Tuesday 3rd April, 2018 at 9:00am
Sometimes it is beneficial to stop and reflect for a few minutes, especially when we become over-critical of our team. Last season we finished in 6th place in the Premiership. Today’s featured match had been chosen from season 1999/2000, when our finishing position was 5th, not in the Premier Division, nor even the First Division, but the tier below that, namely the Second Division. We have indeed come a long way since the year 2000, don’t you think?
The Thistle team which turned out at Victoria Park, subsequently re-named the Global Energy Stadium, will have for many an unfamiliar look about it. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyhow, here it is: – Kevin Budinauckas, Brian Martin, Des McKeown, Danny Lennon, Dave Rogers, Alan Archibald (whatever happened to him?) Russell Huggon, Albert Craig, Robert Dunn, Martin Hardie, Derek McWilliams.
While Des McKeown, Danny Lennon, Alan Archibald, Albert Craig, Robert Dunn, Martin Hardie and Derek McWilliams are well-established Thistle names, the same can hardly be said for Dave Rogers and Russell Huggon, so I shall try to fill you in a bit. The former was on loan from Ayr United, while the same arrangement was in place for the latter, whose parent club was Hibernian. Neither of these two players played more than a handful of first-team matches for Thistle.
Turning to the featured match itself Kevin Budinauckas sustained an injury and had to be replaced for a few minutes by Albert Craig. There’s something of a case of history repeating itself here, because in the previous match between the teams on 4th December 1999 Albert had to don the gloves, not because Kevin took a knock, but because he was the recipient of an unwelcome red card. Dingwall doesn’t hold happy memories for Kevin.
Martin Hardie, always good for a goal of two, opened the scoring after 27 minutes. Another man with an eye for goal Derek McWilliams added a second two minutes after the interval and with Thistle now in full flow Martin Hardie added a third in 73 minutes to give the Jags a commanding lead. Brian Irvine’s goal after 83 minutes was too little, too late, a mere consolation, but that didn’t prevent yours truly from looking nervously at his watch for the remaining seven minutes.
You’ll never guess who was number 4 for Ross County or who occupied positions 7 and 11. The answers are Ian Maxwell, George Shaw and Paul Kinnaird, no strangers to the Thistle faithful. Within the programme there was an article wishing County’s Assistant Manager a very happy 40th birthday. His name? – Gordon Chisholm! It’s a small world.