Friday 28th April, 2017 at 8:00am
Within the programme for the above match reference is made to the fact that Hearts and Thistle had met only once before in the Scottish Cup and that was back in season 1920/21 when they met three times in the semi-final. The first two games ended 0-0 with Thistle winning the decisive third match 2-0, all three games having been played at Ibrox. Of course we went on to win the trophy that year, defeating Rangers 1-0 in the final. Interestingly, it also required three matches to beat Hibernian in the 2nd Round and Motherwell in the 4th. No such thing could happen nowadays when the rule is that Scottish Cup semi-finals are played to a finish. Some will agree with that, while others will take a different view.
Anyway, obtaining a draw away from home in the chosen match was a good result. Tommy Rae gave us an early lead after just seven minutes, but with 16 minutes remaining this was cancelled out by Willie Gibson, himself to feature for Thistle seven years later, albeit for a short period of time. Hopes were high for the replay, played incidentally the following Tuesday afternoon with a 2:45 kick off, because power restrictions in place at the time meant clubs were banned from using their floodlight systems. None of these irregularities affected Hearts adversely and they ran out 4-1 winners with Donald Ford notching a hat-trick and the other goal supplied by the afore-mentioned Willie Gibson. Thistle’s only reply was a Joe Craig strike which levelled things up at 1-1, and gave us false hope, soon to be dashed.
This was extremely hard to take, because the following team had fought so manfully at Tynecastle the previous Saturday:- Alan Rough, John Hansen, Bobby Houston, Benny Rooney, Jackie Campbell, Nobby Clark, John Gibson, Ronnie Glavin, Tommy Rae, Joe Craig, Steve Chalmers. Danny Kellachan and Frank Coulston were on the bench. So we didn’t win the Scottish Cup in 1974, nor have we done so since. Semi-final appearances in 1978, 1979 and 2002 have kept the fans singing “We’ll bring the Scottish Cup back home to Maryhill”, and I congratulate them on doing so. There was a wee glimmer of hope this year until a rather tame capitulation at Pittodrie. What about 2018? Who knows? Or, should we wait until 2021?
Footnote:- The team has done extremely well to finish in the top six, amassing an impressive total of 41 pointes. It is interesting to see which teams we gained the points:-
Ross County 7
Hamilton Accies 5
Inverness CT 5
St Johnstone 3
The final two blanks are really annoying, especially the last one, considering the sickening finish to the Firhill match.