Former Celtic star Jackie McNamara set to be named new Dundee United boss
JACKIE MCNAMARA looks set to be named Dundee United manager after Partick Thistle confirmed they had granted their boss permission to speak to the Tayside club.
McNamara and Falkirk boss Steven Pressley emerged as the leading candidates to replace Peter Houston in the past few days and reports that the Jags boss would be unveiled tomorrow were followed by a statement from the Glasgow club.
It read: "Following an approach from Dundee United, the board of directors of Partick Thistle Football Club have reluctantly granted permission for Jackie McNamara and Simon Donnelly to speak to them about their vacant managerial position."
United are understood to be optimistic of concluding the deal tomorrow, although there is no guarantee that McNamara will be unveiled in the next 24 hours.
United face the biggest game of their season so far on Saturday when they host Rangers in the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round and are keen to have McNamara in place in plenty of time to prepare for the visit of Ally McCoist's men.
The players and caretaker manager Paul Hegarty endured a fruitless trip towards Motherwell tonight before their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch less than two hours before kick-off.
The United board stepped up their interest in McNamara as they agreed a deal to end Houston's reign on Monday, several months earlier than anticipated.
Billy Dodds was also interviewed for the post last week while another former United striker, Finland manager Mixu Paatelainen, revealed the club had approached his employers but were rebuffed.
Former Tannadice captain Derek McInnes was among the early favourites but it is understood he was not interviewed.
McNamara has impressed in his first management job after turning Thistle into Irn-Bru First Division title contenders.
The 39-year-old initially took over as caretaker manager from Ian McCall in April 2011 and would leave Thistle in second place in the table, five points behind Morton with two games in hand.
The former Celtic and Scotland player led the Jags to a sixth-placed finish in his first full season in charge.
Houston left on Monday after chairman Stephen Thompson grew uncomfortable with the speculation surrounding the club following the announcement that the former Scotland assistant manager would not extend his contract at the end of the season.