Pat Gillespie
Pat Gillespie
Pat Gillespie
● Pat Gillespie, 1950 (AM)

born in Scotland

Patrick Gillespie was born on Friday, 22nd September, 1922, in Renton, West Dunbartonshire.

The 5' 8 (10st 7lbs) midfielder signed for Donald Turner's Thistle on Wednesday, 28th June, 1944, having most recently been with St Anthony's.

Aged 22, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 2nd December, 1944, in a 2-1 defeat at home to Dumbarton in the Southern League.

There were no goals for Pat during his time with Thistle.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 24th March, 1945, in a 6-1 defeat away to Clyde in the Southern League Cup, having appeared as a Jag on 13 occasions.

His club-list included Maryhill, St Anthony's, Partick Thistle, Watford, Northampton Town, Portadown and Alloa Athletic.

Pat died on Saturday, 7th July, 1979, in New York City, New York, aged 56.

Bio Extra

In his career, Pat was a versatile wing-half who could also turn out as an inside-forward, although he was always a left-half at Thistle. As a youth, he played with the Renton Boys Guild (aka Renton Guild Lads) before the war, a team who had a very good reputation in the juvenile game. We even have a picture (see 'Gallery' tab above). He had been playing in the juniors at Maryhill when he made the switch to St Anthony's in September 1943, and Donald Turner brought him to Firhill some nine months later. Reserve fixtures had, understandably, been few and far between in the wartime years, but Thistle were planning ahead and, in the summer of 1944, got to work on rebuilding the numbers to accomodate a second eleven, Pat being one of the first acquisitions to underpin the plans.

The 22-year-old Pat was a mainstay in the reserves initially, but was finally given his chance in the first team in early December. From thereon, he alternated between Southern League games with the first team, and games in the newly formed Glasgow District Reserve Football League. Results were generally poor during his time at the club, although a couple of home "League" wins over Albion Rovers (4-1, December 1944) and Hamilton (3-1, January 1945) lifted the gloom momentarily. The trouble for Pat was that Thistle had a number of players who could play his role excellently, including Maurice Candlin and Jackie Husband.

Pat was granted a free transfer in June 1945, just as the team embarked on a glory run to Hampden, where they would lift the Summer Cup. At the time, no doubt he would have had mixed feelings about this - he's only human! Within weeks, Watford took the opportunity to have him onboard for their London Combination campaign of 1945-46. Pat was Watford's first-team right-half throughout the season, but it was a poor one for them, finishing bottom of the 18 team League. Pat then played in the resumed Football League of 1946-47, competing in Division 3 South, as Watford finished 16th of the 22 clubs. During this season, Pat lost the jersey to Bobby Ross and others, making only 6 League appearances for the Hornets.

In August 1947, having been granted another free transfer, Pat signed with Watford's Division 3 South rivals, Northampton Town, where he made little impact on first team affairs. An adventurous move to Portadown followed in November 1948 and, after 18 months in Northern Ireland, Pat returned home to Scotland, signing with Alloa Athletic in May 1950. He was pretty much an ever-present in his sole season at Recreation Park, but they had a miserable time of it, finishing rock bottom of the Second Division. Pat's services were not retained for another season.

After a long illness, Pat died in a New York hospital in July 1979, at the young age of just 56.

(WS/TFJ/AM/SD/ANB)



Historian's note: Not to be confused with the forward-turned-goalkeeper from the same era, Pat Gillespie (who also used his step father's surname 'McDade' as a psuedonym), associated with Blantyre Victoria, the RAF, Doncaster Rovers, Alessandria (fell through), Arbroath, Dunfermline Athletic & Douglasdale.

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