Tuesday 17th July, 2018 at 9:18am
Scottish Premier Division
28th March 1981
Partick Thistle 3 Morton 1
Should Thistle’s opposition be referred to as Morton or Greenock Morton? Even Douglas Rae, the Chairman, who sadly passed away recently, kept an open mind on this rexed question which has puzzled me for some time. Anyway, 1980/81 was one of the last seasons when both clubs would be members of the Premier Division. Alan Rough, almost an ever-present for many years, was absent from the line-up, with his place going to former Alloa Athletic goalkeeper Dougie McNab. Dougie was destined to be Alan’s more permanent replacement when the latter moved to Hibernian. Our full-backs were Frank Welsh and John Lapsley, and what a strong half-back line we were able to field – Jackie Campbell, Andy Anderson and Kenny Watson. At No 7 and captaining the side was Donald Park playing wide right, supported by the industrious Ian McDonald, Tony Higgins, Ian Jardine and George Clark. Kenny Watson, with the most cultured left foot in the entire division, scored in 17 minutes to cancel out an opening strike from Morton’s Jim Rooney. So it was all square at half-time. Tony Higgins fired Thistle into the lead after 53 minutes and we were home and dry thanks to an own goal by Jim Rooney with five minutes to play.
There were some familiar names in the Morton line-up, players with Thistle experience, such as Jim Holmes, John Marr and of course Bobby Houston who was a substitute, having gone to Morton via Kilmarnock. The two last-mentioned had two of those strange nicknames required by footballers, namely “Bowler” and “Badger”. It’s a funny old game, as someone once said. The mercurial Andy Ritchie had a quiet game, fortunately for us.
Thistle finished the season in 6th place and there was no cause for alarm, but wait – the following season we crashed through the trap-door. I hadn’t seen that coming!