Tuesday, 8 November 2011

My Favourite thistle 11

Before the match on saturday myself and fellow jagscaster and host Vincent Black Lightening were deep in discussion about the current squad we have at the club and trying to compare it with the title winning side of 2001/02. We were trying to put both squads together and come up with the best 11 from both squads but could not decide on the 11 during the small time we had before kick off. On leaving the game on saturday and trying to show that i was interested in the firework display i was attending that i decide to try and come up with what would be my favourite Thistle 11 only including players i have seen put on the famous red and yellow jerseys.
 As i have said before i started watching the harrywraggs in 1989 so i have seen plenty of players in that time, some great and heroes of mine with some good players and plenty of not so good but the less i mention them the better. It has taken a lot of thought to go into this team and on several occassions i thought i had it ready and finished only to have another player come into my mind and it was back to square one. So team my team, i have pick a 4-4-2 formation and 5 subsitutions and have given my reasons for picking. Some will not agree with my selections but trust me its hard to pick my favourite 11 and i urge you to give it a go also i welcome some feedback.

 Craig Nelson - Nelson started his career with partick thistle and was with us for 4 years before moving onto hearts and several clubs and is still currently playing with second division side brechin city at the ripe old age of 40.
                                             Craig Nelson punching clear against rangers

 Craig Nelson has been my favourite goalie ive seen in a thistle jersey, in my opinion he was a complete keeper, good shot stopper, great at coming from crosses and was very reliable. I believed if he had stayed with us he could have been an even greater fans favourite but in the 4 years he was with us i was certainly a fan of his. Nelson made over 90 appearances for thistle

Left Back
Alan Archibald - Archie is a hero of mine and also very popular among the thistle faithful, when i was growing up i played in left back or at the left side of the centre of defence the same as archie so i used to go to games and watch him closely, Archie is a very reliable and solid defender who was also great at getting up and down the flank supplying the forwards with crosses. I have to admit once i nearly celebrated a dundee united goal, it was in the scottish cup final against celtic and the ball broke to archie who struck a great right foot shoot which unfortunately came back off the crossbar, if it was any other player i wouldnt have reacted like i did but because it was our current club captain and a player who has given over 10 years of his life to thistle i think most thistle fans would have done the same. Archie has played in over 430 games in is career so far.     

Centre back
 Gordon Rae - Over the years ive seen numerous amount of centre backs at firhill but none in my opinion have been as hard as my first pick. The fans song for him said it all " he's fat he's round he's worth a million pound Gordon Rae". He had played most of his career with his local side hibs and joined thistle in 1990 and was part of the promotion winning side of 1991/92 season. Mr rae alongside a fellow member of my team was my first thistle hero just for his no nonsense aproach to defending. Rae played over 70 games for thistle and over 450 in his career.

 My choice for partnering rae in defence was a tough one, i had already got my tough defender so i was looking for someone with composure and who was great with the ball at his feet. I narrowed it down to 2 players who's careers where both affected by injury.

 Scott Paterson

Scott paterson was at thistle for just 2 season but in those 2 seasons the fans were treated to some of the calmest defending and some of the most ellegent passing i have ever seen from a football player in my lifetime. Shaggy as he was known had his career dogged by injury but his two years at thistle were very succesful with winning the 1st division championship in his first year and helping thistle to secure spl survival. Shaggy scored 2 goals for thistle they were outstanding in quality and very important, he scored a beatiful curling effort to equalise in the scottish cup quarter final at firhill against caley thistle, The second was the winning goal in the replay of the same match in the pouring rain and strong winds, It was a 30 yard screaming free kick into the top corner. Shaggy made over 60 appearances for thistle.

 Stephen Craigan

Although craigan is not really a right back i believe i couldnt keep him out of my team, he was part of our side which won 2 titles in a row and also helped us survive in our first season back in the spl. Craigan wasn't the most gifted player with the ball at his feet but was great in the air and was our most consistent defender and i will always remeber his celebration when scoring his first goal for the jags, it was last game of the season against stenhousemuir and when he headed the ball into the net he went mad and ripped his top and only for the ref to book him for it. Craigan played over 100 games for thistle and has also played over 50 times for northern ireland.


On the left i think there is only one player i could have chosen and i think every jags fan would have him in there team,
Chic Charnley is the possibly the most gifted and talented player i have seen in a thistle jersey, a player who had his ups and downs and was never far from trouble during his career which seen him sign for the jags on 4 seperate occasions. Chico as we called him had the best left foot ive seen (except from my own) and could ping passes all over the park with precision and the goals he scored were never tap ins, summed up with his goal in kenny arthurs testimonial with a shot from 30 yards into the top corner and he had stopped playing a few years earlier. I also remember a friendly a couple years back when chico took to the pitch at half time for a charity and had to hit the crossbar from the halfway line and yes he did it with the class he had as a player.
Chic played over 100 times for the mighty jags.

 In the centre of midfield i have went for two players who fought for evry ball and worked for the full 90 minutes from box to box and one of thise still plays today.

 david rowson

     At the current age of 35 david rowson is still one of the first names that are put down on the thistle team sheet and works tirelessly for the full 90 minutes every game for the club. He is a box to box midfielder who displays a great range of passing and is very good at breaking down the opposition attacks. Everytime rowser scores a goal they seem to get better and better with quality. What sums up rowsons commitment to the club and the respect his fellow players and fans have for him was last game of the season 2010/11, rowsons father had passed away and it would have been easy for him to miss the game but no he wanted to play and ended the match with scoring an absolute screamer which would have andy gray qouting his now famous saying " take a bow son" and  the players ran to celebrate with him and the fans went mad in the stands as if we had just won a trophy. Rowson has played over 275 games for thistle.

Danny lennon

Danny lennon was an instrumental part of the 2 in a row title winning teams and was a classy midfielder during his career, he worked hard in the midfield and was never shy in a tackle and could also play at bit aswell. Lennon is highly thought of at thistle and has recently its been announced that he will be inducted into the clubs hall of fame. Its not only at thistle that he is remebered well, he was the raith rovers player who scored to put them 1-0 up at half time away to bayern munich. Lennon played over 100 games for thistle.

On the right i have chosen a midfielder that could play just about anywhere for thistle and a player who we could call upon to score a vital goal when required.

Martin Hardie

Hardie was a versatile player who played in possibly every attacking position for thistle and even had a spell as a supersub. He was a player who was great in the air and was great with the ball at his feet and boy did he know where the goal was. Big mad mental martin hardie as he was renamed during his time with the club was only a part time player when he joined the club but was never lacking in fitness and was a total committed player. I dont think there would be many fans teams that wouldnt have hardie in it as is such the impact he made in his time with the club. hardie made over 100 appearences for the club.


 Mark Roberts

By bringing mark roberts to the club it is possibly the only thing dick campbell done well at the club during his tenure as manager. Roberts in my opinion is the reason we got promoted that season (apart from a huge slice of luck) through the playoffs as he scored 22 goals and a two memorable scottish cup goals, a last minute penalty against caley thistle and a solo effort away to hearts. I also believe that mark roberts should still be a thistle player and Mr McCall should never have let him go as is being proved this season as he is currently our division rivals ayr uniteds club captain and top scorer. Mark Roberts was at thistle for 4 years making over 100 appearances and scoring over 45 goals.

Colin McGlashan
At the time of Colin McGlashan's signing for thistle i had not long been going to games as a fan and we had just signed him from clyde fc our old rivals  and he was from then on branded a judas by the gypsy army which i believe mad him an instant hero to jags fans. He was my first hero as i was a kid, starting to go to games we always go for the goalscorers and mcglashin was one. He was part of the thistle squad that won promotion in 1991/92 season. Colin was not the tallest player but his stocky build made it hard for defenders to play against. Colin played over 100 times for thistle and scored over 200 goals in his career.

 So there you have it my choice of the greatest thistle 11 that i have had the privellige of watching pull on the famous red and yellow top of my beloved club partick thistle fc. There will always be different opinions from fellow supporters and loads of disagreement with what is the greatest thistle side ever, so i say give it a try and pick out your side and share it with us.

 P.S. - just for good measure here are the 5 subs i would have on the bench,
Scott fox, Jim Duffy, Scott McClean, Graham Dorrans and Quinton jacobs.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Life as a Jag!

Life as a Jag

At 29 years old I've seen a lot of Scottish football and supporting Partick Thistle for just about all of my life has helped me. I was born in Rutherglen maternity and lived in Cambuslang for 2 years until my younger brother came along and we moved to a bigger house in Lenzie. It was here my love affair with football started. I was given my first football kit from my gran. It was a white top with yellow hoops and it's still my favourite Scotland top. I used to wear it all the time.

When I was about 6 my family moved to Duntocher in Clydebank. All of my mum's side of the family came from there and I still live there to this day.

September 23rd 1989 was the date I first experienced the Staduim of Dreams, Firhill. It was a match against Airdrie with goals from Alex kennedy and John flood securing a 2-1 Thistle victory in front of a crowd of 5301. From then on I was hooked and every home game me and my old man would sit in the Main Stand just along from the dugouts so I could have a perfect view of the Shed in its glory (those were the days). My dad grew up in Maryhill and was a Thistle/Rangers fan. He would watch Thistle if they were at home and go to Ibrox if Thistle were away. Basically he just had a dislike for Celtic - something that is still strong today. After the games, especially if we won, I couldn't wait to get to school and tell all of my classmates about how great my team was. I took pride that I was the only Jags fan at my school. Like 90% of my family, my school was full of Celtic fans.

For the next few years, my dad and I would go to Firhill every second Saturday. We would start with going to my grans for lunch (just up behind Harveys bar) and would leave my younger brother and sister there so we could go to the game. It was our ritual. We did occasionally go to away games but only if they were close by.

My worst away experience came in (I think) May 1991. It was the last game of the season: away to Clydebank at Kilbowie Park, which is now a Aldi, Gala bingo and McDonalds. Being a local boy my dad had said I could bring some of my friends to the game and as I was always banging on about how great we were I thought "Brilliant! They can see for themselves how great Thistle are!" My brother had also started to come to some games but I'm pretty sure he hadnt seen us win and I told him that today was the day. As most of us know, and want to forget, we got gubbed 7-1 and for the next few months my friends never let me forgot. Plus, I also blamed my brother who I called a jinx and said he wasn't to come along again. It worked pretty well as he never came to a game the following season and we got promoted!

For the next 5 seasons I wasn't at Thistle games much as, like most kids my age, I was trying to carve out a career in football for myself so I was playing on Saturday afternoons. Me and my dad did make midweek games and the odd saturday game if my match wasnt on. There was some great memories during those seasons and I was present at a few of them but these ones stick out:

Partick Thistle 3 Rangers 0

Partick Thistle 3 Celtic 1 (at Hampden)

Partick Thistle: Tennants Sixes Champions

I missed the famous win at Parkhead with Georgie Shaw scoring 2 goals but have seen it on youtube and heard countless tales from people that were there.

As I got older, I started to drift away from following Thistle, mainly because I was playing football but also all my friends started to go to watch celtic and if they had a spare ticket it was me who got asked and I tagged along.

It was when the Save the Jags campaign started that I realised I was still a Jags fan. I remember going into my local paper shop every so often and buying the pullout they had made for Save the Jags. I wanted to go back to Firhill but still found myself going to Celtic Park most Saturdays as my dad was working and I didn't want to go myself and someone always had a spare ticket for the Celtic game.

It was about July 1999. I had now left school and was working full time doing an electrical apprenticeship. On my first day I remember I was introduced to all my fellow staff and then it came those F*****G questions we always get asked:

Q 1 . What team do you support?

A 1 . Partick Thistle.

Q 2 . What Old Firm team do you like?

A 2 . None. Hate them both. FTOF.

Q 3 . Are you a Catholic or a Proddy?

A 3 . Neither.

For some reason that day I said I was a Partick Thistle fan, but I hadn't been to Firhill for nearly 4 years and I was attending Celtic games more often. I looked back on that day as the day my life turned around. I was going back to where I belong - Firhill.

It was September 1999, just short of my 17th birthday when my long awaited return happened. The game was against Ross County. We got beat 2-0 and although we were now bottom of the Second Division, I couldn't have been happier to be back. My old man was with me and it brought back great memories for the two of us. It was here I bumped into a friend (Jamie) and his dad who I hadn't seen in years. We met up for the next few home games and decided to go on an away trip without our dads. It was to be Queen of the South away and we won 2-1. I think Derek Lyle scored the winner and it lifted us off the bottom of the league. This is the game that I reckon was the turn around and after this match it was only upwards for the next few years.

Jamie and I never missed a game for the next few seasons and watched with joy as we won 2 league titles in a row and got back into the SPL. There were some highs and some lows ad after 2 seasons in the SPL, we got relegated and were back in the First Division and thinking it’ll be one year in this league or 2 at the most. We were right! 1 year is all it took but it was the wrong way. Relegated back to the second division...

The second division campaign was a terrible one and I'm still at a loss as to how we got promoted. I think we finished the campaign some 30 points behind 2nd place Morton but that is the luck of the playoffs.

The last game was the playoff final 2nd leg which was on a Sunday up in Peterhead. I had been on a night out on the Saturday and had had a couple of hours sleep before it was time to catch the minibus up north. There was a fear about everbody that morning. The worry: will we do it? The fact peterhead were 2-1 up after the first leg and we hadn't been able to beat them all season it didn't look good. But we are Thistle we always do it the hard way.

Once we arrived in Peterhead I was, lets just say hungover from the night before, and very nervous. I went to a local bar for a curer or two. Once I realised the time, I made my way to the ground several minutes late on route I heard a cheer. I just presumed it was for the teams coming out, but it was Peterhead going 1-0 up! I got to the ground just as Mark Roberts was turning to tuck the ball away to score with me thinking we were 1-0 up! It wasn't until about 30 mins into the game that I found out it was actually 1-1 and not 1-0 to us! Gutted. Approaching the 90 minute mark, I kept saying to my friends that I was going back to the pub but for some reason I just couldn't leave and I'm glad I didn't. As Billy Gibson's free kick deflected into the net it was mayhem. I don't think we had celebrated a goal like that for years. I was fairly confident when it came to the penalty kicks as we had beaten SPL side Inverness earlier that season on pens. From the minute Paul Ritchie's penalty hit the back of the net it was party time with a full scale pitch invasion. The rest of the night is a blur to me which involved stopping off in Aberdeen for a few drinks and not getting home till the wee hours plus a sickie from work on the Monday.

Since then we have been in the First Division. This is by far the most competitive league in Scotland and possibly britian with 10 teams who are evenly matched. I haven’t been to as many games as I would have liked since then with working away from home and becoming a parent. My daughter will be 3 on November 11th and my fiancee is due to give birth on January 13th 2012 with our second child. They have now become the most important thing in my life but Partick thistle will always come a close second and I will be at as many matches as I can. My daughter (Rebecca) has already been to Firhill for a game and had the chance to watch me try and play on the Firhill turf during the Firhill Cup Funday. Hopefully some day my kids will be regulars at Firhill with me as I was with my dad.

Nothing beats waking up on a Saturday morning with the anticipation of the days game; wondering whether it will be a win or defeat or possibly even a draw (a feeling old firm fans will never know. Well, mabye Celtic fans on current form). The nervous feeling you get when walking up to the Jackie Husband Stand or the night before a big game when you can't sleep (like a kid at Christmas). All I hope for the future is that there will still be a Partick Thistle Football Club for me, my family and my friends - so many who I have met going up and down the country watching the Jags. Long may it continue.



Heroes of past

Colin McGlashan, Dave Elliot, Chic Charnley, Gordon Rae, Alan Archibald, Stephen Craigan, Martin Hardie, Danny Lennon, Gerry Britton, Geordie Shaw, Craig Nelson, John Lambie

Favorite matches of past:

Partick Th 2 Airdrie 1 (first match)

Partick Th 3 Rangers 0

Partick Th 3 Celtic 1 (at hampden)

Tennents Sixes win

Partick Th 0 Forfar 0

Partick Th 1 Celtic 0

Partick Th 2 Queen of the south 1

Inverness 0 Partick Th 1

Stirling 0 Partick Th 3

St Mirren 0 Partick Th 2

Aberdeen 0 Partick Th 1 (charnley came on near end to take the piss)

Rangers 1 Partick Th 1

Peterhead 1 Partick Th 2 (won on pens)

Celtic 1 Partick Th 1 (lost on pens)

Partick Th 3 Kilmarnock 0 (think alex burns scored a hat trick)