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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Blast From The Past – Ayr United

Scottish First Division

22nd October 1983

Partick Thistle 4 Ayr United 3

A 4-3 scoreline is by no means unique, but when I tell you that all seven goals were scored in the first half, I think you will agree that this scoring pattern is highly unusual. Well, after all, it’s Firhill we are talking about, so those who come along should prepare themselves for absolutely any eventuality. There is virtually nothing beyond the realms of possibility.

The scoring bonanza began at the Maryhill end after only eight minutes, when Kenny McDowall fired Thistle into a lead which lasted precisely 60 seconds, courtesy of Ayr centre-forward Joe Smart, a recent recruit from junior club, Arthurlie. Next on the scoresheet was a young fellow, recently included in the Scotland under 21 pool v Belgium, by the name of Maurice Johnston, who scored after 21 minutes. The visitors equalised again on 24 minutes through Craig Buchanan from the penalty spot. Mo Johnston took only three minutes to fire Thistle ahead again, only for Joe Smart to level again after 37 minutes. How frustrating it was to be pegged back yet again. However, the elegant Alan Kay had the last word, netting goal number seven on the stroke of half-time. The thoughts of most people were to the effect that this sort of scoring simply couldn’t continue. They were right, of course, absolutely right. The goals dried up completely.

The full Thistle team was as follows:- Dougie McNab, Gerry Doyle, Davie Scott, John Murray, Andy Dunlop, Alan Kay, Kenny McDowall, Ian Jardine, Maurice Johnston, Jamie Doyle, John Buckley.

Following six seasons in the Premier Division, the axe finally fell in 1982 and we found ourselves relegated to the First Division. The fervent hope of Jags supporters was that we would bounce back immediately. Alas, in the season of 1982/83 we finished fourth. Could we do it in the following season from which the featured match was chosen? Again, we couldn’t, finishing third this time. After that, we weren’t within a million miles of the target, wandering aimlessly in 11th, five times in eighth and once in fourth position, before finally winning promotion in 1992. What a struggle it had been!

Going back to the featured match, it is worth recording that Gerry Collins was playing for Ayr United, having joined the Honest Men from Albion Rovers. Peter Cormack was the Jags manager at the time.

What’s in a name? Earlier in the article I referred to the Maryhill end of the ground. Within the programme is a reference to the City End. Are these the accepted designations? I’m inclined not to think so.

Robert R.

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