Friday 15th July, 2016 at 7:00am
Our opponents in this season’s opening fixture on Friday evening will, of course, not be Airdrie United, but Airdrieonians. The venue will be the Excelsior Stadium or will it be New Broomfield Excelsior Stadium? To simplify matters we shall be playing Airdrie(away) – also referred to within the programme as the Diamonds. We had won 7-0 earlier in the season, but the featured match was a bit scary to say the least. Having taken care of Morton, our most serious challengers for the First Division championship, the previous Wednesday, this match should have provided an ideal opportunity to move closer to the finishing line with a bit of style. It wasn’t destined to work out that way, although we did eventually claim all three points.
Thistle fell behind in the 37th minute and while dominating play for the remainder of the match, it became increasingly likely that it was tobe “one of those days”. If you have been a Thistle supporter for any length of time you will know exactly what I mean. Our fears were without foundation. In a storming finish we scored twice in the final two minutes with goals from Conrad Balatoni, who had the habit of popping up with a goal now and then and Christie Elliott, on as a substitute for James Craigen in the 77th minute. I know it’s an old football cliché, but we had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. How often has it been the other way round?
The team involved in the “Great Escape” was as follows:- Scott Fox, Stephen O’Donnell, Aaron Sinclair, later to become Taylor-Sinclair, Stuart Bannigan, Andy Dowie, Conrad Balatoni, Sean Welsh, James Craigen, Kris Doolan, Ross Forbes, Steven Craig.
It has been a short close season. Anyway, it’s good to be back – I think.