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Winter of '63

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  1. On a quick check of the Official History, I make that a total of close to 400 goals for Thistle in their careers.
  2. The first time I saw McGinty play, I thought he was clumsy and awkward...I do remember a game towards the end of last season when he made a number of swaggering runs forward but he just wasn't good enough...seemed like a decent guy and good luck to him...a certainty to score against us! I was more impressed with the first few times I saw Slater play...he was just the sort of capable midfielder who could bring the ball forward and make a pass that we had lacked in our relegation season...way better than Ryan Edwards, Martin Woods & Adam Barton(Version 2). He became less effective under the Caldwell's Shambles and I remember shouting "No One To Pass To" on a regular basis when he and Banzo brought the ball through from midfield. His injury kept him out of the reckoning for the early part of the season and while a decent player, he was too similar and not as good as Banzo & Cole. I would have thought he is far too good for Queens Park's level but they have just gone professional and maybe they are planning to do a Gretna. I was told that McCall's initial assessment of his squad was that only Bannigan would have been in his Ayr side so I am not surprised at the extent of the clear-out. I am not disappointed by the departure of any of the players who have left and there a few more who are still there that I would not miss. We desperately need a midfield anchor but I'm not sure about MacKinnon...otherwise I have faith in McCall's ability to build a team...but the Jury is still out.
  3. 10 of those played in my first ever game at Firhill - December 1962 against Airdrie - George Smith was on the left wing, Davie McParland was right half and John Harvey was centre half - I was too young then to have any judgement on how good these guys were...but as I have posted before, when the half-time scores were put up on the board at what is now the Bing End, there was a huge cheer as Rangers were losing and we were top of the League.
  4. It's wins and losses for all games played in the Club's History.
  5. In fairness, I thought Bannigan made some well-timed tackles on Saturday - none of our other players did! A United Player had a wild swipe which Banzo skipped past as he was breaking forward in the first half and Clark injured himself in the challenge late on...I did think that Banzo would certainly have got a yellow and possibly a red if he had made either of these challenges.
  6. I would date Thistle's decline from their historic norm at Season 1981/82 - we stayed in the smaller Top League of 10 teams (with 2 relegated every season) from 1976 and without too much difficulty. Only under Lambie and Archie have we returned to that level. Head-to-Head statistics can be distorted by sides not being in the same divisions over several seasons but there are some interesting comparisons with the teams in our peer group. We have significant deficits against Dundee (79-101), Dunfermline (29-50) and St Johnstone (42-52). We have however won more games than we have lost against Motherwell ( 85-82), Kilmarnock (95-79), St Mirren (77-67), Falkirk (85-60) & Hamilton (59-58). I think our core fan base has dropped over the last 25 years in comparison with these clubs - Hamilton from a lower base have also declined and they share with us a quite awful cup record. My conclusion is that we have been pretty rubbish for most of the last 30 years...I don't know what the reason is but prior to that period we regularly produced players who went on to play for Scotland (Mo Johnston was the last in a long line) but since then we have seldom brought though players good enough to play for very ordinary Thistle teams. Maybe concentrating on developing our own players is the way forward.
  7. We played pretty well for the first 30 minutes, conceded two goals far too easily, changed formation at half-time and looked a very poor side. Fox made a very good save but I don't know what he was doing at the resultant corner...standing at the post as the ball floated to Shankland who bundled it in from about one yard. It changed the game - United exploited our inability to tackle and the huge spaces down our right hand side. In fairness, Shankland has two outstanding finishes but the change from being the better team to also-rans was dispiriting. Only Bannigan & Cole looked up to the standard of player I would like to see at Firhill...Penrice looked a bit lost when switched to midfield...most of the others are relegation calibre- Williamson, Saunders, Robson, Cardle, Zanatta. I don't know what we are paying Miller but it is far too much. I'm a bit underwhelmed at some of the proposed signings - I will not be rushing to see Graham, MacKinnon or Berra but the current squad is nowhere good enough.
  8. I know you go to a lot of the Reserve Games and I appreciate your reports - surely it can't have done any good for our young kids being hammered by between 6 & 9 goals by older boys just about every game? And none of our older players have made the grade. I was delighted that Colin Weir was investing in a Youth Academy for Thistle rather than buying players for the First Team...but so far the products from the Weir Academy have been a disappointment.
  9. One of the many dispiriting aspects of last season was the embarrassing thrashings suffered by our Development Team...it's a concern that the great opportunity afforded by the Weir Academy has hardly produced any players good enough for the First Team...and that has not been a particularly high standard in the last two seasons. Maybe Kevin Nisbet would have developed better as a player if he had been given more games in preference to that hopeless lump Pogba. I hope there are better young players coming through...and that they are given a proper chance.
  10. Entirely agree - Higgy's streak of form was sensational in that period...a genuine match-winner with goals and assists. Archie's inexplicable substitution of Erskine and Higgy late on at Fir Park turned a 3-2 lead into a 3-4 defeat.
  11. My top five goals in ascending order are :- 5. Chris Erskine against Hibs at Firhill - great combination between Higgy, Lyle Taylor down the right a clever dummy by Dools and a cracking finish by Chris. 4. Steven O'Donnell at Tannadice - length of the park in 5 touches including a back-heel...this is the only choice I didn't see live. 3. Higgy against Motherwell at Fir Park - won the ball, weaved past 5 defenders and slotted into the corner...as said elsewhere Higgy was a man possessed that day 2. Stephen O'Donnell against Dunfermline - a great team goal in a game when we realised that we might just have a special team 1. Gary Fraser at Tynecastle - with a huge Thistle support behind the goal as the shot exploded in the net and we knew we were staying up was a special moment
  12. The only doubts I had with my selections were:- Right Centre Back - definitely the hardest choice...Balatoni had a mandatory blunder every game, Muirhead excellent in the First Division but didn't make the step up, .Frans was pretty solid, Keown & Devine ok initially but declined significantly, Lindsay far better on the left side. Barton was outstanding in his first season though he usually played in a back three - he was awful as a midfielder in his second season. Midfield Anchor - Paul Paton was a key player in the promotion winning team , Osman likewise in the top League - awful in his final season though. Striker - we seldom played twin strikers and although I didn't expect Lyle Taylor to be in the £4m transfer bracket, he and Doolan were very good players for us. I would give honourable mentions to Dumbuya & Lawless and Welsh & Fraser might have been candidates but for injury problems. Cerny O'Donnell Barton Lindsay Taylor-Sinclair Erskine Osman Bannigan Higginbotham Taylor Doolan
  13. The lack of responses on this thread rather sums up Benny Rooney's time at Firhill but Laukat's assessment is spot on. The decline in the standard of player which started towards the end of Bertie Auld's time and which Peter Cormack was unable to address went downhill sharply under Rooney - journeymen professionals towards the end of their careers were given contracts and Rooney's time in charge marked the change from Thistle being a top flight Club or at least striving to be one to an underachieving Club which habitually struggled to stay in the Second Tier. I lost enthusiasm for going to Firhill - all this has echoes of what has happened under Caldwell. Rooney had been an unpopular player as the mandatory old-head in Bertie Auld's very good side which ran away with the First Division. In the decisive game against Kilmarnock, he went down injured to great cheers from some Thistle fans...he struggled to his feet just as the ball landed in front of him...he lashed a 25 yard rocket into the net, turned to give a GIRUY gesture in the direction of the Shed, then collapsed in a heap to be carried off to the double delight of the Thistle Support. It was his only memorable contribution at Firhill.
  14. Caldwell mentioned that one player had not been chosen in any of the players' team selections except by that player in his own selection...he then went on to say the player had scored in the game. Our scorers in the Queen of the South game were Mansell, McDonald and Bannigan...so it doesn't require great powers of deduction to work out that Mansell was the player he was referring to. Maybe Caldwell was a footballing visionary who saw something in Mansell that none of his team-mates had done...or maybe he was an awful manager who gave a two year contract to a player who, on what little I have seen, is not even up to the very poor standard of our current squad.
  15. We were maybe unfortunate to be a goal down at half-time after a decent first half...but the second half was a bit dull - very good saves from Fox and one off the post - we didn't really look like equalising. The core of this squad is no better than just good enough to stay clear of relegation and no matter the quality of reinforcements at the January Transfer Window, we are unlikely to make a promotion play off spot. It's another season which will pass us by. Saunders did quite well but it was no surprise that Dundee cut through the right side of our defence easily for their goal - Williamson is not very good and Kakay who did well against Morton at right back last time I saw him, offered little in defence or attack. Cole hit some brilliant passes...Banzo tends to dwell on the ball and play safe passes...but I suspect that the lack of options makes the task of hitting an incisive ball much more difficult. Jones looked ok but Cardle was ineffective again. I was not enthused at Miller signing for us...he is very fit for his age but he is a bit of a pest - playing behind Penrice, then as holding midfielder, less roving in the second half but hardly in the game. It's difficult to see huge scope for improvement in this squad and disappointing that the Weir Academy has not produced young players who are good enough to challenge for a place in this team.
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