Tuesday 23rd January, 2018 at 8:30am
There was really nothing worthy of special mention during the first half of this match. Thistle held their own pretty well and at half time the score remained 0-0. All the excitement occurred rather bizarrely in the opening few minutes of the half time interval. Suddenly, out of the blue, or perhaps more exactly in this case out of the green, a streaker emerged from the crowd and ran across the hallowed Firhill turf, only to vanish from view down the tunnel.
To my knowledge, no such thing had happened before at Firhill and I can say without fear of contradiction that there has been no repeat performance in the succeeding 35 years!
One thing was beyond doubt though – the 24th of April 1982 was a beautiful, warm day drenched in spring sunshine but if the lady in question turns up to the next Thistle / Celtic encounter then she’ll likely die of pneumonia, poor soul. Needless to say, I missed all the excitement as I was inside enjoying a cup of half time tea.
Perhaps I should have stayed indoors. Celtic took control of the match and Danny Crainie, one of the less well known Celtic players, helped himself to a hat-trick in 52, 76 and 88 minutes to leave Thistle quite exasperated.
In actual fact we had competed pretty well in the first half, but couldn’t sustain the necessary drive and enthusiasm for the entire 90 minutes, to some extent the story of our season. To be frank, by the end of April 1982 we were dead men walking. The relegation clouds had been hovering above Firhill for some time and we fell through the trap door three weeks on from the featured match. Our travelling companions were Airdrieonians. It’s a well-known fact that it required 10 years for us to fight our way back up into the elite league.
Let’s take a close look at the players who turned out in the featured match. Inevitably one would say Alan Rough in goal. Yes, correct, but Alan lasted only till November 20th which saw the end of an era, following a remarkable 624 appearances. The full backs were David McKinnon and John Lapsley. At numbers 4, 5 and 6 were Brian Whittaker, Andy Dunlop and Kenny Watson. Donald Park was at outside right, partnered by Ian Jardine. Numbers 10 and 11 were Jamie Doyle and Alex O’Hara.
One hears constantly, when players are being assessed the word ‘quality’. Looking back over the years, it seems to me there should have been enough of that commodity to keep Thistle in the elite division. Remember, however, that in those days two teams were relegated automatically from a division of just 10 clubs – pretty harsh, don’t you think? That was our fate – we finished ninth!
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