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Football: Lambie's in as Jags axe falls.

Byline: By Hugh Keevins

JOHN LAMBIE returned to the Partick Thistle hotseat last night after co-bosses Gerry Britton and Derek Whyte were booted out of Firhill.

Thistle further turned back the clock when Brown McMaster again took control of the struggling club after chairman Tom Hughes stepped down.

Hughes claimed his decision had nothing to do with the axeing of Whyte and Britton.

But it's the coaching changes which will have the biggest effect on Thistle's chances of First Division survival.

Britton and Whyte were ordered not to return to the club until a settlement to release them from their jobs had been agreed. It will be the fourth time in Lambie's career that the great survivor has ruled the roost at the Maryhill club, although it will only be on a temporary basis.

He will take full responsibility for all team matters two years short of reaching pension age - and 18 months after he retired from football to become an associate director at Firhill.

He said: 'I was trying to remove glue from the floor of the new house I've moved into when the chairman, Tom Hughes, telephoned me about going back to Firhill.

Now I'm looking forward to the games against Ross County and Falkirk that are coming up in quick succession.'

Thistle have gone into freefall since Lambie decided to leave the front line at the end of season2002-03.His replacement, and long standing No.2, Gerry Collins, was only given 14 games before being sacked.

Chief executive Alan Dick said: 'The one option that wasn't open to us was allowing the status quo.Gerry and Derek are still contracted to the club but they will not be back at Firhill until the board meets to carry out a restructuring exercise.' A host of names are in the frame for the job, including former Clyde boss Alan Kernaghan and St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson.

Firhill midfielder Stevie Fulton said: 'I'm sure Mr Lambie will be cracking a few heads on the training ground from day one but I have to say I'm gutted for Gerry and Derek.

'The players have let them down because we didn't do enough on the park.

'I was at Falkirk when John was the manager here 10 years ago and I would like to think he can help us turn things round at Thistle - because the time for talking is over.'

CAPTION(S):

UNDER CONTRACT: Gerry Britton
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 21, 2004
Words:405
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