Ernie Yard
Ernie Yard
Ernie Yard
● Ernie Yard, 1965 (HOL)

born in Scotland

Ernest John Yard was born on Saturday, 3rd May, 1941, in Stranraer, Wigtownshire.

The forward signed for Willie Thornton's Thistle on Friday, 13th September, 1963, having most recently been with Kilmarnock.

Aged 22, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 14th September, 1963, in a 3-0 defeat at home to Rangers in the SFL First Division.

Ernie scored his first two goals for Thistle on Monday, 16th September, 1963, in a 4-1 win away to Glentoran in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

He scored the last of his 9 goals on Monday, 23rd December, 1963, in a 2-1 defeat away to Celtic in the Glasgow Cup.

That turned out to be his last game for the club, having appeared as a Jag on 21 occasions.

His club-list included Stranraer, Kilmarnock, Partick Thistle, Bury, Crystal Palace, Reading and Cape Town City.

Ernie died on Tuesday, 23rd November, 2004, in South Africa, aged 63.

Bio Extra

When many Jags fans are reminded of Thistle’s 1963 Inter City Fairs Cup progress, they visualize two photos (see 'Gallery' tab) from a foggy, floodlit Firhill, from Thistle’s 2nd round 1st leg contest against Spartak Brno on a cold November evening. The first photo shows Ernie Yard heading the ball towards goal, with the ball on target, heading towards goal. Black clad Spartak goalkeeper Schmucker looks across goal at airborne Ernie, with the right half Vita behind the Thistle player, beaten. Davie McParland, who crossed the ball for Ernie’s header from a left-wing free kick, can be seen at the edge of the photo, in the fog. The second (better known) photo shows Ernie on his way to ground. The goalkeeper has hardly moved, Vita is still behind Ernie, the distant floodlights hazily pick out the ball hitting the Spartak net. 1-0 to the Jags. Three Thistle players look on, spectators in this moment of drama. A second goal before half-time from a Cunningham penalty was followed by a third just after the break by Martin Ferguson. Thistle should, in truth, have scored some more, and the spurned chances came back to bite them when Spartak scored 2 breakaway goals to transform the tie, with away goals counting double in the event of a tie over the home and away matches. The Czechoslovaks only had these 2 chances, and they took them. On the way home, Spartak complained that their players couldn’t breathe in the fog. After a torturous journey to Brno, Thistle were beaten 4-0 and the dream was over.

Forward Ernie joined Thistle in September 1963 from Kilmarnock, after starting his senior career with hometown club Stranraer. He scored his first Thistle goals with a double against Glentoran in the Inter City Fairs Cup 1st round away tie on 16 September 1963. Thistle won that match 4-1. Ernie sits to this day as Thistle's leading marksman in first class European competition, with 3 goals to his credit! He scored a hat-trick against Queen of the South in an SFL First Division fixture at Firhill on 7 December 1963, with the Jags running out 6-1 winners. Ernie left for Bury in January 1964, for an £8,000 fee. He spent 2 seasons at Gigg Lane before moving to Crystal Palace in May 1965, making 40 appearances, and scored 3 goals. In 1966 he moved on to Reading, spending 3 seasons with the club and making more than 100 appearances. He emigrated to South Africa, playing for Cape Town City (national champions in '73) until July 1974.

Away from football Ernie was a salesman with Puma Jersey in Athlone, Cape Town, a company that manufactured weft knitted fabric. In the mid-1990s he joined Rotex, another clothing manufacturing company. Ernie died in South Africa in November 2004 aged 63. One of his former works colleagues said of him “Ernie remained a great soccer supporter and player; he played in many amateur games and even played in our company team. He was getting older but he never lost that skill with the ball and a strong determination to win! Like many Scots, Ernie enjoyed his occasional drink and we spent many a good hour together.


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