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Partick Thistle Brake Club Banner, 1911

The earliest form of organised supporters groups sprung up in the late 1880s and were known as ‘Brake Clubs’ – so called because of the large horse drawn wagons external-link.png they travelled in.

These large wagons could hold 25 supporters and brakes would make their way to games in and around Glasgow to cheer on Thistle. Partick Thistle's first-known Brake Club banner was of Willie Paul in 1897, although that's not to say he was the first to be so honoured. The Thistle supporters of 1911 vintage were clearly enamoured with the performances of the club-captain, Alec Raisbeck, who was depicted on at least two brake club banners of the day.

What inspired this adulation? Well, Raisbeck was a superstar. A revered figure in the world of football with two League titles to his credit at Liverpool and 8 times capped for Scotland, as captain more often than not. Thistle were in the doldrums when he arrived at Firhill in the summer of 1909, having just finished rock-bottom of the First Division. By 1910-11, the Jags had rocketed to 4th in the League (above Celtic), and finished just 10 points behind the champions. They went through the entire League campaign unbeaten at Fortress Firhill. Crowds were up as Maryhill took Thistle as one of her own. One of the Brake Clubs raised this new banner in the image of their heroic captain. Alec, an inspirational figure to teammates and fans alike, was seen as one of the main men responsible for the great revival.

See our Alec Raisbeck page for his full colourful story.


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Hope Robertson's Poem / Christmas Card, 1930s

In his retirement, 19th century Jag Hope Robertson found time to nurture his love of writing poetry, producing a number of works, elegiac in nature, which, more often than not, harked back to his youth and his homeland. One, about the famous clipper Cutty Sark, launched at Dumbarton in 1869, was incorporated into a greeting card sent to family and friends at Christmas. At least one of these cards still survives to this day and the front/back design (as shown) is being made public for the very first time. We're deeply honoured to be sharing it here with you in our Archive Museum! The poem inlay itself was duly included in Rob Sawyer's 'The Hope Robertson Chronicles' published in December, 2022; click on the image to have a read!

The Hope Robertson Chronicles external-link.png, an 80-page booklet, is now available as ‘print on demand’ via Amazon, priced at just £3.50 plus postage.


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James Cameron's Greenock Charity Cup Winners' Medal, 1893

This splendid medal was won by James Cameron in May 1893. The full back, a Linthouse player, guested for Thistle for three games in the Greenock Charity Cup, culminating in a 7-4 final win over the hosts, Morton, at Cappielow. Amazingly, James's medal turned up at McTear's Auctioneers in late 2020 and sold for around £1,800 including fees! It's certainly a most handsome piece - we're showing the reverse, click to see the front view. McTear's had this to say:

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Awarded to J. Cameron of Partick Thistle, the obverse with central shield shaped plaque bearing lion rampant motif in relief, below a pierced football, the reverse with circular plaque inscribed 'Greenock & District Charity Cup Competition 1893 Won by J Cameron', 41mm high, maker A.D., marked 9ct, 10.5g.

See also our profile page for James Cameron →


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The Glasgow Dental Cup, 1928

By 1924 it was recognised that a new dental hospital was required in Glasgow, and with no NHS yet and an estimated cost of £90,000, a huge fund-raising campaign began. One of the fund-raising ideas was for 'The Glasgow Dental Hospital Cup' and between November and December 1928, 6 clubs from the Glasgow FA played in a one-off tournament to help raise funds for the proposed new building. The winners would keep the cup in perpetuity and the players would each receive a 9ct gold medal. The gate money from the games raised a total of £819 for the building fund. Perhaps more could have been raised if the glamour tie of Rangers vs Celtic had taken place, but Thistle spoiled the script. After defeating Third Lanark by one goal to nil, the Jags went on to beat Celtic 3-1 in the Semi Final, and Rangers 2-0 in the final. This was a cup well earned by the club.

The trophy has 12 lines inscribed:

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Presented by “Scottish Country Life” for competition amongst the clubs of the Glasgow Football Association in aid of the new building of the Glasgow Dental Hopital. Season 1928-29 won by PARTICK THISTLE.

Legend has it the trophy was buried under the pitch for safekeeping during the war, but it's in great condition in the Firhill boardroom where it rests to this day. See our match hub for a picture of the winning team and a neat wee video about the tournament.


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The Military Medal

The Military Medal (MM) was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other arms of the armed forces, and to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land. The award was established in 1916, with retrospective application to 1914, and was awarded to other ranks for “acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire”. As told in The Partick Thistle Returned, at least two of our men received this medal.

Johnny Houston, who played with Thistle in season 1919-20, received the award in 1917. His citation, recorded in the Edinburgh Gazette on 21 November 1917, read: “during an attack on the enemy’s lines all of the officers were put out of action and Sergeant Houston took command of his platoon. He led the attack in face of a murderous fire, advanced 100 yards and succeeded in taking and holding the objective for 36 hours until relief arrived”. He was later awarded a bar to his Military Medal on 13 February 1919, essentially meaning that another of his acts was deemed similarly worthy.

Future-manager Willie Thornton received the Military Medal for coolness under bombardment at the Sferro Hills, Sicily, in the summer of 1943. His citation read: “On the night of 31/7, 586278 Gunner Thornton, accompanied his Battery Commander as signaller to an O.P on Point 22. He maintained constant communication for 18 hours and passed down Fire Orders often under heavy shelling and mortar fire. By his coolness and devotion to duty Gunner Thornton gave great assistance to his Battery Commander in bringing down his fire on the enemy.”.


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The Military Cross

The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level (second-level pre-1993) military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces. The MC is granted in recognition of “an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land” to all members of the British Armed Forces of any rank. The award was created on 28 December 1914 and, from August 1916, recipients of the Cross were entitled to use the post-nominal letters MC.

As told in The Partick Thistle Returned, John M. Young, who played with Thistle betweeen 1914 and 1916, received the Military Cross for his bravery at the Somme, setting up the first aid post well forward of the support line and attending to the line of wounded soldiers under fire during the Battle. Months later, another incident meant that he had to have his leg amputated.


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Jimmy McMenemy's Scottish Cup Winners' Medal, 1921

As fate would have it, the 40-year-old Jimmy McMenemy would return to his old Celtic Park stomping ground twice in Partick Thistle's Scottish Cup campaign of 1921 and twice, he led the Jags to victory there. The second of these would earn the 40-year-old a winners medal against his auld enemy as the Thistle defeated the Rangers by one goal to nil. It's an incredible story in the Partick Thistle history books. Bravo Napoleon!

This historic and handsome medal was consigned to McTear's Auctioneers in Glasgow by an anonymous seller, and went under the hammer on Friday, November 20th, 2020. The guide price of £2,000 to £4,000 was greatly exceeded on the day, an online bidder being succesful with a bid of £6,300.

The nine carat gold medal stands 45mm high and weighs 14.2g, the obverse inscribed 'Scottish Football Association' in blue enamelled lettering around a pierced oval body, depicting a lion rampant, beneath a thistle motif. The reverse (which can be viewed on Jimmy McMenemy's gallery) is inscribed 'Scottish Cup - Won by Partick Thistle F.C 1920-21' and 'James McMenemy'.


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Cigarette Case, 1927

James Brown Couper (1870–1946) was the Unionist Party (Scotland) MP for Maryhill between 1924 and 1929. He was called upon to officially open Partick Thistle's new 6,000 seat main stand on day one of the 1927-28 season. In recognition of his support on the day, the club gifted him this silver cigarette case. The engravement reads: “Presented to J. B. Couper MP on the occasion of the opening of PARTICK THISTLE FOOTBALL CLUB GRAND STAND on 13th August 1927.” Thistle defeated Queen's Park by two goals to nil, with the attendance estimates averaging 24,500. “A pleasant feature of the gathering was the unusually large number of ladies who graced the reserved portion of the stand by their presence” said the Daily Record.

The case recently surfaced in a little vintage shop in Newton Stewart which was selling it online. Who bought it and how much it sold for is unknown.

See our match gallery for a picture of the presentation party on the day.


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Partick Thistle vs. Dumbarton Harp, Match Ball

Another example of the pride felt by the Thistle board after the move to Maryhill in 1909. Someone from the within the directorate had the foresight to commandeer the match ball which had been used in the first-ever match at Firhill; Partick Thistle 3 Dumbarton Harp 1, the 18th September, 1909. The ball was painted and treated with the club names in gold lettering.

Due to their poor League performances in the homeless season before, Thistle were in the ignominious position of having to qualify for the Scottish Cup proper in 1909-10. 4,000 witnessed a fast and exciting Qualifying Cup tie. Alas, a defensive mix-up let JOHN CARR in to score Firhill's first ever goal - for Dumbarton Harp! It was captain ALEC RAISBECK to the rescue from the penalty spot in 42 mins. The standites reportedly stamped their feet in approval! TOM CALLAGHAN put Thistle ahead with a fine drive (55) and, would you believe it, a second penalty from ALEC RAISBECK put the result beyond doubt. Two Harp players were sent off in a rough last few minutes. It was quite the day!

Whilst our photograph suffers a little from the restraints of 2013 mobile phone technology, and the fact it was snapped through the glass cabinet in the Firhill boardroom, we're as proud as those directors to have it in our virtual museum all the same, and will endeavour to apply an upgrade at some point!

To this day, the ball lies in the Firhill boardroom and still comes out for the occasional exhibition.


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Partick Thistle vs. Dumbarton Harp, Commemorative Plaque

The directors were keen to mark the start of a new era in 1909. After some initial teething problems with the building work, Firhill received a clean bill of health and the ground was ready to be opened for the Scottish Cup Qualifying Cup tie with Dumbarton Harp on 18th September 1909.

The executive, including William Reid, George Easton, Richard Robertson & William Lindsay, commisioned a commemorative plaque for the boardroom. There's almost a sense of relief with this gesture. Partick was now almost 1½ years behind them, and getting fixed up in Maryhill put an end to a very unhappy period of homelessness.

At some point in time, a run of posters was also produced, in the exact same design of the plaque.


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1909-2009 Firhill Centenary Shirt

Partick Thistle Football Club and Greaves Sports launched the club’s new Puma-designed 09/10 centenary strip on 18th September 2009. This was done 100 years to the day of the Jags’ first ever game at Firhill. Allan Cowan, Partick Thistle chairman noted: “This is a proud day for the club and the centenary strip will only add to the sense of special occasion tomorrow.” It was indeed worn for the first time the very next day, in a 2-0 Firhill League win against Dunfermline Athletic.

From 11am on that Saturday at Firhill there were a number of events, aimed primarily at families, taking place in the car park outside the Jackie Husband Stand. There were photo opportunities with current Thistle players and the 1971 League Cup winning squad. There was street rugby from Glasgow Warriors, and a mini football tournament involving four local primary schools. A coffee stall was run by Macmillan Cancer Relief with all proceeds going to the charity. The first 100 visitors to the Aitken Suite before kick-off were refreshed with a free drink of their choice!


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“Cottage” by Andrew Johnston, 1889

The last of four surviving watercolour paintings by the artist, the only one not to be signed. Andrew would have been 23 or 24 when he created this piece, and had a lot of memorable footballing history behind him already. Read his story here.

Thank you to great grandson Douglas Fyfe for preserving this work, and for submitting this photograph in August, 2022.


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“Lonely row boat” by Andrew Johnston, 1885

The third of four watercolour paintings by the artist, preserved for more than 130 years. Andrew Johnston made his first known appearance for Partick Thistle in January 1885, so this was most likely to have been painted just as his senior footballing "career" was taking off, albeit these were the days of the amateur.

Thank you to great grandson Douglas Fyfe for preserving this work, and for submitting this photograph in August, 2022.


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“Puck's Glen waterfall” by Andrew Johnston, 1884.

Watercolour painting by Partick Thistle forward Andrew Johnston, and signed by the artist himself. Thanks to Douglas Fyfe for the submission. Puck's Glen is a river-formed ravine near Dunoon, with a popular scenic walking trail beside the Eas Mòr stream (Gaelic for "big waterfall"). It's been highlighted as a feature of the Argyll Forest Park (itself within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park), and described it as "one of the most magical forests in Scotland, with a delightful trail along a rocky gorge."

The stream tumbles down a series of waterfalls and rapids, joining the River Eachaig about 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) south of the entrance to the Benmore Botanic Garden. A car park off the A815 road (about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Dunoon on the road to Loch Eck) gives access by a track to the foot of the glen path, as well as forest paths giving an alternative route to the top of the glen.


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“Rothesay” by Andrew Johnston, 1884.

We were very pleased to have received a photograph of one of Andrew Johnston's caps, but we weren't prepared for what came next… it turned out he was a talented artist to boot! All 4 of the paintings seen in this gallery were submitted by his great grandson, Douglas Fyfe.

This water colour was painted by Andrew in 1884, probably before he joined Thistle. It's signed by the artist himself and, although he never gave it a title, all parties concerned are comfortable in calling it as seen.


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Glasgow FA Cap 1889

This was the third and final Glasgow cap earned by Andrew Johnston. The match was played on the 23rd February 1889 at Powderhall in Edinburgh, the seventh annual meeting of Glasgow vs. Edinburgh, won by the latter, 5 goals to 3. Andrew's second-born son, John, took possession of the cap upon his untimely passing in 1905. Brilliantly, John lived in Thistle Street; this cap is charmed! Sadly, John died of cancer in 1959 and his wife looked after it until she herself passed away in 1983. It then passed to Andrew's great grandson, Douglas Fyfe, who has ensured its survival ever since. Hopefully, whoever gets it next will take as much care of it as those in the last 130+ years have done!

On 24th August, 2022, Douglas was inspired to take and send this photograph when he read our extended biography on Andrew's life. We were very pleased indeed to see it and to hear the back story. So much so we've started this virtual museum!



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