Thursday, 1 September 2011

A visitor's view...

We, at the Jagscast, have been lucky enough to be able to publish this article on our site. Andy Hudson has traveled the world in search of football. He has taken in games in numerous countries and written a bit about them for his excellent website He need travel no more, however, as he has now experienced the greatest team of them all*. Partick Thistle.

We enjoyed his article. We hope you do too.

Saturday 27 August 2011
Scottish League Division 1
Partick Thistle 2 Queen of the South 1

“What was all that then? What? That. That was Glasgow.”

Edwin Morgan.

Travelling home on the Sunday afternoon train I had to remember the words of Scotland’s first Poet Laureate, Edwin Morgan. The combination of a late night out on Friday and an early Saturday morning train, followed by a day in the pub with friends had left me feeling rather fragile; actually, it left me feeling broken. From coffee and then Guinness in Òran Mór, where we were squeezed into the corner of a bench by a group of models having their make-up applied ahead of an assignment; to beers in Coopers and meeting up with the Thistle lads, Colin, Niall and Jonathan; to Firhill and the match; back to Coopers for post-match ales; to outdoor drinking at Jinty McGinty’s; to Tennent’s Bar for a portion of the evening; to somewhere else – Glasgow had defeated me. That football city which Daniel Defoe had claimed as being “the cleanest and beautifullest, and best built city in Britain,London excepted” had once again bested me. But this isn’t about the travel or the beer or even something conventionally beautiful; this about football.

For Glasgow to truly be a football city, which it is in my opinion, then the surface beyond Celtic and Rangers has to be scratched to uncover something more. And what comes after the Old Firm? That’ll be Partick Thistle, formed four years after Rangers and twelve years earlier than Celtic. While the Old Firm have celebrated success-upon-success, their neighbours, who moved from the Partick area of Glasgow to Firhill, a part of Maryhill, in 1909, have rarely scaled such heights. A 1921 Scottish Cup victory over Rangers and a 1971 League Cup victory over Celtic aside, the past has been anything but golden. But where’s the fun in expecting titles and cups year-after-year?

The fantastic Main Stand, opened in 1927, now stands empty, testament to spiralling operating and stewarding costs. Away fans occasionally sit in the North Stand, a structure that hints at certain ineptitude of the SFA. When the stand was opened in 2002 it was required so that ground could reach the 10,000 seater mark required for promotion to the SPL. That figure was only required for a short period of time, dropped down to a 6,000 seater capacity in 2005. Thistle had committed their eggs into that financial basket and when they were relegated in 2004, with Inverness taking their place after being allowed to groundshare with Aberdeen and thus reach the 10,000 capacity needed (this being only two years after Falkirk attempted to groundshare in order to take promotion to the SPL; a move which was blocked by the SFA), Thistle started to plummet. After spending much of the 1980s and 1990s close to bankruptcy, Thistle were once again left cashless, only this time it was largely to do with a stand that should never have been needed and is rarely full.

Following a match-saving cameo on his debut, Christie Elliott, recently signed from Whitley Bay, who themselves had plucked him from Jarrow FC and the Wearside League only last season, was handed his first start of his professional career. His former manager at Whitley Bay, Ian Chandler, had earlier told me that Christie “could be as good as he wants to be. He could easily play in the [English] Championship; he’s very, very quick; direct; two great feet. He’ll be huge in Scotland”. And after struggling to adjust to the pace of an error strewn game, it was Elliott who proved to be the difference for Partick once again. With five minutes remaining, and the crowd of just over 2,000 expecting the draw, a David Rowson cross was played back into the path of Elliott who stroked the ball into the bottom corner to lift The Jags three points clear of The Doonhamers at the bottom of the table.

Elliott had also played a part in the opening goal when, after 19 minutes, he chased Lee Robinson, the visiting ‘keeper, down and deflected the ball into the path of Kris Doolan to score. The visitors responded on the hour mark with their equaliser, which owed more to an error by the home ‘keeper, Scott Fox, than the quality of play. A long cross was played to the edge of the box and Fox was nowhere near collecting the ball when Mark Campbell flicked the ball into the net. Luckily the late goal by the lad who was playing English Level 11 football only months ago, made the difference in this Scottish First Division match.

Andy Hudson

*Might not be true.

No comments:

Post a Comment

#poll1 ( display:none;)