Friday 24th January, 2020 at 9:34am
Scottish Second Division
5th December 1970
Arbroath 0 Partick Thistle 2
At the time of this match, Thistle were on course for a triumphant return to the First Division. Standing in our way was a table-topping Arbroath team, but we swept them aside very efficiently. We had started the campaign very badly, losing away from home to Clydebank, Albion Rovers and Brechin City. I was in deep despair, but David McParland, who had taken over the managerial reigns from Scot Symon, assured me all would be well and of course he was right.
Gayfield is very pleasant, right on the sea-front, well worth a visit, but I would suggest some time other than December. The wind would blow your head off, and so it was the case on December 5th 1970. How do I know? – Because I was there.
In the featured match Thistle lost the toss and were invited by the Red Lichties’ captain, Jimmy Cant, to play against the wind for the first half. Incidentally, Hugh Strachan was the Thistle skipper. We coped very well with opposition and the prevailing conditions and after 29 minutes Denis McQuade fired us into the lead, and so it stood at half-time. We dominated proceedings after the interval but it required a 72nd minute penalty-kick by Ronnie Galvin to ease the nerves and ensure that the two points would be heading back down to Glasgow.
This was the full team selection:- Alan Rough, Ian Reid, Brian Ralston, John Hansen, Robert (Nobby) Clark, Hugh Strachan, Denis McQuade, Frank Coulston, Ronnie Glavin, Alex Rae, Bobby Lawrie. Tommy Rae was the substitute. Only one was allowed in those days.
Remarkably, Jimmy Bone wasn’t in the team at the time. He made his return against Hamilton on 16th January and on the 30th of that month he scored a hat-trick against promotion rivals East Fife, who were demolished 4-0, before a crowd of 8743. It’s worth a mention that when Arbroath paid a return visit to Firhill in April, the attendance was 8851. There is little point in my bleating on about current attendance figures. That’s the way it is! You don’t have to like it, but that’s the sad fact nowadays.
One final point; we get the pleasure of venturing up to Gayfield in January this season so I do hope, for the sake of any brave travellers, that you asked Santa for a big pair of gloves last month!