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Basalaj heads back to UK

2012-2013 Exodus Team Wellington keeper Scott Basalaj has signed to play for Scottish Premiership club Partick Thistle

After a couple of false starts, Scott Basalaj is finally embarking on a pro football career after flying out to Scotland yesterday.

The 19-year-old goalkeeper from Lower Hutt has agreed terms with Scottish Premiership club Partick Thistle and will sign on the dotted line when he arrives in Glasgow.

"The initial contract runs through to January but I'm pretty confident that will be extended," Basalaj said.

"It's really exciting and a good opportunity, a taste of European football at a young age will be really good for me."

The Kiwi age-group star caught the attention of Rangers scout Scott Allison last year but the Glasgow giants' financial woes prevented a deal going through.

Now with Partick, Allison has finally got his gloveman.

Basalaj had also been part of the Phoenix's school of excellence but coach Ernie Merrick opted for the more experienced Australian Lewis Italiano to be Glen Moss' A-League backup.

"It would have been good to get a pro contract here at home and play in the A-League but the chance to go to Europe is the dream," Basalaj said.

"Hopefully it's the start of better things and if I work hard and am fortunate I might get into the first team."

Partick earned promotion last season and sit eighth of 12 teams after six games.

Following his successful trial, Basalaj said he felt comfortable at a down to earth club with "no big-timers" and some familiar faces nearby.

"Mum was born in Scotland and a lot of my family are in the wider Glasgow area so I've got people to look after me if need be. I'll stay with them to start off with but I'll look to move out and do my own thing as soon as possible."