Wednesday 5th April, 2017 at 11:22am
On this occasion we entered the lions’ den, also known as paradise, still having a very slim chance of finding ourselves drawn into the relegation mire, but this well-earned point banished any lingering fears once and for all. The draw was achieved in what can only be described as peculiar fashion. They say lighting doesn’t strike twice in the same place but on this occasion it most certainly did! I shall describe the circumstances with only five minutes remaining. Thistle were trailing 1-0 to a 49th minute strike by Pat McGinlay, when Chic Charnley entered proceedings. That cultured left foot swing over a delightful ball from the right touch-line whereupon Tom Smith rose like a salmon and headed beyond a helpless Pat Bonner. Jubilation amongst the Thistle fans, including yours truly. But what’s this? The stand-side linesman stood with his flag aloft, indicating offside – never! This was Mr McGinley from Edinburgh, no stranger to controversy – I shall say no more than that! John Lambie and Gerry Collins made their feelings known, so much so that Gerry was invited along to S.F.A. headquarters, not for a nice cup of tea, but to discuss his outburst.
There is a remarkable sequel to the Tom Smith goal that wasn’t. Unbelievably, in the very next minute the scene was re-enacted. Chic Charnley even makes reference to it in his book, “Seeing Red” from almost the same spot when came the delicious cross from Chic, Tom Smith met it perfectly and there was the ball nestling in the Celtic net. This time the goal stood – marvellous. The full Thistle team on the day was as follows :- Andy Murdoch, Bobby Law, Callum Milne, Gregg Watson, Willie Jamieson, Alex Taylor, Ian Cameron, Albert Craig, Roddy Grant, Isaac English and Chic Charnley.
Tom Smith had been a 66th minute substitute – just as well, don’t you think?
The programme for the featured match had something unusual about it in the inside pages. The visitors’ pen pictures had been provided by one of our own playing squad, Craig Nelson. Some of the comments are quite bizarre. For example Craig says of Ian Cameron – “He really confuses me he talks – he’s so brainy none of us can understand what he’s saying most of the time. He’s very intelligent and even has a degree, and the words he uses confuse a lot of the lads here”. So there you are. Step forward Ian Cameron – brain of Firhill – what an accolade!