Friday 14th December, 2018 at 10:09am
Scottish Division Two
5th September 1998
Partick Thistle 1 Alloa Athletic 0
The next time you feel depressed about Thistle’s league status, cast your mind back if you are old enough, to season 1998-99 and there was your team wallowing in the depths of the Second Division. Yes, we defeated Alloa Athletic in the featured match, but at the end of the season we finished 8th out of 10 teams, one solitary point above a relegation place. Those were dire times, which tested to the full the loyalty of our supporters. It’s the easiest thing in the world to follow a team which wins virtually every week. We all know countless such people whose arrogance is beyond belief. The true test is to see if you can stick by your team when, let us say, things aren’t going too well. For season 1998-99 that’s an understatement of mammoth proportions. Frankly, it was a desperately bad period in Thistle’s history, but, as we always do, we came through it.
The game I have chosen will not live in the memory but we did come away with three valuable points, with the following team:- Kenny Arthur, David Kennedy, Scott McArthur, Kevin Gaughan, Des McKeown, Graham Connell, Martin Lauchlan, Tommy Bryce, Alan Morgan, Willie Callachan, Paul McDonald(who played as a trialist).
The only goal of the match didn’t arrive until the 68th minute, when Alan Morgan found the net to ease the increasing anxiety among the home support. We had signed Alan from Forfar Athletic and he was one of that rare breed – a natural finisher, who should have had a good career ahead of him. Tragically, he met with a serious injury which effectively ended his playing career in senior professional football. I remember the incident very well. No other player was involved. Alan turned one way and his knee decided to go in the opposite direction. If my memory serves me correctly it happened in a game versus East Fife a couple of months after the game we have highlighted. It’s a very good picture of Alan on the front cover. Football, like other sports, can be very cruel at times.
In goal for Alloa was Mark Cairns, who played 25 first-team games for Thistle and was also understudy for a while to Nicky Walker.
As I have said, it’s a good picture of Alan Morgan on the front cover. Feast your eyes on that and be thankful that page 23 is beyond your gaze. There you would have seen a photograph of a fellow called Robert Reid, accompanied by a lengthy article on all the things wrong with Scottish football – riveting stuff!