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There is one thing I have always been pretty good at, and that is being a complete wet blanket among a group of people determined to enjoy themselves come what may. One such instance has remained clear in my mind all the way back from New Year’s Day 1974. There I was at 1 am, 2 am, 3 am at a function to celebrate Hogmanay and the onset of another year. Guests were typically becoming happier, noisier and inevitably sillier. How I wished I could be somewhere else, anywhere else. How much longer must I be here? There was only one thing on my mind. The following day I was determined to go to Ibrox. What a fixture with which to start a new year! Looking back, had I been in possession of a crystal ball, had I had even the slightest suspicion of the next day’s outcome, I would have been a different person with a different attitude. Instead, I was obsessed with the prospect ahead. Step forward, Robert “Nobby” Clark. By fashioning an equaliser, your only goal for Thistle, with ten minutes to go, you saved the day. If only I had known at 3am the night before that I was worrying needlessly, what a difference that would have made.

It was quite normal in those days for Thistle to be paired with Rangers at the New Year. The powers-that-be had decided Celtic vs Rangers was too dangerous so they split them and Celtic played Clyde and Thistle faced Rangers.

As to the featured match itself, the Thistle team who snatched a point was as follows: – Alan Rough, Bobby Houston, Danny Kellachan, Ronnie Glavin, Jackie Campbell, Nobby Clark, Steve Chalmers, Joe Craig, Tommy Rae, Benny Rooney, Bobby Lawrie. The substitutes were Johnny Gibson and Frank Coulston.

Derek Parlane had given Rangers the lead after 39 minutes from the penalty-spot. Two other players in the Rangers team would join Thistle later on, with vastly different outcomes. Alex O’Hara had a very profitable Thistle career, with 289 appearances and 61 goals to his credit, while Derek Johnstone, on the other hand, was singularly unimpressive as player-manager at Firhill.

Tomorrow, I hope to make what will be my 54th visit to Ibrox to support Thistle. I have won TWICE, so say no more.

So it’s a good-bye from the “wet blanket” until after the split.

Robert R

P.S. Nobby clark made 154 appearances for Thistle and scored just one goal – but what a place to get it!

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