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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Bertie Auld

Everyone connected with Partick Thistle Football Club was truly saddened to learn of the passing of our two-time former manager, Bertie Auld.

A born and bred Maryhill man, brought up on Panmure Street, Bertie would be a Thistle ball boy in his youth and also turned out for Maryhill Harp ahead of establishing himself at Celtic Park.

Following a sterling playing career north and south of the border, which included the historic success as part of Celtic’s European Cup winning team in 1967, Bertie secured his first managerial appointment at Firhill in 1974.

Succeeding the great David McParland, Bertie’s arrival coincided with the advent of the Premier League for which Thistle just failed to make the cut. That meant a tilt at the First Division and Bertie would guide the Jags to the title the following season, as Rough, the Hansen brothers, Campbell, Anderson, Houston, McQuade, Somner et al ensured silverware 100 years on from the club’s formation, losing just two games in the process. In the first of three domestic cup semi-finals in four seasons, Thistle lost narrowly to Celtic in a League Cup last four tie at Hampden.

Thistle would finish 5th, 7th, 8th and 7th in four further top-flight seasons under Auld, and during his time at Firhill Bertie’s Jags would taste victory against Rangers no less than six times. There were cup thrills aplenty with some unforgettable Anglo-Scottish Cup ties and two Scottish Cup semi-finals, a 4-2 Hampden defeat against Aberdeen in April 1978 before a controversial exit in a replay against Rangers 12 months later, after Bobby Houston’s ‘winner’ in the initial tie was ruled out.

Bertie left to join Hibs in 1980 and soon after managed Hamilton too before returning to Firhill towards the end of season 1985-86, succeeding Benny Rooney to help ensure Thistle avoided a drop to the third tier, a puff of smoke appearing above the dugout from his pipe after a victory not an uncommon sight! However the arrival of Derek Johnstone as player-coach in the summer of ’86 meant Bertie’s second stay at the club would be a short one, little over 100 days, as he left Firhill as manager for the final time.

Bertie Auld’s talent, success, personality and character meant he was revered by supporters not only of the clubs he served, but across the Scottish football spectrum and beyond. The Thistle teams he moulded in the second half of the 1970s remain among the most fondly remembered in the club’s modern history and his win percentage just south of 40%, mostly achieved in the Premier League, is among the best ever achieved at Thistle.

The boy from Panmure Street, a true one-off, seemed destined to represent the red and yellow and he did so with distinction in those two managerial spells. Bertie Auld will forever have his own very special place in the history of Partick Thistle Football Club.

The love, thoughts and condolences of everyone at Partick Thistle FC are with Bertie’s family and friends at this terribly sad time.

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