Friday 3rd January, 2020 at 10:33am
Scottish League Division One
1st September 1983
Alloa Athletic 3 Partick Thistle 4
We were desperate to win promotion back to the Premier League and at this stage the prospects were excellent. This victory at Recreation Park, the predecessor to the Indodrill Stadium, was our fourth in a row and we proceeded to win another three, only to fall at the eighth hurdle – a 2-0 defeat to Brechin City away from home. Still, seven straight victories in a row could hardly have been any better:- Premier League, here we come! So, what could possibly have gone wrong? Well, following the Glebe Park defeat we drew with Hamilton Academical 0-0 at Firhill and then lost 2-1 in the grim surroundings of Meadowbank Stadium. Cracks were beginning to appear, but perhaps the most significant factor was the departure of Maurice Johnston in November. From then on we would win one, lose one, draw one and we eventually finished in third place behind Morton and Dumbarton. Our golden chance had gone. During the remainder of the 1980s we never looked like promotion candidates, consistently finishing 8th and even 11th in season 1984-85, flirting dangerously with relegation to Division 2. Yes, they were alarming times.
Turning now to the featured match, this was our team:- Dougie McNab, the elegant Alan Kay, David Scott whom we signed from Tynecastle Boys’ Club, John Murray, Andy Dunlop, Kenny Watson who captained the side, Ian McDonald, Kenny McDowall, Maurice Johnston, Jamie Doyle, Alex O’Hara.
Thistle were quick out of the traps and Maurice Johnston had the ball in the net after four minutes. Alex O’Hara added a second two minutes later and the deadly Maurice was at it again and we had only played 15 minutes. Our commanding lead was eaten into in 30 and 32 minutes, so distress signals were flying, especially as we had to face the slight slope in the second half. However, we pulled ourselves together and Kenny McDowall made it 4-2 after 68 minutes. Back came Alloa with a third goal in 85 minutes, so we were glad to hear the referee, Mr Bob Valentine, blow the full-time whistle.
We had made it, but only just. Certainly conditions were difficult with the rain lashing down incessantly, so we had done well to keep the winning sequence going. Sadly, come the month of March our form had deteriorated markedly, to such an extent that we won only once in the final nine games – what a contrast from the opening matches!
Thistle supporters know better than any others that variety is the spice of life. We wouldn’t have it any other way – would we?