9000 COMPETITIVE GOALS
Rejected for Scottish Cup entry by the SFA, mainly on the grounds that they played in public parks, a number of clubs in the West of Scotland decided to form their own association, and on 30th October 1877, 60 clubs sent representatives to Whyte’s Temperance Hotel in Glasgow and formed the West of Scotland FA. In December 1877, the draw for the inaugural West of Scotland FA Cup took place, with some 50 clubs "in the hat". Partick Thistle were given a home tie, and Cowlairs of Springburn were to be our first visitors to Overnewton Park in "official" competitive action. The game took place on Saturday, 19th January, 1878, and, as Niall Kennedy reports:
"Praise was high for the players of both teams, except for the Thistle backs, who were criticised for “playing rather loose”. This would appear to be rather harsh for the game ended in a 4-1 win for Thistle (T.Brown (2), J.Inglis, J.Bennie for Thistle, Greoch for Cowlairs)."
Alas, the scoring sequence is not known, so we can't be sure as to who grabbed that all-important first competitive goal. Brown, Inglis, Bennie - your Jaggy descendants salute you one and all!
From that day 'til now, including all major and minor tournaments, and excluding all games which were voided by the governing bodies, the Partick Thistle first eleven have played in 5,592 competitive matches, scoring 8,998 goals. The only word of caution for these figures would be that we are always on the look out for new, obscure discoveries which could, even yet, change our data. Only last year, afkincaid discovered the hitherto unknown Sir William Cunningham Cup from the nineteenth century, so these things can happen...
The 1000 goal milestone come around every 16 years or so, on average. It's that time again. Who will become Thistle's ninth competitive goals millenialist? The history books are waiting to be written...
#1000 ROBERT CONNER
22.11.1902 Queen's Park [h] W4-2 (SFL First Division - game 14)
Robert Conner (1-0, 1st half); Robert Conner (2-1, 1st half); Robert Conner (3-1, 1st half); David C. Walker (4-1, 2nd half)
6,000 @ Meadowside
As the fog of the Clyde hovered around Meadowside, Thistle did their utmost to brighten the day for their patrons, none more so than Robert Conner who bagged a rare first-half hat-trick. We care not a jot that the milestone goal - converted from a John Muirhead cross - was suspiciously offside! Robert was on a great run of personal form this November, scoring in four consecutive games against Rangers, Celtic, Queen's Park and Hearts. This was a big breakthrough season for Thistle - the very start of a near 70-year-run as one of Scotland's top-flight sides.
#2000 JOHN BLAIR
11.09.1920 Motherwell [a] W4-0 (SFL - game 8)
Jimmy McMullan (1-0, 40 mins); Andrew Kerr (2-0, 41 mins); John Blair (3-0, 70 mins); Willie Hamilton (4-0, 75 mins)
10,500 @ Fir Park
George Easton's troops were shaping up as contenders at this time, and this fine victory put us joint-third-top. On the day, a rampant Thistle would have won by more were it not for the performance of Rundell in the Motherwell goal, although the 'keeper was blamed for the third - Thistle's milestone entry. He had come rushing out of his goal in attempt to sweep up the danger, but was left high and dry, and John Blair was left with the simple task of rolling the ball into the net. It's the duty of every Jags fan to remember well John's name, for he's the man whose trusty shot at Celtic Park on April 16th 1921 won the Scottish Cup for Partick Thistle. Scoring Thistle's 2,000th competitive goal was merely a warm-up for the main event!
#3000 GEORGE WYLLIE
28.03.1932 Queen's Park [h] W2-1 (SFL First Division - game 34)
George Wyllie (1-0, 8 mins); George Wyllie (2-1, 32 mins)
10,000 @ Firhill
After just eight minutes of play, the Monday bank holiday crowd were treated to Thistle's opener, and it was a good 'un, Davie Ness slipping the ball up the middle and George Wyllie putting the Jags ahead with an unsaveable shot. Capping off a great day for himself, the bustling forward held off three to fire home the match-winner on 32 minutes, Thistle's 3,000th competitive goal. George certainly made his mark during his time at Firhill, with no less than 3 top-flight hat-tricks to his name, despite never being fully in control of the #9 jersey during his several seasons of service.
#4000 JACKIE JOHNSON
30.09.1944 Hamilton Academical [a] W4-3 (Southern League - game 7)
Joe McGeachy (1-0, 13 mins); Jackie Johnson (2-1, 33 mins); Jackie Johnson (3-2, 63 mins); Alex Gourlay (4-3, 82 mins)
6,000 @ Douglas Park
This 7 goal thriller at Douglas Park produced 4000th competitive goal, and the honour fell to Jackie Johnson, Thistle's wartime guest from Stockport. The outside right was on fire this day, with two goals and two assists. Later in the season, Jackie led Thistle to Hampden glory in the Summer Cup, viewed as the club's second major trophy at the time. With his 5 goal tally, Jackie finished alongside Gordon Smith (Hibernian) as the tournament’s joint-leading marksman. That's the sort of guest that'd be welcome back anytime!
#5000 DAVIE MATHERS
28.04.1956 Aberdeen [a] W4-0 (SFL First Division - game 33)
Johnny MacKenzie (1-0, 18 mins); Davie Mathers (2-0, 32 mins); Tommy Ewing (3-0, 89 mins); Alex Wright (4-0, 90 mins)
16,000 @ Pittodrie
This was a stunning result for Davie Meiklejohn's mid-table side, as Aberdeen, Scotland's reigning champions, were second placed at the time. Indeed, it was the club's record victory at Pittodrie at that stage, although they'd actually go one better several years later. Thistle's 5000th competitive goal came around the half-hour mark, inside-left Willie Crawford passing back to the onrushing Davie Mathers who drove home a powerful right-footer from more than 20-yards out. Typically, the euphoria was short-lived and normal service was resumed just 2 days later as we lost 2-0 at home to… Aberdeen. Oh Thistle.
#6000 JOHN FLANAGAN
11.08.1969 Rangers [h] L2-3 (Glasgow Cup Final replay)
Jimmy Bone (1-1); John Flanagan (2-3, pen 87 mins)
15,000 @ Firhill
Heard the one about the domestic cup tie that took two seasons to complete? Back in April (the 1968-69 season), Thistle had battled to a 2-2 draw in the Glasgow Cup final at Ibrox, playing a lot of good football into the bargain. Unluckily for us, a combination of Rangers having a bit of a fixtures backlog, appearing in the Scottish Cup final, and Firhill being used for the Juniors meant that a suitable date could not be found for the replay and it was held over until the start of season 1969-70. Even then, the fixture was not treated with due respect, and was squeezed into an August Monday evening. With moon fever sweeping the nation, Malcolm Murray opined that "man may land on Mars before Thistle win their next trophy", and, with Rangers having rocketed into a 3-1 lead, Thistle's silverware prospects were certainly looking bleak. A penalty three minutes from time - Thistle's 6,000th competitive goal - at least forced a jittery Rangers to resort to time-wasting. Wee Johnny Flanagan, compared to Denis Law on more than one occasion during his time, was a steady scorer for the Jags in the latter half of the 1960s and it's a pity he never played in a more successful Thistle team. Thistle would finish the season rock-bottom and were relegated for the first time in nearly 70 years. Jags fans were left hoping man would just hurry up and land on Mars.
#7000 KENNY WATSON
10.03.1984 Meadowbank Thistle [h] W2-1 (SFL First Division - game 29)
Kenny Watson (1-0, pen 20 mins); Kenny McDowall (2-0, 35 mins)
1,732 @ Firhill
Peter Cormack's Jags had just been knocked off the top perch in the First Divison for the first time in five months, and it was very much a case of sleeves needing to be rolled up. One man who could always be relied upon in such circumstances was Kenny Watson, and the 28-year-old defender helped Thistle on their way to a crucial two points in this one. 18 of Kenny Watson's 58 Jags goals came from the penalty spot, and so it was for Thistle's 7000th competitive counter, his "easily converted" spot-kick having been awarded for handball. Kenny's place in Thistle's hall of fame is thoroughly merited - he was a gem in a very unglamorous period in the club's history. Were it not for his goals and inspirational persona who knows how bad it might have got for Thistle in the 1980s…
#8000 DEREK FLEMING
14.08.2001 Raith Rovers [a] W5-3 (Challenge Cup 2nd Round)
Murray McDowell (1-1, 35 mins); David McCallum (2-2, 74 mins); Derek Fleming (3-2, 100 mins); Derek Fleming (4-2, 105 mins); Martin Hardie (5-2, 114 mins)
1,585 @ Stark's Park
Having just won there 3 days earlier on League business, Jags were back at the San Starko to see if we could make it a neat double. The Challenge Cup tie went into extra-time and it was soon apparent that there was only going to be one winner on the night, for Thistle were superb in that period. The 8,000th goal was a 30-yard-screamer from Derek Fleming - his first competitive goal for the club - and he followed it up just 5 minutes later with a stunning 25-yard free-kick. An adventurous left-back, "Flea" would go on to play a big part in Thistle's title win this season, immortalizing himself in Jaggy folklore by scoring in the 2-0 win at Love Street which secured the title in April, breaking his leg in the process. Such was the dedication to the cause of Lambie's boys!