Ronnie Johnston
Ronnie Johnston
Ronnie Johnston
● Ronnie Johnston, 1972.

probably born in Scotland

Ronald James Johnston was born on Saturday, 3rd April, 1954, in Haddington, East Lothian.

The 5' 10 (11st 0lbs) forward signed (on an "S" form) for Scot Symon's Thistle on Wednesday, 22nd October, 1969, whilst a player with Preston Lodge.

Aged 19, he made his sole appearance on Monday, 6th August, 1973, in a 2-1 friendly win away to Stenhousemuir.

There were no goals for Ronnie in his one-off appearance for Thistle.

His club-list included Partick Thistle, Tranent Juniors, Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, Meadowbank Thistle and Haddington Athletic.

Bio Extra

This teenage hitman was in the orbit of Firhill from schoolboy age, signing in an "S" form in the dying embers of the Scot Symon era in the late 1960s. How did a boy of 15 living in Port Seton (13 miles east of Edinburgh) end up at Partick Thistle, you might well ask? As it turns out, Ronnie had spotted an ad in the papers asking players to write in to appear in trial matches across Scotland. It was a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained, and the chance happening paid off handsomely. His trial was succesful and he signed with Partick Thistle Amateurs U-16, who were managed and coached by none other than Tommy Ewing and Johnny MacKenzie - two Thistle legends. In what must have been a surreal experience for a young boy, it was Johnny, the Firhill flyer himself, who used to pick Ronnie up at Queen Street station and take him to all the games. How about that? In time, Ronnie was farmed out to Sighthill Amateurs, the club's informal development arm of the day.

Ronnie's timespan as a Jag overlapped Davie McParland's managerial tenure at the beginning and end. He never did make the breakthrough into the excellent Thistle sides of the era though, and had to build and develop his game at reserves level. In what proved to be his only first-team appearance, Ronnie came off the bench in a friendly against Stenhousemuir at Ochilview in August 1973. Also making his debut that night (we think) was Alan Hansen. For the first 30 minutes it was all Stenhousemuir, and two fine last-ditch tackles by Nobby Clark saved the day. Thistle finally got into the game and Tommy Rae shot home (30) followed by Alan Munro (32) with a fine solo run and finish. Stenhousemuir's goal came after half-time from the penalty spot.

Ronnie was a part of the reserve team in 1973-74 and, although he wasn't around by the time of the final, the League Cup was won in May. A two-legged affair, Thistle's 1-0 win at Firhill (1st April) was backed up by a 2-2 draw at Bayview (6th May) for a 3-2 aggregate victory. At last - sweet revenge for 1953! Johnny MacKenzie would have been pleased. The trophy was a nice full stop on his time at Firhill all the same, although Ronnie knew by then that the time was right to move on to continue his progress. His free transfer was rubber-stamped when Thistle were managerless in early June 1974, and he headed back "home" to the East, signing with Tranent Juniors. They would become his team and he would have several spells with "The Belters" until 1986.

He had a spell with Bonnyrigg Rose in 1976 too, but still hankered after another crack at the senior grade. Hearts showed some interest in the springtime of 1978 but, frustrastingly, Ronnie had to call off from his trial game due to an injury. He did sign with Meadowbank Thistle a couple of months later and played several games with the Edinburgh side in the Second Division campaign of 1978-79. The striker also had two season with Haddington Athletic from 1983 to 1985. Ronnie looks back fondly on those developmental years with Thistle and, as he himself says, he couldn't have wished for a better environment to set himself up in the game.


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