1880-81 On The Move
New grounds secured at Jordanvale
Partick Thistle become the newest member of the Scottish Football Association
First meeting of local rivals Partick Thistle and Partick
First fixture against Rangers
During the summer there were startling changes taking place to the Partick Thistle club. Of these, two were most important. Any self-respecting and progressive club in the late 19th century had to have two things which Thistle didn’t in 1879-80 – membership of the Scottish Football Association, and their own, private, ground.
Over the summer President Barclay and Secretary McColl were busy arranging for the purchase of private grounds at Jordanvale Park in Whiteinch.
This done, membership of the SFA was next on the agenda and this also was achieved during the summer break. Black and white evidence was at last available to show the followers of the club that Thistle were on the way up. In the SFA Annual of 1880 there was a new entry in the listings of Glasgow clubs :
“PARTICK THISTLE Formed in December 1875. Grounds private at Jordanvale Park, Whiteinch, one minute walk from the terminus. Dressing room near grounds. Colours navy blue jersey, white knickers, red hose. Last year played 18 matches, won 12, lost 1, drawn 5. Goals for 48, lost 12. Hon. Secretary H.McColl, Match Secretary A.Duff.”
[Editor’s Note – the statistics above are at odds with those collated from contemporary newspapers of the previous season.]
Prior to the start of the season the Annual General Meeting of the club was held and the following were elected :
- President J.Barclay
- Captain John Beattie
- Vice Captain J.Gardiner
- Treasurer G.Leckie
- Secretary Andrew Duff, 10 Russell Street, Partick
- 2nd XI Captain G.Cochrane
- Vice Captain A.Cameron
- Secretary T.Glancy
Thistle began the season with a match against south side rivals Pollok from Pollokshaws, who were also opening new grounds and invited Thistle for this purpose. A splendid game saw Thistle lose 0-2.
Interest began to build for Thistle’s first foray into the Scottish Cup, and supporters were disappointed when the draw paired the club with Dennistoun away rather than a big name team. Perhaps Thistle’s reputation preceded them, because the opponents scratched before the match and Thistle continued into the second round.
The grand opening of the Jordanvale grounds took place on 4th September with the visit of South Western and ended with Thistle winning 3-1.
A victory over Harmonic by 2-1 continued the build-up to yet another eagerly anticipated match, this time the first meeting between Partick Thistle and the top club of the village – Partick.
The game was played at Inchview, Partick’s home ground and later to become one of Thistle’s homes and attracted a good deal of interest owing to the local rivalry. Although it was a spirited, and sometimes rough, game Thistle lost out by five goals to one. The level of support for the younger club, though, was evident when the Thistle goal was scored –
“loud applause which showed the feeling of the crowd who lined the ropes … not a few of Thistle’s partisans will be disappointed with the result”.
Though disappointed, a resolve was established, and from then a Thistle side rarely gave less than 100% in a game against the local rivals.
The Scottish Cup eventually arrived, although it was again an away fixture against a lesser side, this time against Jordanhill. A crowd of 300 watched the game and saw Beaton score an early goal for Thistle, while at the other end the Thistle backs were having a fine game. Later in the game Thistle again scored, but the goal was ruled out by the referee after Jordanhill appealed against it. The appeals procedure, while making games unpredictable, kept an SFA committee busy after each round of competition, as teams and officials rarely agreed on referee’s decisions. The game, however, ended 1-0 to Partick Thistle, and the first venture into the national competition had been successful.
A fine 2-1 victory over Cambuslang at Jordanvale preceded a visit to Govan to play Rangers in the Scottish Cup – the first encounter between the two teams in a remarkable series of games which saw Thistle retain the upper hand over their neighbours for a long spell.
However, the first game in the sequence of games saw the more experienced Rangers win 3-0 in front of a crowd of around 1,000 at Kinning Park – the biggest a Thistle team had played in front of. Although Thistle played well, Andrew Duff in goals especially, their shooting in front of goal was too erratic and Rangers superior play won out.
Following their disappointment against Rangers, Thistle travelled back across the water to play Govan, and again were disappointed, returning home with a 2-0 defeat.
Games again were few and far between around winter time, but games were played and won against Helensburgh Victoria, Cambuslang and Windsor, and lost to Ardrossan Seafield before the tail end of the season saw Thistle in demand for Charity Cup matches.
Dalmuir Thistle were dispatched 1-0 at Jordanvale in the Yoker Cup after Bogle scored the only goal, before Yoker themselves fell to the same score in the final of the competition. The game was played at Holm Park and the band of supporters following Thistle made themselves heard when the only goal was scored shortly before half-time. Although Thistle might have stretched their lead the game finished 1-0 and a further trophy was on the way back to the grounds at Whiteinch.
In the Royal Standard and Grand National Halls Cup (the Grand National Halls were in Govan) Thistle beat Harmonic 4-0 in the first round and then played Glasgow Thistle in the semi final at Shawfield Park. Glasgow Thistle won the game 4-1.
A final match saw Thistle try to exact some revenge for the defeat earlier in the season, when the second team beat the seconds of Partick. Thistle won the first game between the sides 8-0, a very one-sided game.
It was again a successful season for the up-and-coming club, as the SFA Annual of August 1881 reported – “played 19 games, won 12, lost 5, drawn 2” – and with another trophy in the expanding cabinet at Jordanvale.
Season by season
- Miscellaneous (16)
- Other clubs (15)
- Players (26)
- Thistle – early years (48)
- Thistle – general (5)
Football history links
- Ayr United archive
- Bill Shankly
- Falkirk Historian
- Gallant Pioneers – Early history of Rangers
- Glasgow Herald archive at Google
- Hibernian Historical Trust
- London Hearts
- Partick Thistle history archive by StuTheJag
- Rangers History
- Scottish Football Historical Archive
- Scottish Football Museum
- Scottish Sports History
- ScottishLeague.net and forum