1881-82 Scottish Cup Excitement
First game against Clyde
Thistle visit Blackburn Olympic and bring home 4-4 draw
Yoker Challenge Cup retained
The season started traditionally, with the Annual General Meeting and the publication of the SFA Annual. The annual now noted that [tram] cars passed the ground.
The annual meeting was held on the 15th August and elected the following as office bearers for the forthcoming season :
- President W.Livingstone
- Vice President A.Duff
- Captain G.Leckie
- Vice Captain H.Beaton
- 2nd XI Captain G.Cochrane
- Vice Captain R.Brown
- Treasurer G.Gibson
- Hon. Secretary H.McColl
- Match Secretary F.C.Mackay
Election to Vice President was just reward for Andrew Duff, a goalkeeper who had been a stalwart since the formation of the club.
The season proper started at the beginning of September with a 2-1 victory over Jamestown (Young and Paterson the scorers) as preparation for the first Scottish Cup tie of the season the following week.
Another Govan side were the opponents this year, this time Mavisbank who played at Lorne Park. Inglis gave Thistle the lead before “Shankland and Inglis had a good run, and passed the ball to the wing, where Beaton had a good screw into the centre, where Mackay cleverly headed through the Mavisbank goal.” In the second half Young shot was appealed against by Mavisbank but the goal was allowed to stand, before the home side scored a consolation goal.
There followed what was billed by the newspapers as “a contest of supremacy” when Partick Thistle and Clyde met for the first time. Clyde had been formed in 1878 and had begun to establish a similar reputation to Thistle as an up-and-coming club on the south-side of the city. It appeared to be a good day out to Clyde’s Barrowfield ground for the Thistle followers who cheered loudly for Thistle’s goal before half-time. Unfortunately, Clyde had already scored two, and proceeded to score another four in the second half to crush Thistle 6-1. Hendry and John Beattie at the back and Beaton up front played best for Thistle.
At Jordanvale the second team regained some pride for the club by beating the Clyde seconds 3-0.
The second round of the Scottish Cup was next for Thistle, and in their first home tie in the tournament were drawn against Pilgrims, who were forced to cancel a friendly at Barrow to play the tie. Play started at 4pm and almost immediately Pilgrims took the lead before John Young equalised. The second half saw an early goal disallowed for Inglis before he scored again for Thistle. Again the visitors appealed to the referee but the goal was allowed to stand this time. Later in the game Young again scored to finish the scoring as Thistle won 3-1 to qualify for the next round.
Thistle continued their success with a victory over Queen’s Park seconds the subsequent week – a creditable result, but the main topic of conversation down Partick way was rumours of an official protest from Pilgrims over the Scottish Cup tie. At the SFA meeting of 11th October it was decided to leave discussion of the protest (the chief point was whether the enclosure was properly roped and staked, and whether spectators interfered with play) until the referee was able to attend a meeting. Two days later the SFA Appeals Committee sustained the Pilgrims protest and ordered the game to be replayed on the 15th October, again at Jordanvale.
On the same day as the second SFA meeting Thistle hosted a visit from Strathmore of Dundee. After four minutes Thistle were a goal up and went on to win 12-1 against the “apparently out of form” visitors.
A return match against Strathmore was played the following week at Baxter Park in Dundee and this game was much closer. Ewing, Young and Shankland were Thistle’s scorers in a 4-1 win.
Thistle were determined to do well in the protested replay against Pilgrims and took the game to the visitors, going 1-0 up within the first two minutes. Beaton, John Young and Shankland all scored prior to the half- time break, before Ewing and Shankland again resumed the pressure on Pilgrims, and Leckie scored a seventh as Pilgrims scored once against debutant-in-goals Dyet.
The Scottish Cup continued to be the object of concentration as the third round came just seven days later – an away game against Petershill at Germiston Park in front of a good turn-out. A strong wind reduced the standard of play, and the game finished in a 2-2 draw.
The tie with Petershill was replayed the following week at Jordanvale in front of 700 spectators, a healthy turn-out for the time, and without a referee. Both clubs wrote to the SFA requesting an official but none was sent. Beaton and John Burleigh combined well to allow Beaton to score the first goal, and just four minutes later his partner Burleigh to net the second. In the second half the game began to get physical, and Shankland and Hendry of Thistle had to leave the field injured. Thistle managed to hold on with reduced numbers until the game ended with a 2-0 victory.
The Partick Thistle officials evidently had not learned the lesson of the previous round against Pilgrims, and the SFA committee again found against the club because the “enclosures had not been properly kept”. The game was to be replayed the next Saturday.
The Thistle supporters who attended the second replayed tie might have been expecting another rout after Beaton scored a good individual goal after just five minutes. However, Petershill were sterner opposition than Pilgrims and by half-time the north Glasgow team were 2-1 up. Burleigh equalised the tie after good work from Mackay and Thistle kept up the pressure until time was called with the score at 2-2. The SFA, wishing the game to be concluded on the day, had ordered that extra-time be played, and in the second period Beaton scored the third and decisive goal.
There was no respite from the Scottish Cup, and an exciting away tie at Shawfield Park against Glasgow Thistle saw a large gathering of spectators attending Partick Thistle’s seventh cup tie, their sixth in seven weeks. It was by far the biggest test of the season against a more established club, although both had been formed in 1875. Partick Thistle did their followers proud with a fine performance to win 1-0 – Ewing’s corner being converted by John Beattie a minute before half-time.
Eventually a respite from the Scottish Cup came in the shape of a friendly against Mavisbank, beaten in the first round of the cup back in September. As befitted the success of the team, there was a large crowd at Jordanvale, and they saw Thistle get off to their customary early start when John Young scored. Inglis and Burleigh scored in the second half to end the game 3-0 to Thistle.
The officials on the SFA Appeals Committee received the characteristic appeal from Thistle’s opponents following a Scottish Cup tie – this time Glasgow Thistle appealed – no details or results from the appeal were published but we can take it that it failed. Thistle were drawn in the sixth round against Queen’s Park.
In preparation for the biggest game of Partick Thistle’s history they left Central Station for a visit to England, and a match with Blackburn Olympic, who were to win the FA Cup in 1883. There was considerable interest in the game, Thistle’s first over the border, and Olympic had recently beaten Glasgow side Cowlairs. The game was played in outrageous weather, and the home side were 4-0 up at half- time, before Thistle, playing with the conditions, equalised thanks to goals from Young, Ramsay and Beattie and a late scrimmaged effort.
The result ensured that the club were now on the radar of the Athletic News, a sports newspaper published in Manchester. “The Thistle is quite a young club, but they are making a name for themselves by honest and gentlemanly play.”
On their return to Glasgow, Thistle found a great deal of interest in their match with Queen’s Park, as the newspapers previewed :
“Queen’s Park meet the rising club Partick Thistle, at Hampden Park, to settle a cup tie in the 6th round. The Partick Thistle have an unbeaten certificate this season, and are holders of the West Of Scotland Cup, and the Yoker Challenge Cup and are expected to give the senior side a stiff tussle before they succumb.”
If no-one expected Thistle to get a result against Queens, it did not stop a large Partick element from largely predominating at Hampden. However, with Queens fielding their strongest team, Thistle were no match and succumbed by 10-0, showing little resistance, and showing Thistle just how far there was still to go to the top.
Athletic News previewed a game that was keenly anticipated by football fans in the burgh.
The Partick Thistle and Partick have almost come to terms about playing a friendly match with each other. The Partick, of course, always despised the Thistle as being “small fry”, but now they have had their eyes opened to that fact that the Thistle is one of the rising clubs in Glasgow. The match will be a good one, and when it comes off I should like to be present, for now and again I like to see clubs, socially connected as they are, play each other. Generally there are little ebbulitions of temper which, although not deadly, are occasionally very refreshing.
There was good news later that month when a Thistle player was picked for representative honours for the first time. Goalkeeper and Vice President Andrew Duff was selected as a reserve for the SFA trials for the forthcoming matches against Sheffield and Lancashire counties.
Following the cup exit Thistle began the rounds of friendly matches once again, and firstly played a return match at Jordanvale to the cup tie against Glasgow Thistle. Inglis and John Young scored against the southside club in “one of the hardest and most pleasant games for some time”. The scoring finished at 2-1 for Partick Thistle – Andrew Duff playing particularly well and being cheered off the park.
Duff was called up to play and lost five goals in the Probable SFA team for the match against Lancashire against the Probable team to face Sheffield, when Allison of Queen’s Park did not turn up. Despite this Allison is selected for the SFA select match against Lancashire later in the month.
Thistle had made a good impression in Dundee earlier in the season, and returned to play a further game against Strathmore, this time at Rollo Park on 2 January, and again the visitors showed their superiority with a 5-1 win.
The following day Thistle travelled further north to provide the football fans of Forfar with a treat on a field at Bankhead Farm – “one of the best games under Association rules ever witnessed in Forfar.” The game attracted a good crowd.
The reputation which the visitors bear among the premier Scottish football clubs led many who do not often patronise football to expect a good exhibition of passing and dribbling, and in this they were not disappointed. The close passing and dribbling of the Glasgow forwards was much admired, as also was the excellent tackling and kicking of the backs. Both teams had supper in Petrie’s Hotel in East High Street.
Thistle won 4-1, and their style of play had clearly changed since earlier in the season, when they were seen as exponents of the dribbling game. The players had obviously improved their passing game too.
In a season of big games for Thistle the next match was the much anticipated first visit to Jordanvale of the top team of the burgh – Partick, and the game drew a crowd of over a thousand for the first time at Whiteinch. A well-contested game saw Thistle win the game 5-2 which delighted the home fans, although the visitors being reduced to ten men early in the match will have affected the score, as would the referee’s performance, which was described as requiring “better acquaintance with the rules”.
As holders of the Yoker Challenge Cup Thistle were invited back, and in the first round took on Brittania at home. After the ordeals and pressures of the Scottish Cup this tie must have seemed easy, Thistle ahead 5-0 at half-time and 10-0 at the end. Goals were scored by John Young (3), Ewing (2), Inglis (2), Shankland, Sinclair and Andrew Duff, taking a break from playing in goals.
Baillie Storrie of Partick chaired the club’s 4th Annual soiree and concert in the Partick Burgh Halls at the beginning of February, and congratulated the club on “its wonderful progress”, going on to recommend football to all young men of the burgh.
A pleasant game and another 10-0 victory were recorded against Kings Park of Stirling before the return match against Partick at Inchview. The scene was recalled by the press following the game :
“From the start it was apparent that the partisans of both clubs had come prepared to assist their respective clubs to the utmost of their power, the result being that for an hour and a half the ground was perfect pandemonium.”
John Boag [later to become involved with Partick Thistle] was involved in the move which gave Partick the lead before Thistle hit back and had taken the lead with a scrimmage and a Ramsay goal before half-time. Minutes into the second half John Young stretched Thistle’s lead and it remained 3-1 until the end of the game. Hendry, Ewing, Young and Inglis were all in splendid form, and debate raged as to who was the top club of the burgh now – Partick or Partick Thistle.
A visit from Cowlairs to Jordanvale saw a hard-contested game which Thistle won 2-0 before preparing for their second successive Yoker Challenge Cup Final –
again against the host club Yoker at Holm Park. Andrew Duff again took the opportunity to play outfield and was rewarded with a hat-trick as Thistle went on to lift the cup for a second year. Sinclair and Paterson also added to the final score of 5-0.
With no further cup competitions to play in Thistle were faced with a series of friendlies to play out the season, and they provided great entertainment for the supporters of the club. A 5-1 defeat of Perthshire side Vale of Teith was followed by a 3-0 win over Clarkston, before a Thistle side returned to England to play against Middlesbrough. Contemporary Scottish reports give the score as a win for Thistle by 3-2, although the following season’s SFA Annual, and the Middlesbrough Weekly Exchange lists the result as a 4-1 victory for Thistle, and reports a slightly different team line-up to that noted in the Scottish papers.
MIDDLESBROUGH (ASSOCIATION) V GLASGOW (PARTICK THISTLE)
This important match between the above clubs was played at the Cricket Field, Linthorpe- road, Middlesbrough, on Saturday afternoon last, and resulted in a victory for the visitors by four goals to one. The Scotch team is known as one of the best across the border, and therefore, before the match commenced, it was generally thought that the Middlesbrough men would have to play second fiddle to their more practised opponents, but the home team made a good bout of it, and had they played with a little more tact and coolness they might have been able to have made a drawn game of it. The first goal was secured for Glasgow soon after the game commenced, owing to the bungling of Rowland, the Middlesbrough goal- keeper. The home team, however, got possession of the globe, but were unfortunate, as, after some capital runs, a couple of shots at goal went over the crossbar, and the visitors regaining possession, never left the globe until they had scored a second goal. From a scrimmage, the Scotchmen scored goal No.3, and then half time was called. Middlesbrough, in the second half of the game, played much better together, but they were unable to prevent their opponents from securing the fourth goal. The rest of the play was entirely in favour of Middlesbrough, Borrie scoring the first and only goal secured by the home team, who missed several good chances of scoring. The teams were :- – Partick Thistle – – Beattie, goal; Henry and Brown, backs; Cooper and Cackie [should be Leckie] (capt.), half backs; Young and Ewing, right wing; Patterson and McCall, centre; Bain and Duff, left forwards. Middlesbrough – – Rowlands, goal; Peel and Ransford, backs; Pringle, Cochrane, and Booth, half- backs; Ewbank (capt.) and Mattison, right wing; Borrie, centre; Pickstock and Thompson, left wing; Mr J.Harrison referee.
[Middlesbrough Weekly Exchange]
On return from their travels the first ever meeting with Kilmarnock was played, Thistle triumphing emphatically 8-3 before obtaining revenge over Clyde for a 1-6 defeat earlier in the season with a 6-0 win. Vale of Leven were another of the top sides in the country at the time, and Thistle’s first visit to Alexandria was notable for another fine performance from Andrew Duff, this time in goals, and a disallowed Thistle goal. Vale won the game 1-0. The season was concluded with a 2-2 draw with Cartvale at Jordanvale.
Tradition was dispensed with and the club’s Annual General Meeting was held at the end of the season. The first XI’s results were reported as played 39, won 32, drawn 4, lost 3, while the second team only played 6, won 3, drew 2 and lost 1.
Both the treasurer’s and secretary’s reports were reported as very satisfactory.
Season by season
- Miscellaneous (16)
- Other clubs (15)
- Players (26)
- Thistle – early years (48)
- Thistle – general (5)
Football history links
- Ayr United archive
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- Gallant Pioneers – Early history of Rangers
- Glasgow Herald archive at Google
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- London Hearts
- Partick Thistle history archive by StuTheJag
- Rangers History
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