Friday 13th October, 2017 at 9:00am
This was the first league match of the season and Thistle got off to a very good start with a comfortable 2-0 win over visitors Kilmarnock. Very little separated the teams at the end of the season, 7th placed Kilmarnock edging Thistle into 8th spot on goal difference. Two points further behind came Aberdeen who had to survive a playoff against Dunfermline Athletic to retain their place in the Premier League.
The team for the match was as follows: – Craig Nelson, David Bryne, Bobby Law, Willie Jamieson, Grant Tierney, Derek McWilliams, Alex Taylor, Albert Craig, Roddy Grant, Isaac English, Chic Charnley.
The points were won and lost in a two-minute spell midway through the first-half. First to strike was Derek McWilliams after 24 minutes, followed almost immediately by a goal from Isaac English, and Kilmarnock never really recovered from this double blow and Thistle cruised comfortably to victory. Things were vastly different when Thistle travelled to Rugby Park, losing by the identical score 2-0. The other two fixtures between the sides were drawn, so honours over the season were even. The teams played each other four times in those days. Nobody really has a definitive answer as to what is the best formula. How long do you think we’ll stick with the current system of three matches followed by a split? I would reckon not terribly long, but we shall see.
At right-half for Kilmarnock was someone who gave sterling service to Thistle in season 1999/2000. Yes, Ray Montgomerie, who racked up 40 appearances for the Jags, each one full of wholehearted enthusiasm. Other Killie players who would turn out for Thistle later in the decade were Bobby Connor and Steve Maskrey.
At the time of the featured match Thistle were sponsored by Texstyle World and on the back cover of the programme is a banner headline – Thistle be our season. I guess they got that wrong. Never mind, here’s a test for you. Can you identify each of the Thistle players in the eight frames on the cover of the programme? – Easy! It’s only 23 years ago.