learn to play a different style of football than he has so far in his career at Celtic and Manchester United.
Will need to battle and scrap
He will need to battle and scrap to make sure that Partick don’t get relegated to League One. That could benefit his game.
It could also be a feather in the cap of the player should he perform well enough to help the Jags avoid the drop. That might well impress Neil Lennon and the other members of the staff at Celtic about the progress he is making.
O’Connor disclosed recently that he moved to Partick so he could play first-team football, after getting a taste of it for the Irish national team.
He probably knew before he moved to Partick that it would be a difficult season for Thistle, as they have been around the relegation zone for the majority of the season.
However, the experience of first-team football could well do more for the player than any number of reserve games. Players surely learn more from first-team football than reserve games.
Hopefully defeat doesn’t dent player’s confidence
Hopefully the loss in his debut doesn’t dent O’Connor’s confidence going forward. If he plays to the best of his abilities, and adapts to his surroundings at Partick, then his performances might well help the Jags stave off relegation.
Then he can return to Celtic a battle-hardened player, ready for more first-team football, in a situation much different from that Partick, as the Hoops are at the very top of the Scottish game.
A January loan move to Kilmarnock helped Kristoffer Ajer’s career. After playing 17 games for the Rugby Park side he has become a regular for Celtic in the last few seasons. Hopefully the same thing will happen to O’Connor.