The story of Partick Thistle started just over 140 years ago when the side was formed in the early stages of 1876. Their first game came on 19th February 1876 when they faced Valencia (not the Spanish giants, rather a local junior side) getting off to a flying start by recording a 1-0 victory.
During the first 33 years of Thistle, the side had various homes before arriving at Firhill in 1909, a ground which they still occupy to the present day. While the Club’s name would indicate the side play in the Glasgow burgh of Partick, the Club’s ground is actually located in neighbouring Maryhill.
The first game at Firhill arrived on 18th September 1909 when Dumbarton Harp were visitors in a Scottish Qualifying Cup match. Thistle emerged victorious by 3-1 but, sadly for Jags fans the 1 came before the 3! The first ever goal scored at Firhill was by the visiting team.
The two greatest achievements on the footballing front for Partick Thistle have been winning the Scottish Cup in 1921 and the Scottish League Cup in 1971. The side has never won the top division in Scottish football.
In 1921, the cup was won, after a marathon journey to final, with a 1-0 success over Rangers.
When the Jags won the League Cup in 1971, the team created nothing short of a major sensation when they demolished the all-conquering Celtic team of that period 4-1. Thistle led by an incredible 4-0 at half time, prompting one television broadcaster to inform viewers that they would be told the correct score as soon as the broadcaster received it.
Thistle has also represented Scottish football in Europe on three occasions and, in each case, in a different tournament. In 1963/64, the side competed in the Fairs Cup, being knocked out by Spartak Brno of Czechoslovakia.
Almost ten years later, the side entered the UEFA Cup, by virtue of the League Cup success in ’71. Hungarian side Honved proved to be too difficult a hurdle for the Jags and Thistle was dispatched 4-0 on aggregate.
In the summer of 1995, Thistle became the first Scottish side to participate in the Intertoto Cup coming up against a strong Metz side which contained future France superstar Robert Pires.
Thistle spent a long spell of the ‘00s in the Scottish First Division (now Championship) before finally, in 2012/13, securing promotion to the Premiership after a long title battle with Greenock Morton.
On the pitch, under the management of Alan Archibald, the side has firmly established themselves as a Premiership club. Alan, who spent the majority of his playing career with Thistle, moved into the role as manager in January 2013 with the side locked in a title battle. He was able to galvanise the side to win the league with games to spare.
The former Jags defender made 423 appearances for Thistle, occupying a slot in the top ten appearance makers for the Maryhill Club and his backroom staff also have strong Thistle connections. Scott Paterson, Thistle’s assistant manager, spent two seasons partnering Alan in the Jags defence, between 2001 and 2003 while also spending a brief spell of the 2004/05 season on loan at Firhill. Goalkeeping coach, Kenny Arthur, also spent a large part of his playing career at Firhill. During his 10 years at the Club, he made 287 appearances and enjoyed, like Alan, a testimonial season with the Club.
Nowadays, Thistle is always distinctive, wearing a red and yellow strip as their first choice kit. But it wasn’t always the case. In the first fifty years of Partick Thistle, the side adopted a blue kit until, in the mid-1930s, a decision was made to change to red and yellow. There is no definitive reason as to why the change occurred but it is believed that a director saw a local rugby club training at Firhill wearing the colours and decided they were a perfect fit for Partick Thistle Football Club.