Rab Bernard
Rab Bernard
Rab Bernard
● Rab Bernard, 1912 (TBM)

born in Scotland

Robert Sneddon Barnard was born on Sunday, 15th June, 1884, in Bo'ness, West Lothian. He himself changed his surname to 'Bernard', the name by which he was commonly known throughout his footballing career.

The goalkeeper signed for George Easton's Thistle on Saturday, 7th June, 1919, having most recently been with Airdrieonians.

Aged 35, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 16th August, 1919, in a 1-1 draw at home to Morton in the Scottish Football League.

Rab kept his first clean-sheet on Tuesday, 19th August, 1919, in a 0-0 draw away to Third Lanark in the Scottish Football League.

He registered the last of his 16 clean-sheets on Saturday, 4th February, 1922, in a 0-0 draw at home to Celtic in the SFL First Division.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 29th April, 1922, in a 2-1 win away to St Mirren in the SFL First Division, having appeared as a Jag on 55 occasions.

His club-list included Linlithgow Rose, Bo'ness, Falkirk, East Fife, Dundee, East Stirlingshire, Reading, Airdrieonians, Partick Thistle, Dumbarton, Albion Rovers and Longcroft Thistle.

Rab died on Saturday, 26th April, 1958, in Falkirk, aged 73.

Bio Extra

Son of Richard Barnard (coal miner) and Isabella Barnard (née Sneddon).

Ah, 'Daft' Rab Bernard, the quintessentially Thistle eccentric, renowned for dashing from his goal as an extra sweeper, and for taking penalty kicks, although, whilst a Jag, these were mainly confined to reserve games. It is said he may have taken as many as 50 in his long career journey and did so in the Thistle first team in a 4-0 win against Morton in February, 1921. That day he wrote himself into the Thistle history books as the only goalkeeper to have scored whilst serving between the sticks for the first team, although this would change 100 years later when Jamie Sneddon matched the feat. What is it with Sneddons!?! Rab was standing in for Kenny Campbell when he registered his milestone kick and, splendidly, played his part in keeping the club-record clean-sheet run going, that being the 6th of 7 defensively perfect games.

Undoubtedly, Rab was an excellent option as the reserve goalkeeper at this time. With Kenny Campbell out injured for the Quarter Final replay against Motherwell, Rab played his one and only game in our '21 Cup campaign, and his contribution proved to be as vital as any in the squad of 18 would make, as reported in the Glasgow Herald: “Towards the interval, Motherwell were the more aggressive lot, and only Bernard's fine goalkeeping kept them from taking the lead. A splendid struggle for the mastery ensued after the crossover. Motherwell during the first 15 minutes kept up a sustained attack, but all their efforts to score were met with a solid defence, in which Bernard again played a prominent part.

Rab, in his mid-30s, had joined Thistle from Airdrie in the close season of 1919. In competitive action, he played in 39 of our 50 games in his first season. His hopes of a longer stint as Thistle's #1 were all but dashed with the arrival of marquee signing, Kenny Campbell of Liverpool, for a club-record fee of £1,750 in April, 1920. Almost immediately, Rab was loaned out to Dumbarton (albeit for 1 game), and, at the beginning of season 1920-21 he was again loaned, this time to would-be Central League champions, Bo'ness, his hometown team. In all, he would make 6 competitive appearances as a Jag this term, and a further 8 next season, before returning to East Fife in September, 1922, where more regular first-team action was promised.

In late April, 1958, after 3 days of suffering from complications due to diabetes, Rab died from a cerebral hemorrhage at Windsor Hospital, Falkirk, the town where he lived. At his time of death he was listed as a retired wine and spirits merchant.


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