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Winter of '63

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  1. Winter of '63

    Gary Caldwell confirmation

    This appointment ticks a lot of boxes so credit to the Board. Gary Caldwell had a distinguished playing career and has management experience - he comes over as a man with a plan who puts a degree of thought and planning into his role. I don't know anything about his assistant Brian Kerr but it looks a shrewd move to bring in someone with local knowledge. Partick Thistle are a club with a sound financial base, a Board who are not trigger happy with managers, there will be a new Training Facility and there is an untapped fan base - it's a fantastic opportunity for a manager to make his name. We also have some good players in the squad - Bannigan, Erskine, Doolan, Slater and Bell are decent professionals and Penrice, McCarthy, Quitongo and Fitzpatrick have talent which can be developed. The defence badly needs sorting but a former Scotland central defender should be able to improve this although he will need a transfer window. A play-off place with a team which has a realistic chance of going up is an achievable target - anything less will be something of a disappointment. Thistle should always be a top flight club or at least seriously challenging to get there...we can't afford to slip back to the mediocrity of every manager except Lambie from Benny Rooney to Dick Campbell. Gary talks the talk...let's hope he can walk the walk...good luck to him!
  2. Winter of '63

    Thistle v Dundee Utd

    Unfortunately, Archie's legacy of an unbalanced squad will hamstring the club at least until the next transfer window regardless of who the new manager is. Dundee Utd looked a very slick outfit for the first hour - by a distance the best team I've seen at Firhill this season and I suspect they will win the League comfortably. The last half hour was encouraging though, with the eleven who finished the game possibly our strongest side...though there were two decent crosses from the right which Doolan might have finished...he's hardly had a decent pass or cross all season. Banzo didn't have a great day and culpable for their second goal. We need a better option at right back...and I hope never to see Storey play for Thistle again - his failure to play a simple pass to put either Slater or Bannigan clean through was a particular low point. I enjoyed booing Adam Barton. There is real potential both at the Club and in some of our players but it is vital to get the right choice for the new manager to get a positive reaction. The turnout from Thistle fans for what should have been the most attractive home fixture of the season is worrying - personally, I think we need someone fresher and more inspiring than Jim McIntyre or any of the Usual Suspects.
  3. Winter of '63

    Who's next?

    It was an absolutely unequivocal no from Ian McCall on Radio Scotland - he wanted to return to Firhill in some capacity in the future but he would not take over from Archie. He had some other interesting things to say:- He wished he had told Archie to walk away at the end of last season He thought Jim McIntyre, John Hughes or Jim Duffy would make good choices as manager but more than most clubs the manager had to be the right fit for Thistle. He didn't understand how anyone living in Glasgow could support any team other than Thistle. My own preferences were Neilson, McCall or Jim Goodwin...so that's two down. I'd be completely underwhelmed by any of McCall's 3 suggestions or most of the other names being bandied about.
  4. Winter of '63

    Archie sacked

    A sad day but the appropriate decision. I commented after the Queen of the South game that our home performances last season and this had saved Archie as the really awful displays had been away - the lacklustre show today was the end. I thought that Archie's record merited giving him to the end of last season and really hoped that he would turn it round this season after his reprieve. However, his failure to field an effective midfield last season and the poor quality of defenders this season was just poor management. Archie is a real Thistle man and always acted with dignity. Unfortunately he eventually came up a bit short but the top 6 finish was a fine achievement and the wins against Morton to clinch promotion and against Hearts at Tynecastle to stay up are two of my best memories of supporting Thistle.
  5. Winter of '63

    Ross County Home

    An insipid performance from a team lacking in direction. County didn't have to be particularly good to trouble our defence - they scored from yet another defensive blunder and a soft penalty and defended efficiently for a comfortable victory - I haven't been so bored at a game since St Johnstone were last at Firhill. Bannigan, Erskine, Slater & Spittal are all good footballers with the ability to be challenging at the top of the league but the balance of the side is not right. Elliot has always lacked the guile to beat a defender or make an incisive pass or cross and now repeatedly passes the ball backwards to kill the momentum of attacks. Storey annoys me more than any Thistle player since Leigh Hinds - he received the ball in good positions on three occasions and failed to even get the ball into the box...his only other contribution was to get in Penrice's way. We make space on the wings but carry no threat. Losing O'Wear was s blow but the defensive recruitment has been appalling - Elliot, Keown and McGinty aren't very good but we have no alternatives. My thoughts when leaving the game were that it was the end of the road for Archie...while typing this, I found out that it is.
  6. Winter of '63


    Entertaining first half, tense second half. Banzo and Slater ran the game early on and we passed the ball well but still contrived to lose 2 slack goals. Pleased for Spittal - he has taken a lot of criticism but there is a decent player there - thumping goal and great pass at end for Storey's horrible miss. Back 4 picks itself - there's nobody else which is a worry. Elliot was very poor again - not good in defence and not a threat going forward - our style of play needs good crosses from the wings - he and Storey don't deliver. Home performances have saved Archie - the really awful results have been away - good 3 points but we don't have promotion look
  7. Winter of '63

    “What on earth has he given?”

    Kris Doolan came over very well in an interview on BBC Sportsound this evening - articulate, measured and with a sense of humour - "It's the first time I've scored a Goal and won a throw-in." He also made the point that we were relegated last season by one goal. He is a real credit to himself and the club - a good player and a very good guy. Ian McColl was one of the studio pundits - he mentioned that he had never seen Chris Erskine so angry. I get more agitated when officials bottle decisions against big clubs but this was just bizarre incompetence. I can't say I'm surprised at the absence of a gracious apology from Neil Doncaster and the SPFL - the suggestion that the match officials donate their match fees to the Beatson is a good one. With Christie Elliot's mazy dribble along the bye line against Ayr a few weeks ago, it does make you wonder if there is a force field at that end of the ground which scrambles people's brains.
  8. Winter of '63

    Home v Morton

    A decent performance and a welcome victory after the unsettling transfer window. Some good quick incisive passing from Penrice and Slater and a good finish by Erskine - I think we will have some good attacking options if everyone is ever fit. McGinty may turn out to be a better player than he initially looked but in what looks likely to be a very tight division, the lack of real quality and cover for injuries and suspensions at the back could be the fatal flaw although we don't yet have the look of a title winning or even promotion side. Big Brice after a rusty start came on to a strong game and played like a less musclebound version of Osman; Slater is a good footballer and it was great to see Bannigan remind us that he is a class act...particularly after some appalling and stupid comments on this forum this week. I was never a fan of Elliot but I was surprised by how well he had done at full back despite his inability to take on defender but he has been poor defensively this season - and we don't have another right back. Spittal is increasingly frustrating - he has ability but has to take on more responsibility - he keeps calling for the ball only to play it straight back again. Storey can't see a pass and has no end product. Every Thistle Fan will remember this game for the Goal That Never Was - the linesman must be feeling a proper fud after seeing the replay but the Ref was standing within a few feet from Doolan when he hit the shot - how could they not see the ball go in or even realise from the reaction of the players that it was a goal? I felt sorry for Doolan - it was a thumping shot. A second goal would have made it a more comfortable afternoon...and given that we were relegated by one goal last season let's hope it just remains nothing more that one of Firhill's more bizarre episodes.
  9. Winter of '63

    Who Are The Jags Players In This Photo?

    I think the Thistle Player in the top photograph is Donnie McDowall - I don't remember seeing him play but he was a youngster who was in team photos around 1970/71 - he was a 5ft 5inch striker which was probably why he never made the grade. This must have been a reserve game.
  10. Winter of '63

    Ryan Edwards

    I wasn't listening particularly closely but I think it was Alan Preston who mentioned on Radio Scotland yesterday that Ryan Edwards was sitting nearby in the stand at Tynecastle - he commented that there were other Hearts midfielders returning from injury who would be preferred to him and that Edwards would be no more than a squad player. Edwards always tried but I was surprised when Hearts signed him...he and Barton were a midfield combination of relegation calibre.
  11. Winter of '63

    Who Are The Jags Players In This Photo?

    I was at that game - it was a Cup Replay played on a Wednesday afternoon during the Miners'Strike/3 day week - no floodlight games permitted because of the fuel shortage. I don't recognise any of the Hearts players in the photo but do remember Donald Ford was brilliant in that game - probably the best individual performance I've seen from an opposition player at Firhill - a goal and three assists, setting up a tap-in hat-trick for Willie Gibson who I think subsequently played (not very well ) for Thistle as did his son. Tommy Rae scored a lot of goals for Thistle in his first spell...and hardly any for Aberdeen when he was transferred. I just remember him from his second spell at Firhill - he wasn't very good but he was in the category of "faithful club servant".
  12. Winter of '63

    Thistle vs Falkirk - Relegation Decider?

    Much better performance and a deserved win although Falkirk were a poor side - we are short of players but I prefer giving our youngsters a chance than their job lot of anonymous English Lower League Plodders. O'Ware and Slater are decent signings who are an upgrade on Devine and Edwards...Penrice and Gordon stepped up their games...Spittal and Storer threatened a few times but didn't quite open up their defence. I'm not convinced that Elliot is good enough at right back nor that Storey is a sole striker...his pace did stretch their defence but he fired in crosses to no one and was caught offside umpteen times. Erskine had an excellent game...I'm sure Denis McQuade would have enjoyed seeing the goal...reminiscent of one of his specials. A moving tribute to the Partick Thistle Legend, David McParland and great to see most of the 1971 team back at Firhill...it brought back some wonderful memories...and reminded me that supporting your team is far more than just about a game. Jury still out about the prospects for the season.
  13. Winter of '63

    Seven figure sum?

    We were 6th at New Year.
  14. Winter of '63

    Ayr at home

    My first look at the team this season was a real shock to the system. I thought we had the core of a side which would at least make the play-off position which is the minimum acceptable for a Thistle Side and with a fit Bannigan and some more depth to the squad, would be genuine promotion prospects. However today's performance showed the same faults as last season but worse. Lots of possession, ponderous build-up , few clear chances, easy to defend against - in his post-match interview Archie correctly identified that we moved the ball too slowly - when is he going to do something about it? Craig Slater looked a good player - strange substitution; Erskine tried very hard and showed a few flashes; young Fitzpatrick wanted to go forward...that was about all the positives. I never expected I would see Elliot dribble along the bye-line and lay on a goal - a catastrophic error; Keown was rusty/not very good; McGinty was a really bad version of Dan Seaborne; Penrice was awful and lacking confidence; Gordon's sole contribution was one good tackle - McCarthy did far more in his short spell - why are we playing an inferior loan player?; Spittal has ability but didn't show it; Storer can make an incisive pass but is an atrocity waiting to happen. I was baffled at the almost universal acclaim for re-signing Storey on this Forum and Pie & Bovril. He was desperately poor last season - he can run quickly but can't pick out a pass or cross and is a dreadful finisher...a sclaffed shot and heading wide with the goal gaping today with repeated failures to look up and find a team-mate from good positions. Last season I kept posting that although we hadn't played well the opposition didn't look a better team - that wasn't the case today. Fantastic Strike from Shankland - I almost applauded.
  15. Winter of '63

    Davie McParland

    Although Davie McParland played in all the games my father took me to at Firhill back in the 60's, I was too young then to appreciate how good a player he was, I do remember how highly he was thought off both for his ability but also the manner he conducted himself and not only by Thistle fans. 587 Games and 110 Goals speaks for itself. I has just started to go to games regularly on my own when he took over as Manager in 1970 - he transformed a team which had just been relegated into an exciting side of home-grown youngsters which surged to promotion...and then the best time ever to be a Thistle fan within the space of a few months in 1971 the John Gibson inspired win against Rangers, the astonishing 8-3 game against Motherwell, the dramatic 5-1 Quarter-final victory against St Johnstone and of course that glorious day at Hampden , winning a trophy in the most sensational game in Scottish Football History. I don't really get greatly affected by the death of people I have never met but I was genuinely sad to read of Davie McParland's passing. He gave me my best ever memories as a Thistle Supporter. He is the Partick Thistle Legend...but sadly I always had the feeling that he was never fully recognised by the Club. Let's hope that the new Training Ground is a fitting legacy for him.