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Partick Thistle 3 Hamilton Academical 3


Let’s face it, 1997 wasn’t a good time for anyone connected to Partick Thistle. We were toiling away in the lowest reaches of the First Division, still mentally tarnished by the tragic events which unfolded in 1996 in that awful play-off match with Dundee United at Tannadice. I still rate our relegation that night as one of my worst-ever experiences in football. Sadly, there were no encouraging signs that we would fight back any time soon. What we were not aware of at the time of this featured match was that we were heading for “Save the Jags”, a crisis of mammoth proportions for the Club, a situation out of which we simply had to extricate ourselves and ultimately did. The team tried their best, staged a mini-revival towards the later stages of the season, but couldn’t stave off the almost inevitable. Relegation clouds had been hovering ominously for a while and when we failed to beat Ayr United in the final match the trap-door swung open and down we went.

Against the background of all this gloom and despondency, the match chosen for today’s article was an exciting, entertaining affair, as the 3-3 score-line would suggest. Hamilton opened the scoring after just two minutes courtesy of Gary Clark, then something happened which takes a bit of believing. Penalty-kicks can be a rarity. Thistle didn’t get one, they got two within 13 minutes of each other, after 20 and 33 minutes respectively. Up stepped Jered Stirling, a great dead-ball kicker and he dispatched both awards with considerable aplomb. What a magic left foot he had! The Accies equalised in 62 minutes but Thistle forged ahead again nine minutes later through Charlie Adams. Could we, propping up the rest of the league, hold on for victory against the team sitting second? Alas, no, conceding an equaliser in the final minute.

The line-up was as follows: – Andy Stewart, Jimmy Boyle, Jered Stirling, Callum Milne, Alan Archibald, Iain Nicolson, Gareth Evans, Billy MacDonald, Charlie Adams, Alan Morgan and Andy Lyons. In the later stages all three substitute, Nicky Henderson, Alex Martin and Jamie McKenzie entered the fray, but the much needed win eluded us.

One must make mention of Alan Morgan, a very promising striker signed from Forfar Athletic. What a tragedy that, in a match against East Fife, Alan sustained what proved to be a career-ending injury. I remember it well. Football can be very cruel at times. It is, of course Alan’s picture on the front cover of the programme.

Robert R

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