Manager Willie Thornton

Willie Thornton
For the timeline overview see our Partickle: The Managerial Comings And Goings →; see also: Willie Thornton (opposition manager) →
Willie Thornton
● Willie Thornton, 1965 (HA)

born in Scotland

William Thornton was born on Wednesday, 3rd March, 1920, in Winchburgh, West Lothian. He had one spell as manager at Firhill.


(Thu-24-Sep-1959 ↔ Wed-25-Sep-1968; 9y,0m,1d)

After the untimely death of David Meiklejohn, Thistle invited applications for the post of manager and received 24 replies all told, one of which was confirmed as former English internationalist Raich Carter, lately gaffer at Leeds United. “Right out of the blue” as the chairman described it, came the best one of the lot. The in-demand Willie Thornton was a real name in the Scottish game, and in recent times had turned down managerial offers from big guns such as Preston North End, Leeds United and Kilmarnock. Like his late friend, Meiklejohn, he was regarded as a legendary player for Rangers, and, without a break, had went straight into management with Dundee, where he had spent the last 5 seasons. The Dark Blues had finished 4th in the League last term, so this was a surprise application, and one which was almost certain to succeed. Indeed, within hours of the deadline on 8th September, a call was made to Thornton's Dundee home and the deal was done without formal interview. It was Thistle's luck that Willie hankered after a move back to Glasgow, so the arrangement suited both parties. A gallant charge for the Scottish flag in 1962-63 was thwarted by the big freeze, but Thistle marched into Europe all the same, on account of the third place finish.

(39y,6m,23d) Sat-26-Sep-1959 [h] L0-3 Rangers (SFL First Division - game 5)
first – last of 446
(48y,6m,18d) Sat-21-Sep-1968 [a] L0-1 St Mirren (SFL First Division - game 3)

Thornton's departure was as surprising as his arrival, being tempted away as assistant manager to David White at Rangers. The announcement was made immediately after Thistle had lost 2-0 at Ibrox on 7th September, 1968. Whoever thought that was a classy idea needs to seriously have a word with themselves. Give him his due, just as he'd done by serving notice at Dundee, Willie stayed on until the new man, Scot Symon, was in place.

He was in charge of Thistle for 446 games in total, as well as managing at Dundee (1954-1959) and Rangers (1969).

Willie died on Monday, 26th August, 1991, in East Dunbartonshire, aged 71.

Comparison (Competitive)
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Comparison (Top-Flight)
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Comparison (The Cups)
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