RYAN WILLIAMSON has admitted that he felt the time was right to leave Athletic in a bid to gain a “new lease of life”.

The 23-year-old, who joined the club from school in the summer of 2013, said his final farewells to the club last week after it was announced he was one of 13 players that were to leave East End after their season ended at Inverness.

It has been confirmed this afternoon that Williamson will join Championship rivals Partick Thistle on a two-year deal, a move which he said "could be the making of me".

After making his debut against Arbroath six years ago, the full back has gone on to have what he described as a “rollercoaster” time with Dunfermline, which has included 136 appearances, two serious injuries, a League One title and four Scotland under-21 caps.

Speaking to Press Sport after his departure was confirmed, Williamson admitted that his confidence had taken a knock during a campaign that saw Dunfermline struggle and, eventually, finish seventh in the table, and believes he needs a fresh start.

“Over the last month, I’ve been thinking ahead to next season,” he explained.

“I’ve been at Dunfermline since I was 14, and I’ve loved every minute of it, but this season my confidence took a dunt, so I thought that a fresh start and going somewhere with a clean slate was what I needed.

“It has been a difficult year personally and collectively, and I thought that going somewhere brand new would do my confidence the world of good.

“The club have been brilliant with me, and I’ve enjoyed every second, but I need to move on, try somewhere else and hope that I can get a new lease of life and get back to playing the way I know I can.”

Williamson added: “I’ll always pay great interest in Dunfermline; it’s a club that means a lot to me and I can’t say a bad word about them.

“It will be a shock (starting with a new club) but it’s an opportunity I’m sure I’ll grasp with both hands.

“The fans have been brilliant and maybe I’ll be back one day. You never know.”