The Day The Scottish Cup Came Up To Maryhill

by William Sheridan



● Firhill, 1925 (NLS/PTS)

Thistle v Hibs (replay) preview

As fate would have it, these sides had actually been scheduled to meet at Easter Road tomorrow afternoon, but that League fixture was postponed, the Scottish Cup taking priority. This was the first of only two games that Thistle would play at Firhill in this eleven-game campaign, both of which were replays. Lately, a paucity of goals at either end meant that contrasting club-records were building. A fifth consecutive clean-sheet would be unprecedented in the club's history, as would a sixth consecutive game without a goal. Beyond that, a fifth consecutive repeat scoreline (0-0) would be another freakish first; they couldn't possibly, could they?

All at Firhill received a great boost the day before the game, with the historic announcement that three Jags - Kenny Campbell, Joe Harris & Jimmy McMullan - would be capped in Saturday's Home Championship opener against Wales at Pittodrie. Some had suggested that Willie Hamilton might join them, reasoning that the national team could benefit from keeping Thistle's acclaimed half-back line fully intact. He may well have got the nod too, were it not for the fact that illness kept him out of the spotlight at just the wrong time.

Willie was still being nursed back to good health, so Thistle were unchanged from Saturday's game at Easter Road, whilst David Anderson was in for John Walker at centre forward for Hibs. It was a cold and wet Tuesday afternoon, but there was a terrific turn out at Firhill (averaged at 26,500 from estimates) the vast majority willing the Jags on to book their place in tomorrow night's draw.

competition-2.png Scottish Cup 2nd Round replay
ft.png Partick Thistle 0 Hibernian 0
date.png Tuesday, 8th February, 1921
crowd.png 26,500 @ Firhill
partick-thistle.png Kenny Campbell, Watty Borthwick, Willie Bulloch, Joe Harris, Tom Crichton, Jimmy McMullan, John Blair, Jimmy Kinloch, Andrew Kerr, Jimmy McMenemy, John Bowie
hibernian.png Willie Harper, William McGinnigle, William Dornan, Patrick Maxwell, Matthew Paterson, Hugh Shaw, Harry Ritchie, Jimmy Dunn, David Anderson, Johnny Halligan, Patrick Hannigan
mh-referee.png J. Binnie (Falkirk)
Dundee Courier, 9th February, 1921

Hibs engaged in their fourth Scottish Cup draw this season at Firhill Park, Glasgow, yesterday, when, for the second time, they finished on a level footing with Partick Thistle in the second round of the competition. The teams will again meet at Celtic Park on Tuesday. Thirty thousand people witnessed yesterday's game in wet weather. The only change in the teams was Anderson for Walker in the Hibs centre forward position.


Thistle made the running at the start, but Hibs soon settled down to their game, and only capital play by the home custodian and backs prevented a score. Thistle gradually asserted themselves, and Kerr got right through. His effort, however, was nullified by a clever return by McGinnigle. It was now Hibs turn to defend for all they were worth. In a rush, Kinloch was given a nice opening, but the ex-Queen's Park man was too hasty in shooting.


Hibs for a while could not get over the centre line, but their defence was as sound as that of the opposition. They eventually forced their way to the other end, where, following smart work on the right, Dunn sent a fast ball into goal. The pace began to tell, and as the interval drew near, play quietened down somewhat. The Thistle did most of the pressing, but were well held by the Hibernian backs, who prevented any chance of a combined raid on goal.


On restarting, Hibs got in on the left, both Halligan and Hannigan showing clever footwork before being beaten off. Blair raced down for the Thistle, and Kerr headed the ball from his cross into Harper's hands. Bowie later had a similar run, and his cross over the goalmouth was just missed by Kinloch. Hibs, led by Anderson and Halligan, made matters lively for Thistle until the former sent behind. Following a stay round Campbell, which brought the Hibernians no luck, they were thrown back on their own goal. If Harper saved once, he must have done so a dozen times in marvellous fashion. In the closing stages the Thistle were decidedly unlucky.

● For the first time in history, Thistle register a fifth consecutive same result (0-0), a club-record which stands today.
● For the first time in history, Thistle register a fifth consecutive clean-sheet in competitive action.
● Kenny Campbell would hold the goalie's outright record of 5 consecutive clean-sheets for 92 years; Scott Fox (2013), Kieran Wright (2020) & Jamie Sneddon (2021) would match the feat.
● Jags are now 6 consecutive competitive games without a goal, 8th Jan 1921 to date, extending the club-record.
● They've only lost once at home in the last 10 months, but Jags are now 5 consecutive competitive games without a Firhill goal, 3rd Jan 1921 to date, extending the club-record. This run would be matched in 1969, and still stands as the joint-record today.
● 39 consecutive competitive appearances for Joe Harris, 17th Apr 1920 to date, a new personal best. (Longest run since: William Campbell - 52 games, 17th Jan 1914 to 20th Feb 1915. Club-record: Jock McTavish - 61 games, 15th Nov 1913 to 6th Feb 1915.)

sc-1921-badge.png Meet the squad… JIMMY McMENEMY
Jimmy McMenemy

George Easton's pre-season coup was the talk of the press in the summer of '20, as 39-year-old Jimmy McMenemy of Celtic put pen to paper at Firhill. As previously stated, 11 Scottish titles, 6 Scottish Cup wins and 12 Scottish caps (the most recent just 3 months earlier) was his story so far. A true giant of the Scottish game, it was almost inconceivable in footballing circles that the inside-left-cum-midfield-general could ever be parted from Parkhead as a player. The matter was a simple one however; Celtic gaffer Willie Maley wasn't convinced he had the engine for another season, and Jimmy felt that he did. Ultimately, the split was amicable, and Thistle were the beneficiaries.

It was the colourful Maley who was first to label him 'Napoleon', in small part for his physical likeness to the French military leader of some 100 years earlier, but largely as a nod to his ability to read the game, dictate the play and inspire his troops to victory in the vast majority of his battles. Quite aside from his traits as field marshal, he was an exceptionally talented footballer; quick-footed and tricky on the dribble with a dead-eye for the killer pass. A war horse on the park he may have been, but there end the similarities with 'old boney', Jimmy being self-effacing and mild-mannered by nature, and very much able for getting his team mates onside, certain to be appreciated by the down-to-earth George Easton himself.

By and large, Jimmy was proved right in backing himself for first class football in 1920-21, although navigating a monster campaign of 55 competitive games pushed him to his physical limits. In the end, he played in 38 of those games, and consistently drew praise for the high level of his performances, well into his 41st year, forging a formidable partnership on the left side, in front of fellow internationalist, Jimmy McMullan. How incredible that, as fate would have it, Jimmy would return to his old Celtic Park stomping ground twice in this season's Scottish Cup campaign. And that, twice, he would lead the Jags to victory there. And that the second of these would earn the 40-year-old a winners medal against his auld enemy. It's an incredible story in the Thistle history books. Bravo Napoleon - vive la révolution!

sc-1921-badge.png Meet the squad… ANDREW KERR
Andrew Kerr

Alas, the only instance where we can't put a face to the name of our '21 Cup squad. This Falkirk-born centre was a pre-season capture from Ardrossan Winton Rovers, where he was highly prolific and thought of as a “hot prosepct”. By the end of January, Jags were third in the League and Andrew was sitting top of our scorers chart with 9 goals. Unfortunately, there would be no advance on that total, although he still sat second top by season's end. In truth, there was no hotshot striker for the Jags this term, the relatively low number of goals being spread across the front line.

He was probably up against it from the start, arriving as he did on the back of Neil Harris's record-breaking 31-goal season, and maybe the pressure to fill those boots was too much. This was Andrew's second and final game in our Cup campaign, and the double nil nil typified our struggle in the final third as 1921 unfolded. The match report suggests that he failed to take his chances on the day; Andrew seemed to be held up as a scapegoat, and made only 3 more appearances for the club from hereon.

One great stat goes in his favour - Jags never lost a game in which Andrew scored! By the end of the year, he took a step back to East Stirlingshire and then again back home to Ardrossan, where his confidence was fully revived. Wonderfully, as the mid-1920s wore on, his goalscoring prowess would be fully realised with Luton Town, Reading (Division 3 champions in 1925-26) and Queens Park Rangers.

Partick Thistle 0 Hibernian 0 (26,500)

sc-1921-badge.png Scottish Cup Winners 1921

back: Sandy Lister (trainer), Willie Hamilton, Tom Crichton, Kenny Campbell, Jimmy McMenemy, Matt Wilson, John Bowie, Watty Borthwick.
middle: David Johnstone, Jimmy Kinloch, Joe Harris, Willie Bulloch, Jimmy McMullan, Bob McFarlane.
front: John Blair, Willie Salisbury.


Publishing date An original Thistle Archive publication, 08-Feb-2021.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 06-Sep-2021.

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