Thursday, 10 November 2011

Macky's All Time Thistle XI

Before the match on Saturday myself and fellow Jagscaster, 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 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 decided to try and come up with what my favourite Thistle 11 would be only including players I have seen put on the famous red and yellow jersey.

As I have said before I started watching the Harry Wraggs 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. A lot of thought has gone into this team and on several occasions 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 here is my team, I have picked a 4-4-2 formation and 5 substitutions and have given my reasons for picking. Some will not agree with my selections but trust me it’s hard to pick my favourite 11 and I urge you to give it a go. I welcome some feedback.

Craig Nelson - Nelson started his career with Partick Thistle and was with us for 4 years before moving onto Hearts, as well as several other clubs and is still currently playing with Second Division side Brechin City at the ripe old age of 40.

Craig Nelson has been my favourite goalie I've seen in a Thistle jersey. In my opinion he was a complete keeper, good shot stopper, and great at coming from crosses and was very reliable. I believe that 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 at 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 I once 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 wouldn’t 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 I’ve seen numerous 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 approach 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 was at Thistle for just 2 seasons but in those 2 seasons the fans were treated to some of the calmest defending and some of the most elegant 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 successful: winning the 1st Division Championship in his first year and helping Thistle secure SPL survival. Shaggy scored 2 goals for thistle they were outstanding in quality and very important. He scored a beautiful 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.

Although Stephen Craigan is not really a right back I couldn’t 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 remember 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 their 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 separate occasions. Chico, as we called him, had the best left foot I’ve 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 by his goal in Kenny Arthur’s testimonial with a shot from 30 yards into the top corner - 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 every ball and worked for the full 90 minutes from box to box and one of them still plays today.

At the current age of 35 David Rowson is still one of the first names that are put down on the Thistle team sheet. He 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 opposition attacks. Every time Rowser scores a goal they seem to get better and better with quality. What sums up Rowson’s commitment to the club and the respect his fellow players and fans have for him was last game of the season 2010/11, Rowson's 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 quoting his now famous saying " take a bow son". 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 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 as well. Lennon is highly thought of at Thistle and has recently been announced that he will be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. It’s not only at Thistle that he is remembered 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 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 totally committed player. I don’t think there would be many fans teams that wouldn’t have Hardie in it as is such the impact he made in his time with the club. Hardie made over 100 appearances for the club.


By bringing Mark Roberts to the club it is possibly the only thing Dick Campbell did 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 United’s club captain and top scorer. Mark Roberts was at Thistle for 4 years making over 100 appearances and scoring over 45 goals.

At the time of Colin McGlashan's signing for thistle I had not long been going to games 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 made him an instant hero to Jags fans. He was my first hero when I was a kid. When you start going to games you always love the goalscorers and McGlashan 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 him. 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 privilege 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 McLean, Graham Dorrans and Quinton Jacobs.


You can read Macky's personal blog at

No comments:

Post a Comment

#poll1 ( display:none;)