Harry Johnston
Harry Johnston
Harry Johnston
● Harry Johnston, 1977 (TOP)

born in Scotland

Harry Grant Forsyth Johnston was born on Saturday, 24th December, 1949, in Kirkwall, Orkney.

The 5' 9 (10st 0lbs) forward signed for Bertie Auld's Thistle on Tuesday, 17th August, 1976, having most recently been with Montrose.

Aged 26, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 18th September, 1976, in a 2-0 win at home to Motherwell in the SFL Premier Division.

Harry scored his first goal for Thistle on Saturday, 23rd October, 1976, in a 2-1 win at home to Kilmarnock in the SFL Premier Division.

He scored the last of his 3 goals on Wednesday, 13th April, 1977, in a 2-1 defeat away to Rangers in the SFL Premier Division.

He played his last game for the club on Tuesday, 18th October, 1977, in a 2-2 defeat (on pens) away to Rangers in the Glasgow Cup, having appeared as a Jag on 17 occasions.

Harry's club-list included Lewis United, Montrose, Partick Thistle, Brechin City, Stenhousemuir and Thorniewood United.

Bio Extra

Harry Johnston, a Jags’ attacking midfielder/forward during seasons 1976/77 and 1977/78 is one of those people who competed in different sports to a high standard. Alan Hansen was good at football and golf, but Harry, as well as being a senior footballer in the SFL, was a County and International cricketer. He was born in Kirkwall in Orkney, but the family moved to Aberdeen when he was young.

Harry started his senior football career with Montrose in 1970, arriving from Aberdeen side Lewis United. He came to Thistle in 1976, and after ending his Jags career went on to play for Brechin City, Montrose for a second time and Stenhousemuir before ending his playing career at Thorniewood United. Before joining the Jags, Harry had graduated from Jordanhill College as a P.E. teacher. Bertie Auld signed Harry, and in his co-written autobiography “A Bhoy called Bertie: My Life and Times” he recalls:


One of the ones [transfers] that didn’t work out for me was a transfer that should never have taken place – at the player’s insistence. I watched Montrose while I was manager at Partick Thistle & I liked the look of one of their midfielders, Harry Johnston. I wanted him for Thistle, but he wasn’t exactly keen on the move… I told him “Look I have no doubt you can perform at that level. You’re better than you think, trust me”.

Probably the stand out match for Harry was a 4-3 SFL Premiership match at Firhill on 15 March 1977 against Rangers, where Harry scored. Harry scored to put Thistle 1 goal up. Rangers equalised. Melrose put the Jags 2-1 up, but the opposition equalised. Alan Hansen got the 3rd, and then put away a match winning penalty after Rangers equalised for a 3rd time. He did suffer injuries which hampered his Thistle career, and Bertie Auld did lose confidence in him. He left Thistle in 1978, had a season on loan at Brechin City, then rejoined Montrose from 1979 to 1982. He was subsequently inducted into the Montrose F.C. Hall of Fame. His final 2 years in senior football were with Stenhousemuir.

As mentioned above, Harry was also a first class cricketer, as a spin bowler and batsman. He played for Aberdeenshire and represented Scotland against Ireland at Rathmines in August 1975, and against Ireland again in July 1981 at Clontarf. He played in 16 Benson & Hedges Cup, and 1 Nat West Trophy matches. Incidentally, former Thistle manager Scot Symon and 1918/19 player Wilf Gillow were two other Thistle staff who played cricket at a high standard. Scot represented Scotland, and Wilf played for the County side Lincolnshire.

Throughout his football career, Harry combined football, cricket and teaching since his mid-20s, and spent a long part of his teaching career as a P.E. teacher at Stonelaw High School in Rutherglen, where he was a cricket (but not football) coach. Simon Donnelly and Steve Saunders were both pupils at Stonelaw High School who went on to play for Thistle.


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