Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Manly J Panda's All Time Thistle XI

The Panda has chosen his all-time XI of Partick Thistle players that he has seen playing these last 25 years. Shocks include: no Robbo, no Adam Strachan and NO CHRIS ERSKINE. Will VBL forgive him?

Goalkeeper: Johnny Tuffey

I am a little surprised to be valuing Tuffey ahead of boyhood heroes such as John Brough, Andy Murdoch and Craig Nelson, and ahead of the legend that is Kenny Arthur (of KA Goalkeeping Gloves, kids), but the fact of the matter is that Tuffey is our best goalie since Alan Rough. He played 110 games for Thistle, made his international debut while playing for us and greeted when he left. That’ll do me.

Right Back: Alan Dinnie

It used to always say in the program “orthodox right back”, and while this was obviously a ploy to wind up Coptic left-wingers, Dinnie was a stout defender. He didn’t get up the pitch much, but in our formation, I want him to stay put and keep a clean sheet. Top quality Thistle defender.

Centre Back: Stephen Craigan

A world-class football brain in a SFL-class football body, Craigan is still a very good defender and an ongoing testament to John Lambie’s coaching abilities. He came to us after being dropped by Motherwell and left us a different player, a future captain of club and country. Memories of his being the last regular outfield player to score in the Second Division promotion season in the final game will warm the hearts of any Thistle fan.

Centre Back: Gordon Rae

Unfit, slow and yet rarely beaten in the air or on the ground, Rae was an old-school reader of the game and one of the protagonists in the legendary “samurai sword” incident. If we were struggling, he would go up front and win headers all day long. He also often took the ball off the goalkeeper to start attacks, the sort of thing that blew minds in the First Division in 1990. And now Pique’s doing the same thing in Spain. Copycat.

Left Back: Alan Archibald.

Archibald, Archibald, flying down the wing. Archibald, Archibald, can you here us sing? Who’s number three? What is he called? Archibald, Archibald, Archibald. That is all.

Defensive Midfield: Scott Paterson

Now, wait a minute, I know he rarely played here, preferred at sweeper or centre back, but this is where he’s going to make an impact today. He’s comfortable with the ball at his feet, able to fill in across the back line, can pick a pass… He’s going to anchor the midfield so I can pick another three creative geniuses and still let Archie fly forward. Shaggy for Scotland.

Centre Midfield: Gary Harkins

I don’t want to talk about Gary Harkins. But he’s in the team. You know why.

Left Midfield: Chic Charnley

Did you know that Chic really really wanted to play for Celtic? No, Celtic Football Club, from Glasgow. In the East End? They play in green and white… Aye them. Apparently he supports them. And he coaches Clyde. James Callaghan Charnley is still the best left-sided Scottish footballer I have ever seen. And he once addressed me as “Big Man”.

Right Midfield: John Flood

Another, like Craigan and Rae, who arguably had his best years away from Firhill. Flood was an Airdrie man who joined in the 88-89 season, the year I started regularly coming to Firhill. He scored an amazing goal against, I think, Raith Rovers – though it might have been Dundee or Falkirk – and I was hooked on fitba and the Jags. He was a very attacking midfielder, but was a cracking crosser of the ball, and would sit out on the right for us.

False Nine: Gerry Britton LLB

Britton was never especially prolific, but set up more than he scored with intelligent play. He makes the team ahead of the likes of McGlashan – who never became PelĂ© – , Buchanan and Toastie Burns because of his double spell at the club, his Scottish Cup goal against Dundee, and the sneaking suspicion I have that we might need a lawyer at some point.

Striker: Gerry McCoy

Another early hero of mine, McCoy has the best goals-to-game ratio of any Thistle player since Joe McBride in the early sixties. In his second spell at Firhill – from 1988 to 1990, in the prime of his career – he scored 23 times in 42 appearances, and linked up beautifully with Flood, Charnley and Calum Campbell. Not a tall man, he used his positional skills to get on the end of crosses and beat keepers time and time again. Even though he apparently didn't get on with Lambie, he was still my first autograph as a Junior Jag, and if that's not a good enough to pick him, I don't know what is.

Substitutes Bench: Kenny Arthur, Liam Buchanan, Stevie Murray, Marc Twaddle, Bobby Law.

Kenny as back-up, Liam to offer some searing pace after 75 minutes, Stevie Murray to entertain us at half-time with his tricks, Marc as cover for Rae or to replace a tiring Archie, Bobby Law because… it’s Bobby Law, alright? He’s earned it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

#poll1 ( display:none;)