The Day The Scottish Cup Came Up To Maryhill

by William Sheridan



"Dark Blue" (Dundee Courier) always seemed to have a bee in his bonnet with Glasgow, and, on the eve of the final, got his usual dig in, together with his expert prediction:


Interest in football in Scotland tomorrow will centre round the meeting of Rangers and Partick Thistle in the final of the Scottish Cup. It is the last big thing in football on this side of the border for the season, and, although the finalists are both Glasgow clubs, the final will arouse considerable attention in view of the possibility of Rangers - now assured of the League championship - annexing the double honour.

Everything points to the Cup going to Ibrox. On form Rangers are a step or two ahead of the Thistle. Especially, they have the pull forward. There is not a line in Scotland to compare with the Ibrox five, and I have little doubt that they will prove their superiority at Celtic Park.

Partick, however, will put up a good fight. It is their first final, and they are all out for their first honour. Their defence is sound, but the absence of McMenemy in the forward rank will be a big loss. "Nap's" coaching is worth a big lot in such a game.

The teams will be:-
Partick Thistle - Campbell; Crichton and Bulloch; Harris, Hamilton and McMullan; Blair, Kinloch, Johnstone, Lauder and Salisbury.
Rangers - Robb; Manderson and McCandless; Meiklejohn, Dixon and Bowie; Archibald, Cunningham, Henderson, Cairns and Morton.

My selection for tomorrow:-
RANGERS to beat Partick Thistle

So it looked like the plan to nurture McMenemy to peak performance had failed. This was a blow indeed. Apart from that, we were looking not too bad.

I'm not too sure if "Dark Blue" done much actual research for his wee piece, but Rangers "form" in the last 4 weeks wasn't all that. Indeed, only Thistle had won a game in the last three!

The big difference between the two was the number of games played in the last fortnight, Rangers a relaxed three, Thistle a hectic five. In this regard, it was very much advantage Rangers:


19.03.1921 Clydebank [h] W1-0 (SFL - game 34)
26.03.1921 Albion Rovers [n] W4-1 (Scottish Cup Semi Final)
28.03.1921 Queen's Park [a] D1-1 (SFL - game 35)
02.04.1921 Morton [a] D0-0 (SFL - game 36)
09.04.1921 Hibernian [a] D1-1 (SFL - game 37)


19.03.1921 Motherwell [h] D0-0 (SFL - game 35)
26.03.1921 Heart of Midlothian [n] D0-0 (Scottish Cup Semi Final)
28.03.1921 Celtic [h] L0-1 (SFL - game 36)
30.03.1921 Heart of Midlothian [n] D0-0 (Scottish Cup Semi Final replay)
02.04.1921 Aberdeen [h] D2-2 (SFL - game 37)
05.04.1921 Heart of Midlothian [n] W2-0 (Scottish Cup Semi Final 2nd replay)
08.04.1921 Hamilton Academical [a] L0-1 (SFL - game 38)



Ahead of the game, there was some degree of worry over how things would play out at Celtic Park in terms of comfort. With everything that was going on, no-one knew for sure how the public would respond tomorrow, and at least one commentator observed that, should the figure approach last years attendance of over 90,000, then folks may be trampled to pieces in the tighter confines of Celtic Park.

Against this, however, the public were unsure over transport, and were being asked to keep an eye on service notice posters at train stations all over the country. Notices such as those which appeared in the Herald the day before the game, would have served as a double-whammy negative, when combined with the SFA's 100% entry-price rise.

The Evening Telegraph re-iterated what many had been saying in the last week:


Next to the International with England, no event appeals more strongly to the Scottish football enthusiast than the Scottish Cup final, and with two clubs of the standing of the Rangers and Partick Thistle as finalists, a rousing game should be the result. The action of the Scottish Football Association in deciding that the game be played at Celtic Park, and that the admission money should be doubled, has evoked a good deal of protest from the public, and there is no gainsaying the fact that for such an important event, Hampden would have been a better venue.

The Rangers have appeared in the Scottish final nine times, and have won the trophy on four occasions. Their last appearance was in 1909, when the cup was upheld owing to the riot at Hampden Park. Partick Thistle have never before appeared in the Scottish final. The encounter is invested with more than usual importance for the Rangers, as it affords them the coveted honour of winning the Cup and the championship in one season - an achievement which the Celtic alone can boast.

The Rangers players have all reported fit and well, and the Ibrox club are in the happy position of being able to turn out their full team as follows:- Robb; Manderson and McCandless; Meiklejohn, Dixon and Bowie; Archibald, Cunningham, Henderson, Cairns and Morton.

Partick have not been so fortunate, as many of their players have been suffering from injuries. It was hoped that McMenemy would have been fit for the big game, but his injury has turned out to be more serious than was at first anticipated. The Thistle will be represented by:- Campbell; Crichton and Bulloch; Harris, Hamilton and McMullan; Blair, Kinloch, Johnstone, Lauder and Salisbury.

The news on McMenemy seemed sure enough. The Rangers camp seemed sprightly and happy by comparison. Still, at least our defensive and half-back lines was fully in place. These were, after all, the rocks on which our success was built in 1920-21.


The Daily Journal reported that both teams would be at full strength, albeit the inside left position was listed as perm one of two from Lauder or McMenemy. This, at least, offered a glimmer of hope that 'the General' might make it:


The final tie for the Scottish Cup, due at Celtic Park today, is another reminder of the near approach of the end of the football season. The contestants on this occasion are the Rangers and Partick Thistle, both of whom, it can be said, have worthily earned the distinction. It is twelve years since Rangers reached the final, although boasting a long history, this is the first occasion Partick Thistle have had the distinction. On that account, the Firhill people will be all the more keen on winning, but if ability and collective class is going to tell, Rangers will win.

Both League and Cup tie form points to a Rangers victory, and it will be a remarkable triumph of brilliant consistency should the light blues add the Scottish Cup to their League championship honour. En route to the final, Rangers have played five games, and only in one case have they required a second attempt to get through, this being against Alloa. In their five games they have scored 13 goals and lost but 2. Partick Thistle have had a remarkable succession of draws in the competition, and it has only been at the third attempt on three occasions that they have been able to dispose of opposition. Altogether, they have played in ten ties, and, while it is a tribute to their defence that only four goals have been conceded, it is a reflection on the scoring abilities of their attack that only nine goals are to their credit.

Both teams will be at full strength, and, while recognising that Cup-ties are notorious traps for those who would anticipate events, it must be said that there is every justification for Rangers starting hot favourites. In the League, they have proved themselves the team of the season, and, barring their one lapse against Alloa Athletic, for which they fully atoned, theirs is by far the better record in the Cup-ties. Where the Thistle are at the biggest disadvantage is in the forward line, where they lack men who can score, although they are clever enough individually. On the other side, all five carry a scoring foot, and it is likely the forward superiority of the light blues that will bring out a Rangers triumph.

There is not a great deal between the half-back lines, but at back Rangers would seem to possess a slight superiority, neutralised to some extent by the fact that Thistle are better served in goal. Looked at from any point of view, it is a game that ought to go in favour of Rangers. Neither are what might be termed typical cup-tie teams, and the fact that Thistle are not would seem to lessen their prospects of winning. The rival teams will be:

Rangers - Robb; Manderson and McCandless; Meiklejohn, Dixon and Bowie; Archibald, Cunningham, Henderson, Cairns and Morton
Partick Thistle - Campbell; Crichton and Bulloch; Harris, Hamilton and McMullan; Blair, Kinloch, Johnstone, Lauder or McMenemy, and Salisbury.


A small victory was won before the final as, due to a quaint SFA rule of the time, Thistle were nominally deemed hosts on alphabetical order and thus were able to play in their favoured navy blue jerseys. Rangers would play in white tops, the traditional colour for those about to surrender!

R2 Hibernian 0 Partick Thistle 0 (29,000 @ Easter Road)
R2r Partick Thistle 0 Hibernian 0 (26,500 @ Firhill)
R2r2 Partick Thistle 1 Hibernian 0 (24,000 @ Celtic Park)
R3 East Stirlingshire 1 Partick Thistle 2 (8,500 @ Merchiston Park)
QF Motherwell 2 Partick Thistle 2 (20,000 @ Fir Park)
QFr Partick Thistle 0 Motherwell 0 (30,000 @ Firhill)
QFr2 Partick Thistle 2 Motherwell 1 (13,500 @ Ibrox)
SF Partick Thistle 0 Heart of Midlothian 0 (35,500 @ Ibrox)
SFr Partick Thistle 0 Heart of Midlothian 0 (27,000 @ Ibrox)
SFr2 Partick Thistle 2 Heart of Midlothian 0 (30,000 @ Ibrox)

R2 Rangers 2 Morton 0 (65,369 @ Ibrox)
R3 Rangers 0 Alloa Athletic 0 (54,000 @ Ibrox)
R3r Rangers 4 Alloa Athletic 1 (50,000 @ Ibrox)
QF Dumbarton 0 Rangers 3 (6,000 @ Boghead)
SF Rangers 4 Albion Rovers 1 (65,000 @ Celtic Park)


Seeing a great opportunity for a bit of publicity, a local dealer made the rather generous offer of providing a full set of gold watches for the Rangers team should they win the cup, an offer which was accepted by the club. Alas, no such incentive was on the table for the other team.

We can only hope that the poor soul never had them inscribed in advance.

The eyes of the nation, and one jeweller in particular, would be set on Celtic Park tomorrow, for the biggest game in the history of Partick Thistle Football Club.

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, 15-Apr-2021.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 15-Apr-2021.

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