The Partick Thistle Returned
The Partick Thistle Returned

by Donnie MacIsaac

In November 2021 the Archive published “The Partick Thistle Fallen”. It was suggested shortly afterwards that we write about those people connected with the Jags who survived either or in some cases both of the World Wars and returned home. This is easier said than done. There are memorials and Rolls of Honour to the Fallen, but the vast majority of those who returned went back to their families and got on with their lives. There is not so much information available on them, and it seemed to be an open ended and nebulous task. With this in mind this record of those who served will change in time, as family members get in touch, or other information becomes available. Thanks to my fellow Archivists William Sheridan, Jack Little & Joe Kelly for their helpful input at points many and varied.
Partick Thistle returned
● Women working at the Mons Munition factory in Springburn, Glasgow.

Writing in “The Final Season”, Nigel McCrery outlined the scale of the call ups at the outbreak of the conflict in World War One:

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…the British army numbered about 250,000 troops stationed throughout the Empire. Added to this number were the reservists – a mixture of part-time soldiers who had undergone serious training and former soldiers who had already experienced war. These reservists were soon called up, swelling the total number of men available to the British high command to just over 700,000.

France and Germany had armies vastly in excess of this – around four million each. Britain was a maritime nation, with the Royal Navy as the Senior Service, whereas Germany placed their defence primarily on their army. It was evident that a larger force would be needed, and recruitment started for a volunteer force. General H. Rawlinson first mooted the idea of pals’ battalions when, in August 1914, he asked London stockbrokers to form a battalion from their midst. They formed the 10th (Service) Battalion Royal Fusiliers, otherwise known as the “Stockbrokers’ Battalion”. Others were encouraged to join up with friends or colleagues to go to war. In November 1914, Sir George McCrae formed the first of the football battalions, 16th Royal Scots. Alfie Briggs was one of the Hearts players who joined up. Alfie was wounded in both feet, his arm and leg on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. After the war he became a boilermaker. According to Tom Purdie’s book “Hearts at War 1914-1919” “In his spare time Alfie did a bit of scouting for Partick Thistle.” The following month William Hicks formed 17 (Service) Battalion Middlesex Regiment. It was popularly known as “The Footballers’ Battalion”. A further football battalion followed with the formation of 23 (Service) Battalion Middlesex Regiment. Walter Tull served in both of the Middlesex units.

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By the end of the Great War, half of Scotland’s male population aged between 18 and 45 years had joined up to go to the front to fight. Back on the Home Front 100,000 men were employed in the shipbuilding industry along the Clyde working on the war effort, with a further 20,000 working in Beardmore’s Parkhead Forge, the then largest steelworks in Scotland, on munitions.

~ firstworldwarglasgow.co uk external-link.png

As men enlisted, there was a shortage of available labour, with women increasingly taking their places in the factories. In 1916 there were 18,500 women working in war factories, and by the end of the war there were around 65,000 women working in Clydeside munitions factories.

Professional footballers were required to carry out work for the Country to help the war effort. Those who didn’t do their jobs properly were fined by the Ministry, but the SFL Executive also came down hard on perceived malingerers.

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It [the League Executive] was however, determined to carry out to the letter the provisions regarding players working….Neil Harris of Partick Thistle was accused of bad industrial time keeping. His club were aware of the situation and suspended him pending investigation of the circumstances. Harris was able to satisfy the football authorities that his absence had been caused by the illness of his wife and child and that he had furnished Ministry of Munitions officials with the appropriate certificates.

~ “The First 100 Years [SFL]” by Bob Crampsey

This meeting was held in January 1918. When it became apparent that the war would not be over by Christmas 1914, calls for volunteers became more strident. In Scotland the raising of McRae’s volunteers meant that there was more local goodwill towards football, but not so in England. “The Final Season” goes on “There was arguably a considerable amount of hypocrisy in the way that so many people criticized the game.” In the book, this is put down to football being a working-class sport. Horse racing continued without such criticism throughout the war although Newbury racecourse was requisitioned as an internment camp in 1914. The sport also continued throughout World War Two.

Partick Thistle returned
● 16th (Boys Brigade) Bn HLI marching along Charing Cross into Sauchiehall Street Glasgow on their return home in 1918.

During the war, the SFL permitted one Division of 20 clubs, reduced to an 18 team league in the 1917-18 season following the enforced wartime retiral of Aberdeen, Dundee and Raith Rovers at the expense of the more local Clydebank. There was no official English football as the FA has suspended all competitions, the result being that there were many guest players in the Scottish League. Football attendances at Firhill fell during the war years. For the immediate 3 seasons prior to war the average league home match attendance was around 10,700. For the war years 9,600 and for the 3 post-war years 12,000. This was due to people going off to war, and the massive civilian effort outlined above.

At the end of the war, there was no mad dash home. Demobilisation was staged with those who joined first returning first. The SFL Second Division was suspended during the war years, starting with the 1915/16 season. It wasn’t till the 1921/22 season that the Division was contested again, i.e. an absence of 6 seasons. Things slowly returned to normal. In England, first class football was suspended between 1915 and 1919.

WORLD WAR ONE PLAYERS

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AITKENHEAD, WATTIE

Wattie Aitkenhead was a guest forward who played 6 matches for the Jags in 1906.The former Maryhill FC player’s first match was a Glasgow League tie away to Clyde, with Wattie scoring the 2nd goal in the 2nd half to give Thistle victory in front of a crowd of 800 at Shawfield. The following season the Jags played in the SFL 1st Division, with Wattie appearing in 4 fixtures. Sandwiched in the middle of these league matches was a 2-2 friendly against Renton away at Tontine Park. Wattie moved to Blackburn Rovers in September 1906. He was part of the Rovers team that won English Football League 1st Division titles in 1912 and 1914. He played for Rovers from 1906 to 1918 making around 210 1st team appearances. In March 1912 Wattie was awarded a Scotland international cap when he played against Ireland, with him scoring 2 goals in 23 minutes. Scotland won 4-1. This was his only international cap.

Wattie served during World War 1in 9th (Reserve) Battery Royal Field Artillery. During wartime service he played several matches for Preston North End as a guest player. He retired as a player at the end of the war, as he didn’t fully recover from his wartime experiences.

After the war Wattie went back to Blackburn, and began working in the cloth mill owned by the Blackburn chairman, a Mr Cotton!! He married Mr Cotton’s daughter Ethel, and became manager of the mill. He served as manager for some considerable time, and passed away in July 1966 aged 79. There is a fuller description of Wattie’s life in the book “The Men Who made Scotland” by the football historian Andy Mitchell. Andy’s book is a who’s who of Scottish internationalists between 1872 to 1939.

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BARBER, TOMMY

Aston Villa forward Tommy played as a guest player for the Jags just the once. He scored on that outing, a 5-1 League victory against St Mirren at Firhill on 28 December 1918. Saints went one-up, but Tommy scored goal number 5 in front of an 8,500 crowd. He played for Bolton Wanderers from 1908 to 1912, making around 102 appearances for the Trotters before his transfer to Aston Villa. Between 1912 to 1919 he played for the Villa on 57 occasions, and was a member of their 1912-13 FA Cup winning team, scoring the winning goal in the final, a 1-0 victory over Sunderland. During, and just after, World War 1 he played for Thistle, Celtic and Crystal Palace. He also managed guest appearances for Linfield, Belfast Celtic and Distillery – an eclectic collection of Irish clubs! He went on to play in Wales for Merthyr Town, Ton Petrie and Pontypridd, He played for some minor English clubs before ending his career through illness in 1925.

Tommy joined the 17th (Service) Battalion Middlesex Regiment (Footballers’ battalion) in February 1915. In November 1915 the Battalion went to France, and started trench life near Loos. During the Battle of the Somme in the summer of 1916, Tommy was wounded in the legs at Gulliemont, and evacuated to Britain. He spent some time in hospital in Aberdeen. Tommy contracted pleurisy, and spent time in hospital. He did work for a period in a Glasgow munitions factory, but in 1925 caught tuberculosis, and passed away later that year aged 37.

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BROWN, ALLAN

Described as a centre forward with a good instinct for the off-chance. Played army football as a teenager before spells in the juniors with Parkhead and Maryhill. Aged 21 he signed for Clyde in May 1919 and was a major player for them in the 5 seasons which followed, scoring 64 goals in 135 league appearances. Kept that form going with Hamilton Acccies in 1924-25 scoring 19 goals in 41 League and Scottish Cup appearances. Guested for Thistle in a charity match in August 1925, achieving the rare feat of scoring a debut hat-trick! Moved to Raith Rovers in November 1925 and had a terrific scoring ratio to finish the season, scoring 16 goals in 20 appearances. He didn’t play so often in the next campaign, and switched to Thistle proper in December 1926. Played only once in the first team in his short spell, and briefly stepped down the juniors with Arthurlie in August 1927, only to be snapped up by Morton a month later. Finished his playing career at Stranraer in the early 1930s.

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CAMPBELL, KENNY

Kenny is well known to Jags fans as a member of the 1921 Scottish Cup winning side. The Cambuslang born goalkeeper started at junior sides Rutherglen Glencairn and Cambuslang Rangers, winning the Glasgow Junior League at Cambuslang. In 1911 he moved to Liverpool and represented the club on 120 occasions. In September 1916 he married local girl Constance Warnock at Wallesley Presbyterian Church. In 1919 he was at Firhill on loan, and subsequently asked for a transfer. He found himself permanently at Thistle, where he played from 1920 to 1922, the high point being Thistle’s 1-0 victory in the Scottish Cup final against Rangers at Parkhead in 1921. Kenny had left his family at Liverpool, and moved back to the area to play for the newly formed local side. New Brighton. Kenny appeared in the unofficial Scotland representative side during World War 1 and was capped by the Scottish senior side on 8 occasions. He opened a sports clothing store in Wallesley, and died in Wilmslow in April 1977 aged 84. During World War 1. Kenny signed up and joined the Royal Garrison Artillery and became a corporal based at Crosby. He wasn’t posted abroad, and completed his service in the UK.

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CAMPBELL, WILLIAM

Kilmacolm born goalkeeper William joined the Jags on St George’s Day 1909, and played his first senior game a day later, on the 24th April. Thistle were beaten 2-0 by Clyde in an SFL First Division match at Shawfield. Thistle finished bottom of the table, but avoided relegation in what was a homeless season. The following season, with the Jags having moved to Firhill, things were a bit better, but Willie Howden initially claimed the number 1 jersey, with Willie Campbell taking over in October.

William played in the first competitive match at Firhill, the 3-1 Scottish Cup 1st Round victory over Dumbarton Harp on 18 September 1909. He wouldn’t have been happy at conceding the first competitive goal scored at Firhill, though. The Jags finished up 4th that season. In March 1912, William was in goal for the 2-0 defeat of Barrow at Holker Park. He would later join Barrow. In 1913-14 William was first choice keeper, likewise the following season. In all he played 177 times for the Jags, keeping 48 clean sheets, a wonderful record. The keeper played a representative match for Glasgow against Sheffield in October 1911 when Sheffield beat Glasgow 2-1 at Cathkin Park. He also represented the Army in a benefit match at Cappielow, on 12 May 1917, when Morton beat the army select 5-2.

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COUSAR, WILLIAM

The son of John Cousar (mason) and Margaret Cousar (nee Ness). Mum and Dad married in 1868 in Kilmaurs. At the time of the 1881 census, both of his parents were 37. 7 month old William shared the house with 4 older sisters and 1 older brother; Agnes (11);Mary (9); Maggie (7); Jeanie (5) and John (2). Maggie Coghill (19) was their live in domestic servant. He married Annie Hislop.

William and his brother John were founder menbers of the Meadow XI club in 1895, when they left another juvenile club called Hill Rangers. Their new club had a mixed first season, but then everything clicked in their second and they went through their fixtures unbeaten and won the three fixtures they entered. Both brothers were forwards, John being particularly prolific. When Meadow turned junior in 1897, William – along with Hugh Allan- was given the task of going to Lumley’s Sports Outfitters in Glasgow to buy a new set of royal blue jerseys. Previously the club had played in light blue shirts. William took on the role of Player/Secretary.

He mainly played on the inside left for Thistle, but his first team career was over all too quickly, spanning the first two months of the 1901-02 season. This despite the fact that he returned 3 goals in a 4 game personal spell. He returned to the junior grade in 1902 and had spells with Irvine Victoria and Ashfield.

William was a joiner to trade and he took the decision to emigrate to Canada, doing so on 16 June 1906. As deduced from his gravestone, he served and survived in the First World War with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Burnaby, British Columbia in January 1949.

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CRAM, WILLIE

Willie Cram made his solo Jags’ appearance aged 20 in May 1909. He played in a 3-1 Glasgow Charity Cup loss to Rangers at Ibrox. 1908-09 must rank as one of (homeless) Thistle’s most dismal seasons, with few wins, the lowest points-per-game ratio of all-time and a rank-bottom finish in the SFL 1st Division. Luckily a stagnant period in the Scottish League set-up meant there was no election ballot and therefore no relegation to worry about.

The 16-year-old Willie played in the juvenile grade with Camelon Rovers and in 1906 he was selected to play for Stirlingshire Juvenile FA, receiving a cap for this honour. He then made the step up to the juniors joining Grange Rovers for the 1906-07 season. He signed for the newly formed Camelon Juniors in 1907 and immediately made his way into their record books by scoring against Denny Athletic in the Scottish Junior Cup, their maiden goal in that tournament. Unfortunately the fairy tale ended, as Denny won 3-1. 1907-08 was an encouraging first season, winning the Falkirk and District Cottage Hospital Cup and finishing Runners-up in the Clackmannanshire Junior League. He moved on from Camelon to East Plean United and East Stirlingshire before appearing for Thistle in May 0909 (as a trialist). He moved on to Broxburn Athletic, Falkirk, Kircaldy United, and represented the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. (2nd/7th A&SH.)

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CRICHTON, TOM

Born in Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire Tom started out with Nithsdale Wanderers. He was another member of Thistle’s 1921 Scottish Cup Final team in the 1-0 victory over Rangers in 1921. Initially a centre-half, he moved across to right back. Tom and other members of the cup winning team were inducted into the Thistle Hall of Fame in 2009. Before joining Thistle in 1919, Tom played a number of matches for the British Army side. He played in around 236 matches for the Jags between 1919 and 1925. In what proved to be his last appearance, his leg was badly broken in a fixture against Queen’s Park, and Tom had to retire from football. He was so well thought of that 2 benefit matches were played for him; against Queen’s Park and Liverpool. He passed away in August 1936 in Sanquhar, the village of his birth.

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DUNN, ALEX

Alex joined Thistle from Ashfield, having started out with Morton. The outside-left played for the Jags on 2 occasions, the first of which was a 2-0 away defeat against St Mirren in September 1914. Somewhat dryly, the Glasgow Herald commented that “The Thistle forwards evidently reserve their best efforts for Firhill.” He also played in an Orange Lodge fundraiser against Rangers in front of 3,000 at Firhill in April, 1915. Thistle played a number of junior players on the night, but it was Neil Harris who scored both Thistle goals, the clincher coming in the 89th minute of the match. Alex joined the Gordon Highlanders, and played for them in a match against the Highland Light Infantry. The Gordons won 2-0. Unfortunately the trail on Alex goes cold from there.

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FLETCHER, BROUGH

Inside forward Brough Fletcher was a Barnsley player who played on 14 occasions for Thistle as a wartime guest in 1917. Brough played in 10 SFL matches, 2 Glasgow Charity Cup matches and had 2 Glasgow Cup outings, the semi-final against Third Lanark (a 1-0 win) and the final against Rangers on 6 October 1917. Although Brough was on the losing team in the 4-1 Cup final defeat, he was on the winning side in Thistle’s 2-0 SFL victory over the same opposition at Firhill on 1 September 1917 in front of a 19,000 crowd. Described in the Sunday Post as “undeserved”, it’s doubtful Brough cared!

Brough joined Barnsley in 1913 and was a regular in the Barnsley side scoring 73 goals in 312 outings as a player. (Tarn Talk.) He was a Tykes player from 1913 to 1929, with a short spell at Sheffield Wednesday in 1926.

In 1930 he became manager of Barnsley and held this position till 1938 when he became manager of Bristol Rovers. He stayed at the Eastville Stadium until 1949. He had a short spell as manager of Walsall in 1952/53.

During World War 1 he served as a gunner with the Royal Field Artillery, and died in Bristol on 12 May 1972 aged 79.

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GALLACHER, PAT

Half-back turned full-back, Pat started his football career with Parkhead, Ashfield and Rockvale, while working in a shipbuilders’ foundry. He had to give football a miss for a year, due to the pressures of work. He represented the Glasgow Junior League as a left-half, but played on the right wing for Ashfield and Duntocher Hibs. A versatile player was Pat. He returned to football with Duntocher Hibs in the 1902-03 season, winning the County Cup and 2 League Championships with the club. Offers came from Hibernian, Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur, with Pat electing to join Spurs. Pat mainly played in the Spurs reserve side. In the 1905 close season he joined Southern League side Luton Town, but in May 1907 he joined Thistle. Pat took the centre half position in the Thistle side during a disappointing spell for the club. He played in the final Jags match at Meadowside, followed by the club’s nomadic period. Pat also scored against Hearts in a November 1907 match, and played alongside the veteran Neilly Gibson, from whom he would have picked up a few tips. He played on 31 occasions for the Jags, his final match was in May 1908.

Pat left Thistle and became player/manager at Workington in 1909-10. With Workington in financial difficulty, Pat moved to Barrow, becoming team captain. In 1914-15 Pat went to Ton Petre in the Welsh League. As team captain the club won the League Championship, with Pat regarded as a “Local Hero”. The player concluded his career here in his early 40’s, some years later. His grandson Ian got in touch, and told The Archive about Pat’s wartime exploits. “When the Great War started, Patrick was 33, still playing football as a centre half. He joined the Army and was accepted into the 17th (Footballer’s) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. He was a volunteer. He told the family that he had to wear a French steel helmet because a British helmet was too uncomfortable for his head! Between battles, he played football. Being fit and a sprinter, he was company runner to the C.O. Colonel Fenwick and a moving target who could run like hell. This was just as well because the company runner had one of the highest casualty rates among the front-line troops. He did not get many games to begin with because the cream of British Football was in the Battalion, he was the trainer. It was only later, when many of the players had died, that he got into the team. However, he did get to prepare the pitches for play. When he retired from football he returned to Tottenham, to be the groundsman at St. Ignatius College - the pitch next to White Hart Lane. He lived in Tottenham, in Trulock Road, with a view of the Spurs ground until his death in 1951.

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GALT, JIMMY

Jimmy signed on at Firhill, and played on two occasions in late 1916. The defender played his first match in a 1-0 defeat in the SFL at home to St Mirren on 8 December 1916. His final Thistle performance was in a 2-0 home defeat to Celtic in the SFL a fortnight later on 23 December 1916. From 1906 to 1914 Jimmy was a Rangers player, but moved to Everton in 1914, and played with them until 1916. He moved from the Toffees to Thistle when war broke out and football was suspended in England. He was also a guest wartime player with Fulham. In an archive record held by the University of Wolverhampton titled “Fulham and the First World War” his recruitment as a guest for Fulham in a match against Brentford was explained as follows: “A number of players failed to turn up for the game due to Army or Munitions commitments and Fulham’s Scottish International inside forward “Wattie” White managed to persuade his old friend Scottish International Jimmy Galt to turn out for Fulham in the match. Galt was a sergeant in charge of a military encampment for motor machine guns in Surrey.” Fulham won 2-0.

Jimmy was awarded two Scotland caps in May 1908 when he was a player at Ibrox. Against Wales and Ireland. Described by Andy Mitchell in “The Men who Made Scotland” as “a cultured half back who played on the left or in the centre” he also appeared for Scotland in an unofficial wartime international match between Scotland and England in 1916. Jimmy was also a very capable golfer, and played to a high standard.

Jimmy subsequently became a Lieutenant in the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, but was wounded in action. He didn’t fully recover from his wartime experiences, and several attempts to return to post war football failed. In retirement he and his former Ibrox teammate Jimmy Gordon started a business running billiard halls. He died in Whitecraigs in November 1935 aged 50.

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GIFFORD, JAMES

James joined Thistle from Bedlay (a club close to Glenboig, which became defunct in 1952) at the end of April 1914. He played on 11 occasions and took the outside left or outside right position. He got his first top team opportunity in an end-of-season Glasgow Charity Cup tie that ended 2-1 to Third Lanark. Curiously, it was played at Hampden Park, despite being a Quarter-Final tie. James played in a 1-1 draw against Celtic in the War Fund Shield Quarter-Final at Firhill. Frank Branscombe was back for the replay at Celtic Park, in which James did not feature. Celtic won 2-1. He would have enjoyed the 1-0 League victory over Rangers at Ibrox in April 1915, with Willie Whittle “scoring in a rare breakaway.” James left the Jags and played for Albion Rovers and Airdrieonians. A report in the Daily Record of 10 January 1916 states that Airdrie had received permission from Thistle for James to play for them, but the player was ill. The report also stated that the player had enlisted, but further details are, at the moment, unknown.

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HARRIS, JOE

In February, 1921, writing in the Sunday Post after our Scottish Cup opener at Easter Road, Albert Buick, in common with most commentators at this time, was full of praise for our right half, who “tackled and fed in the way an Internationalist should”. As the Athletic News put it: “In the marvellously good half-hack line which has been Partick Thistle's sheet anchor, Harris has been the outstanding figure”. Joe was a linchpin of The Class Of '21, and was one of only three Jagsmen to feature in all eleven games of the Scottish Cup campaign. Indeed, at the time of that opening game in February, he was currently sitting on a personal best run of 38 consecutive competitive appearances, not having missed a game since last April. Very soon, winning the Scottish Cup with Thistle and British Championship with Scotland, would make for a breathtaking double entry on his CV.

In the summer of '13, several senior clubs were showing an interest in the talented Brigton lad who had come through the ranks at Shettleston and Strathclyde, but, as the Scottish Referee put it, “manager Easton secured his signature whilst other aspirants awaited developments”. The 20-year-old made his debut on 16th August, 1913, starring in a 2-1 win at home to Motherwell in the SFL First Division, commanding from the off. What a shrewd signing he proved to be. Joe arrived as a left half, but gradually migrated to the right, to accommodate Jimmy McMullan and for the greater good of the team. He clocked up 248 appearances in his 10 years at Firhill, a figure greatly limited by the First World War, as Joe served with the Royal Garrison Artillery.

So impressed were the Scottish selectors in that game at Easter Road, that they finally gave in to the calls for Joe to be capped, and he was duly selected for next week's match against Wales, ahead of George Halley (Burnley). At last, his consistency was being rewarded. Within days of this news, the Thistle directors ratified a lucrative benefit, which would be realized just 7 days after the Cup Final, in the form of a home League game against Ayr United, where the cup was paraded at half-time. As the Sunday Post put it: “They were accorded a magnificent ovation from their followers”. This benefit would very much prove to be a two-way relationship, as the Firhill board cashed in handsomely in 1923, when Joe commanded a huge transfer fee of £4,200 from Middlesbrough, before reuniting with his old Firhill buddy, Neil Harris, at Newcastle United, where, tellingly, he was again honoured with a benefit.

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HAUGH, BERT

Maryhill born Bart (also known as Bert) started his football career with local clubs Maryhill Thistle and Maryhill. Between February and November 1919 Bert played for Thistle on 13 occasions. Bert’s record is 6 wins; 4 draws and 3 defeats, a creditable record. His first senior match was against Celtic in the Scottish Football League at Parkhead on Saturday 22 February 1919, where Thistle lost 2-1 in front of a 21,500 crowd. He scored his only senior Thistle goal in an SFL match against Motherwell at Firhill on 12 April 1919. A 13,000 crowd saw Bert rifling home a Whittle cross to make it 2-0 to the Jags. Thistle finished a very creditable 4th in the SFL that season.

When war came, in 1915 when the call was made for volunteers to join the military was needed Bert volunteered. He joined 6th Battalion of the HLI, part of the 1st Army. Bert was sent to the Dardanelles as part of the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign, and was wounded there in August 1915. He also served in the Balkans and the western Front. When he returned from war he joined St Anthony’s FC, and from there was recruited to the Jags. But post war Britain was a changed society. As in some other countries in the world events in Russia had influenced the working classes. In Germany in October 1918 sailors in the High Seas Fleet mutinied when ships were assembling at Wilhemshaven ready to attack the Royal Navy Grand Fleet, which was to be lured south from Scapa Flow. A final throw of the dice for the German Naval military. The mutiny there, in Wilhemshaven and Kiel meant the return to base for the High Seas Fleet. In post war Britain workers agitated for improved rights, and armed forces deployed on the streets of Glasgow. The riot act was read out in George Square. Bart’s political career started at meetings on these streets. He spoke at meetings organised by the Scottish Workers’ Republican Party alongside the Marxist campaigner John Maclean.

In 1923 Bert emigrated, initially sailing for Montreal in Canada. His name was changed for him by a Canadian Immigration Officer to Bert Hough, and that is the he used from thereon. His age changed en route from 30 to 28, so a new man arrived in Pennsylvania, where he started a football team at the mill where he was employed. By 1929 Bert was working to improve the mill workers lot, although it took until 1936 for the United Steelworkers of America to be recognised there. Workers’ conditions were improved with the union as the catalyst for change. Bert worked tirelessly for the union until he moved to Phoenix in Arizona in 1959 to try and improve his health, as he suffered from emphysema. He died in Arizona in 1960, aged 68.

Bert’s wonderful life story is told in detail in the Particle Bert Haugh – The Red Jag which can be found here

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HOUSTON, JOHNNY

Johnny joined the Jags from Ulster Rangers in September 1919. The Irish international forward had made his name during an illustrious spell with Everton before the war. He was 30 years old when he joined the Jags two months before the end of the war. Johnny played 22 matches for the Jags, all of them in competitive fixtures during the 19-20 season. Johnny’s record is 8 wins, 5 draws and 9 defeats. Biggest win was a 5-0 defeat of East Fife in the 2nd round of the Scottish Cup in February 1920. A 17,500 crowd at Firhill saw Thistle go 4-0 up by half time, with Neil Harris getting a first half hat trick. Johnny scored his only Thistle goal in a 3-1 Scottish Cup 1st round win over Motherwell at Firhill. The crowd was an astonishing 26,000. The Sunday Post report of the match reads “a hard end to end battle. Defences were on top for most of the 1st half then Houston reacted first when a Bowie shot was spilled”. The report goes on to describe the match as “a rousing game.” Johnny joined Bohemians at the end of the season.

Johnny was born in Ahogill near Ballymena on 14 May 1889. His parents were shoemaker John Houston and Mary Elliot. He had an older brother called Leslie, who was to die from wounds received in action in November 1915. Johnny started his football career in 1912 with South End Olympic, a local team. He joined Linfield in 1912 and 1913. Johnny moved to England and joined Everton, playing 26 matches for the club between 1913 and 1915. With war suspending English football he returned to Ireland to play for Linfield between 1915 to 1919 when his military duties permitted this. Post war he played briefly for Ulster Rangers before joining Thistle. Johnny was awarded 6 international caps for Ireland, along with 2 Irish League caps.

Johnny married Lillian Gilbert in Belfast in 1915. It was also in 1915 that Johnny was called up to the army. He had been in the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (RIR) pre-war, and was a reservist hence the early call up. He was transferred to 4th Battalion RIR, and retained his rank of sergeant from the 2nd RIR. (2nd RIR were an “extra reserve” Battalion with underage soldiers etc, who were not available for front line duty. They acted as a resource supplying the appropriate replacements for front line units.) The 2nd Btn had seen heavy action throughout the war and when Johnny arrived at the front were involved in the Battles of the Lys and the end of the campaign around Flanders. Johnny was awarded a Military Medal for his bravery on the final days of this action at Mouscron near Tourcoing. As an acting Colour Sergeant the Citation read “during an attack on the enemy’s lines all of the officers were put out of action and Sergeant Houston took command of his platoon. He led the attack in face of a murderous fire, advanced 100 yards and succeeded in taking and holding the objective for 36 hours until relief arrived”. He was later awarded a bar to his MC. The first Citation was recorded in the Edinburgh Gazette on 21 November 1917, with the bar Citation on 13 February 1919.

After ending his football career Johnny was employed by the General Post Office in Belfast. In World War 2 he received a field Commission and served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Tank Corps. He died suddenly, aged 75, on 11 December 1964 at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

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HUMPHREYS, LAWSON

An inside right who signed for the club in February 1917. John played 7 games in a 2 month spell, and was never seen again in the first team, although according to historian John Lister he was registered as a Thistle player in the 2 seasons which followed. It is likely that Lawson was Lawson Samuel Humphries (son of Charles Humphries) who was born in the 3rd quarter of 1894 in the birth district of Colchester, Essex. His mother’s name was Lawson. He married Amy Elizabeth Bright of Brentwood (daughter of Alfred Bright) in 1929. His death was registered in Braintree, Essex in 1980. This information came from Find My Past. During World War 1 we believe that Lawson was a corporal in the Rifle Brigade.

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HYND, JAMES

Forward James joined Thistle from Pollok in late November 1913, and made his scoring debut against Hamilton Academical away a week later, although the Jags lost the SFL match 2-1. In a Scottish Football Historical Association booklet published in the Evening Times in the 1930s his acquisition was described as follows “Partick Thistle got James Hynd and Alex Lockhart together for a by no means hefty sum, but one which Pollok were told by Thistle was “all that ever would be given- even for anyone of the Jimmy Quinn standard.” James played on 20 occasions during the 1913-14 season. He only played on 9 occasions I the 1914-15 season, with his final match against Clyde at Firhill, a 3-2 defeat in an SFL match in April 1916. He played in the Alec Raisbeck benefit match at Firhill against an international XI in January 1914. With the International XI winning 7-5 the 10,000 crowd certainly got their money’s worth. We know that James joined up for military service in the war because he is included in the SFL Secretary McAndrew’s list of footballers who volunteered early in the war. James in included in that list prepared in 1915. It is likely that his lack of game time in the 1914-15 and 1915-16 season was due to his military service. He also played for Vale of Leven and King’s Park. James and his wife Mary had at least one son named Robert, and James died on 7 June 1936 aged 45 from coronary arteritis.

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HYSLOP, TOM

At 6 feet 3 inches tall Tommy Hyslop was indeed both physically and mentally an imposing character. The Auchinleck born striker played his first match for the Jags 5 days before his 29th birthday, a 3-3 draw at Parkhead against Celtic in the SFL First Division on 15 August 1900. He played for Thistle on 26 occasions during the 1900-01 season. He also opened his Thistle goal account by scoring in the Celtic match on 15 August 1900. In a Glasgow Cup tie against Normal Athletic, Thistle won 2-0, and match report reads “Goals by Paul in the 1st half (after good work by Hyslop) and Hyslop himself after the break saw Thistle (pretty much at full strength) through against amateur opposition who were pinned back in defence for long spells.” Tom though was no stranger to football by the time he became a Jag, and his long club list continued after he left the Jags for foreign fields. Not football though. He left to become a soldier again. In the Boer War!

Tommy joined The Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders in 1888 using his birth name of Bryce Thomas Scoular. He would appear to have deserted from the army around a year later. He rejoined the army, this time the 2 Battalion Scots Guards in 1890 under the assumed name of Thomas Hyslop, Hyslop being his mother’s maiden name. He became a forward in the Scots Guards football team, bringing them success in the Army Cup on two occasions. He played for the Guards team from 1890 to 1892. Sunderland bought Tommy’s army contract, and he headed for Wearside. He played for Sunderland on 19 occasions between 1893-94, scoring 10 goals. He was part of the Sunderland team that won the English First Division in the 1894-95 season. Between 1896-98 Tommy was a Rangers player, helping them win 2 First Division titles. He then spent successive seasons with Stoke and Rangers again, before joining Thistle in 1900.

Tommy was capped twice by Scotland, and the opponents on both occasions were England. His first cap was in 1896, with his second following a year later. Scotland won 2-1 on both occasions. In keeping with the man he was capped under his Tommy Hyslop name, not his real Bryce Scoular one. In March 1901 he joined up for a third time, and saw action in South Africa with The Scottish Yeomanry against the Boers in the Second Boer War. When he enlisted on this occasion he reverted back to his real name, Bryce Scoular! He returned to Scotland and played for Dundee Wanderers and Johnstone, before emigrating to Canada where he worked in the carpet industry. He also played for Philadelphia Thistle and Tacony Philidelphia, and retired from the game in 1907.

When World War 1 came along, he enlisted (again) in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, using his birth name, but a false date of birth. He was sent to the European theatre, but thankfully didn’t see front line action. In 1922 Tommy returned to Scotland, and lived in Paisley, where he died in 1936 aged 64. There is an extended biography of Tommy’s life in 'The Men Who Made Scotland' by Andy Mitchell.

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KING, JOHN

This Lanarkshire lad was following in the footsteps of his older brother, Alex, who had been capped 6 times for Scotland. 1909-10 was a breakthrough season for the 21-year-old. In recent times, he had risen to prominence with Shotts United, and represented the Lanarkshire League against the Irish League in October, before going on to win a Junior Scotland cap in early April versus the auld enemy at Birmingham. Reporting on the 1-1 draw, the Scottish Referee stated: “King played pretty football in the first half, but was hardly in the game after the interval. The Shotts lad signed for Partick Thistle immediately after the close of the game, and will play against Dundee on Wednesday.” A number of clubs had been attracted by the positive reports surrounding his play, but it was Thistle's George Easton, master surveyor of the junior scene, who made the winning proposition, as he did so often.

And so it came to be that, in his early 20s, John got his first taste of senior football with Thistle, arriving at the tail end of the first-ever season at the new home ground of Firhill. An inside forward, he usually played on the left and was a regular starter at Thistle. Recognized as “dashing” and “a trier all the time”, he gained further representative honour in 1912, turning out for the Scottish League XI in October, 1912. Later that season, he came close to winning a full international cap vs. England, being selected for the Home Scots vs the Anglo Scots in the trial match, after which the Scottish Referee opined: “King suffers from 'youngness' still, and lacks the sagacity of his old Finalist Uncle, A. King of Hearts and Celts.” It's worth noting that there was a great deal of confusion in the press as to the relationship between John & Alex, probably stemming from the age difference between the two, Alex being the elder brother by 17 years!

During the close season which followed, John departed for Newcastle, Thistle being compensated to the tune of £600 for the loss of service. The toon1892 website tells of a rather bizarre incident in United's game against Hotspur on 2nd April 1915 in which King played the full game in goal as Bill Mellor was injured just prior to the kick-off. In all credit to himself, and his defence, he managed to keep a clean sheet! John also played for Third Lanark & Motherwell during the war years, dividing time with his duties as a private on home service with the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). It was during this period when he married Jeanie McKeating. The couple would later celebrate their golden wedding anniversary together. By then, their blossoming family numbers included no less than 30 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild! Telegrams sent by both Newcastle United and Partick Thistle were testament to a long-held affection for John.

After a second spell at Thistle in 1917-18, he continued to play top-flight football with Hibernian (1918-1920), Newcastle (1920-21) and Clydebank (1921-22) before finishing his career with his local senior club, Dykehead, in the Western League. His obituary in the Wishaw Post tells that, while playing with Newcastle, he worked in the pits during the close season. After his playing days were over, he worked in many of the local pits in the Shotts area. He was around 70 years of age when he finally retired from the Southfield pit due to an accident which broke some bones in his back.

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MCBEAN, ROBERT

26 year old Hutchesontown born Robert McBean played only once for Thistle, a 2-2 draw in the SFL against Falkirk at Brockville on 5 April 1919. Thistle twice came from behind to force the draw. Robert signed for Queen’s Park and played for them on 6 occasions during the 1914-15 season. He signed for St Mirren in 1915 and was registered for them till 1919. However in late 1914 he joined the 9th (Glasgow Highlanders) Battalion Highland Light Infantry. He was later promoted to Corporal. He played for St Mirren in 1915-16 season, but didn’t appear on any SFL teamsheet (as far as we know) till joining the Jags. Between 1920 and 1922 he played on 6 occasions for Hamilton Academical. Former Thistle player Alex Raisbeck was the Accies manager who signed Robert for the club.

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MCDONALD, ALEX

This inside forward was the very definition of a journeyman, playing in Northern Ireland, England and Scotland for a large number of clubs. It seems that, despite being labelled as “A first rate marksman” his “ambitious temperament” did not take too kindly to being ousted from the starting elevens! Season 1901-02 was quite remarkable, even by his standards, with 14 goals in 16 Southern League games for 3 different sides, Southampton, West Ham and Portsmouth! Alex was a member of the Royal Fleet Auxilliary during World War I, and remained an active seaman into his early 70s. Alas it proved to be the death of him when he drowned in a tragic accident in October 1949. Alex was a “greaser” on board the Fleet Auxilliary vessel Beigol. The ship was lying off the Tail of the Bank in Greenock, when 2 men ashore saw someone struggling in the water. Alex was brought ashore, and artificial respiration was used in an attempt to keep him alive, but Alex died shortly after admission to hospital.

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MCFARLANE, BOB

Maryhill born Bob was one of the three Queen’s Park players who turned professional in 1920, after Matt Wilson and before Jimmy Kinloch. It’s a fairly sure bet that the (then) 33-year-old would have done so sooner were it not for the severe distraction of World War 1. As a qualified engineer, bob’s skills were in demand for the duration of the conflict, and he served with the Royal Navy, returning to the football when it was all over.

Bob could play anywhere along the front five, and did so for Thistle, even falling back to right half for a couple of times to help the team out. Most of his 66 appearances were as centre forward. The great problem of 1920-21was the quest to find an effective replacement for record-fee departure Neil Harris; no fewer than 8 of them were in and out of the team as the season progressed. Bob made only 14 appearances in the 55-game campaign, but could point to his Scottish Cup record and make a claim that he was underplayed.

3 crucial goals in 4 games was his invaluable Scottish Cup contribution, the second round winner against Hibernian, the quarter final equaliser in the mud of Fir Park and the decisive counter against the Steelmen again in the second round replay at Ibrox. Indeed Bob scored 30% of our Scottish Cup goals despite playing in only 4 of the matches He had the best win rate of all players too @ 75%. This was a guy who liked to get the job done; his 21st century “virtual medal” is very well earned. This piece is an extract from “The Class of ‘21”. The full particle can be seen here

Just prior to World War 1 Bob had started out as a Parkhead player. He was capped for Scotland at Junior level on 3 occasions; against England Wales and Ireland. He also trained as a marine engineer at the Clyde shipyards, and had joined the RNVR. Bob joined the Royal Navy in 1916 and served for the conflict. At war end in 1919 he joined Queen’s Park, and played for the Spiders until 1920, appearing on 27 occasions for the club. He also studied engineering at the Royal Technical College of Glasgow in Montrose Street. Bob signed as a professional with Thistle in February 1920. His 1921 Scottish Cup contribution is outlined above and in November 1923 and 66 appearances in Thistle colours he joined Arbroath. He played for the club until 1927. Bob started a coach touring company in Arbroath, and after a series of mergers they became part of the Alexanders & Sons bus group, which was started by Walter Alexander in Camelon in1913, and became a large Scotland-wide bus group. Bob worked in management for the company’s Arbroath area, before returning with the company to Glasgow. In World War 2 Bob served with the Auxilliary Fire Service in Clydebank, and was there during the Blitz that caused so much damage and loss of life in the town. Bob passed away in late June 1955.

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MCINTYRE, JOHN

Whiteinch born 17-year old outside left John McIntyre (also known as Johnny) joined Thistle from Denny in 1912. He played for the Jags on 52 occasions before leaving for Fulham in 1919, with the war interrupting his time with the Jags. Post-war he had loan spells with Vale of Leven and St Mirren, before joining Fulham. He played in the Alec Raisbeck Benefit Match at Firhill on Tuesday 6th January 1914, where Thistle lost 7-5 to an International XI in front of a 10,000 Firhill crowd. Although an outside left, John also wore the number 7 outside right, the number 10 inside left and on one occasion the number 4 right half jerseys.

John played on 26 occasions for Fulham. He moved to Sheffield Wednesday in March 1921 and made 70 appearances scoring 36 goals for the club. In 1922 he moved to Blackburn Rovers and played 194 matches with 38 goals, between 1922 and 1927, a magnificent total. When he played for Blackburn Rovers against Everton in September 1922 Johnny scored 4 goals in a 5 minute spell.

During World War 1 he served in the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force). Johnny passed away in February 1974 in Blackpool aged 79.

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MELVILLE, DAVID

Defender David joined Thistle from East Fife in April 1904. His first known Jags appearance was an Inter City League match against Hibernian on2 April 1904, at Meadowside, in front of a 3,000 crowd. The match ended 1-1. The Thistle Archive report on the match recalls “On a barely playable pitch, Thistle had 3 debutants.” At 1-1 the report goes on “The game then became rash and reckless”.

David scored his first Thistle goal in a 3-2 win in a benefit match for funds for Rockbank Juniors against Queen’s Park at Meadowside. The Jags team contained 2 guest juniors, and David scored the opening goal of the game. In the 1903-04 season David played on 2 occasions. He cemented his place in the side in the 1904-05 season, playing in 38 competitive matches, an 86.4% appearance rate. In the 1905-06 season he played 34 competitive matches, an 82.9% appearance rate. In 1906-07 David played in 18 competitive matches. The player left the Jags at the end of the 1906-07 season, having made 100 known appearances as a Jag.

In 1907 David moved south to join Bradford City. After a couple of seasons at Bradford, he moved on to Stockport County, and played there for three seasons, scoring 4 times in 77 appearances. David also played for Southport and York. In an article in the Stockport County v Barnet match on 30 Match 2021, the club included a profile of David amongst other former players. It read “Another Scottish import although he arrived via Yorkshire. His earlier football had been played for Partick Thistle and Bradford City. Whilst not always the first name on County’s team sheet he appears to have been a consistent performer- making over 20 appearances in each of his three seasons at Edgeley Park. After leaving he played for Southport and York City.”

David joined the armed forces in 1914 on the outbreak of war. He returned to serve with the 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers after a short break away from uniform. While serving in Hong Kong, David contracted pneumonia. On 23 February 1927 David died, aged 43, and was buried in Hong Kong.

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MILLER, JOHN

Centre forward John had a long list of clubs before he joined Thistle as a 29-year-old in November 1924 from Aberdeen. He joined Hamilton Academical in 1915, having played for a number of junior clubs in the West of Scotland area. He played for the Accies between 1915 and 1918, but only made a small number of appearances. War interrupted his career, and with his brother Tom (who was to become a Liverpool player and Scotland international after the end of the conflict) joined the Glasgow Highlanders in November 1915. John did play for the Glasgow Highlanders football team during his time in the military. There were two further Miller brothers who played senior football, William and Adam.

At war end he joined his brother at Liverpool from 1919 to 1921. John managed to play in the same Liverpool side as his brother on 3 occasions. He then moved to Aberdeen, where he played in around 90 matches between 1921-24 scoring just under 50 goals. As mentioned above in November 1924 he joined a Thistle team that was undergoing change. The Scottish Cup winning team were moving on, with Tom Crichton and Willie Salisbury still playing regularly. Jimmy McMullan missed the Cup Final through injury, but later moved on to a glittering career with Manchester City (and also became a Wembley Wizard in 1928). New faces were appearing. Sandy Hair had joined the club prior to John’s recruitment. John Torbet was another recruit. John made 62 appearances for Thistle over the two seasons. When he opened his scoring account, he did so in style, scoring 5 goals in a 6-1 demolition of Cowdenbeath in an SFL 1st Division match at Firhill on 22 November 1924. John scored 36 goals for the Jags over his period at Firhill.

He went back to Aberdeen, and then had spells with Clyde and Dunfermline, before ending his career in England. John passed away in Stonehouse in June 1951 aged 56.

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PARRY, MAURICE

Maurice, a right half specialist, joined Thistle at the end of a long football career in May 1909. He is mainly known for his 9 year spell with Liverpool from 1900 to 1909, and also goes down as the first Welshmen to play for Partick Thistle. Prior to joining Liverpool he had a long list of clubs starting with Newtown in 1894, and including Nottingham Forest, Oswestry United (close to his birthplace) and Leicester Fosse. He was capped by Wales on 16 occasions. He played as a right half with Liverpool, playing a role in 2 First Division Championships – although he only got a medal for 1 of these, not having played frequently enough for the 2nd. He played for Thistle in the 1909-10 season along with Alex Raisbeck, who made a similar journey from Liverpool. The 1908-09 season had been a harrowing one for Thistle, but during the first season at Firhill the Jags eventually moved on positively from that, thanks in no small part to the on and off field influence of these two. After leaving Thistle, Maurice went to South Africa to try his hand at coaching, but soon moved back to the UK to rejoin Oswestry United. War intervened, and Maurice suffered gas poisoning injuries.

At the outbreak of World War 1 Maurice joined the 7th (Merioneth and Montgomery) Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, and in June 1915 Sergeant Parry was commissioned, becoming a Second Lieutenant. In October 1915 the Battalion were sent to Lemnos, before going to the Dardanelles. Maurice suffered gas inhalation injuries on 2 occasions, and this badly affected him at the time. He spent 12 weeks in hospital in Luxor before rejoining his regiment. In 1921 he took 5 years off his age to join ADRIC (The Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary), for police duties in Ireland, but in March 1921 he resigned from this force, with less than 3 months in post. Policing Ireland clearly wasn’t for him. He returned to football later in 1921 as a manager with Rotherham County, who merged with Rotherham Town to become Rotherham United. He left the club in 1923, when they became mired in financial difficulties. He also coached with Barcelona, Koln, Eintracht Frankfurt and in the Channel Islands. He is said to have been a coach at Liverpool. His brother Thomas was a Welsh international, and his son Frank played professional football. An accomplished musician on the piano and organ, Maurice died in Bootle in March 1935, aged 57.

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PEARSON, JOHN

John Pearson was a defender who joined Tottenham Hotspur in 1914, having played previously with Arbroath Fairfield and Arbroath. His timing in joining Spurs was rather unlucky, with war and the suspension of competitive football in England coming at the year end.

John joined the Royal Navy and served on the elderly Cruiser HMS Crescent. Before war started, HMS Crescent joined the 10th Cruiser Squadron (Northern Patrol), with this squadron securing northern waters. In 1915 the ship was based at Hoy, as a guardship for the Scapa Flow anchorage. Just before the war ended the 22-year old was temporarily transferred to Firhill, with Scottish League football having continued during the war. John played on 6 occasions for Thistle, with all of his matches being in the Scottish Football League. He went on to play for Spurs until 1923, and then had a short spell with Luton Town. John passed away in April 1937 aged 45.

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QUIGLEY, HUGH

Hugh shared the very day of his birth with Adolf Hitler, but very much played his part in thwarting ambitions of the German Empire (Hitler's Bavarian Army et al) in the first World War!

As decent work opportunities were limited for Catholics in Northern Ireland the Derry-born lad moved to Scotland, hoping to improve his life prospects. He worked as a mechanic on all manners of machinery, mainly on sewing machines. His talent as a footballer took care of his fitness and fun all the while, even if he didn't make it to the top of the tree in terms of wages in that supplementary profession. He served in France in WWI behind the lines, utilising his skills as a motor and general mechanic. Apparently there was nothing he couldn't fix, and such skill-sets were in extremely high demand, sparing Hugh the hell of ever having to don a helmet and wade through the trenches of death at the front. After the war, Hugh headed back home to Derry, where, at the turn of the decade, he met and married his wife and life partner. She had recently returned from Sydney as a widow, with a young daughter in tow. Hugh and she would have several children together. In the mid-1920s, the young family moved to Dublin in what was then called the 'Free State', as, again, Hugh's work opportunities were better in that part of the world. Impressively, he went on to become one of Europe's most sought-after sewing machine mechanics. In his role as a trouble-shooter, Singer flew him all over the continent, an adventure almost unheard of for regular civilians of the day. He was paid £200 a week by the Singer group in the 1930s; at the time not even the Irish Prime Minister was earning that! The children wanted for nothing, but he didn't leave that much behind except a house in Dublin. He was famous for being incredibly generous to anyone in his vicinity at Gaffney's pub in Fairview, and this generosity probably accounted for a fair proportion of his weekly wage!

Although Hugh had given up professional football early on, he loved nothing more than taking his 4 boys down to the local park in Fairview, Dublin, bamboozling them with his dribbling skills. One of his daughters (Stella, 1923-2005) played hockey, but used to relay stories that the girls weren't encouraged to join in the football!

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RAE, GEORGE

The son of George Rae and Jane Rae (nee Forsyth)

As Paul Lunney’s “Hibernian Football Club 1875-1975” tells “Geordie” was a speedy top class outside right. A contemporary appraisal said that he “dribbles beautifully, centres accurately and shoots with considerable force.” He started out at amateur level with Falkirk Athletic before joining the professional ranks with Falkirk, his hometown team in 1909-10.

Before the season was out, he signed for Hibernian in April 1910, where he really made his name in the seasons to come, appearing over 60 times in the league and getting into double figures on the goal charts. Whilst a Hibbee, he had a loan spell at Kirkcaldy United, before George Easton brought him onboard at Firhill in the autumn of 1913. His stay at Firhill was relatively short-lived however, as he moved onto Dunfermline Athletic in time for the start of the 1914-15 season.

Like so many other players, his playing career was interrupted by the 1st World War. George served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and rose to the rank of temporary 2nd Lieutenant and, as the Scotsman of 22 November 1918 reported, he was awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valor. (An Italian gallantry medal.) This award was notified in the Supplement to the London Gazette on 11 March 1919.

His career was book-ended with 2 winners medals with Falkirk in the Stirlingshire Cup, in 1910 and 1920, before one last hurrah at Dumbarton.

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RIDDELL, JAMES

James predominantly switched between the centre and the right of the half-back line throughout his career. Just after school age, he played in the juvenile grade Leagues in Glasgow with Fern Thistle and Bellvue Hearts, stepping up to the junior grade with Ashfield in his late teens. Signed for Rangers in May 1912, but played 1 league game in the season which followed. Made almost 100 league appearances at Dumbarton in 3 full seasons from 1913-14, and had a brief stint at Renton before rejoining Rangers for a much more successful 2nd spell in 1916-17. He was a man of many clubs, although he only played a combined handful of games for Clyde,(1917) Thistle (1918) and Kilmarnock (1918). This player profile is highly suggestive of a spell in the military for these years, although exact details are not yet to hand.

His last main spell in Scotland came with St Mirren in 1919-20, before he set off on a southernly adventure landing at Millwall in the summer of 1920, playing in their first ever league fixture vs Bristol Rovers that August. He did well in his 3 season spell at the Den, playing in over 100 matches, and maintained that consistency with Second Division Fulham for a couple of seasons, then with Wigan Borough for a few seasons from 1925. His long and winding road finished in the Welsh League joining the newly-turned-professional Caernarvon Athletic in 1928. They went on to reach the FA Cup 2nd Round in 1929 and won the League in 1929-30.

James died suddenly at Glasgow Infirmary on 22nd January 1959. His funeral was held 3 days later at Maryhill Crematorium, on 25th January. From that we learned that he was the beloved husband of Catherine Moir of 25 Willowbank Street. SEE TTA BIO

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TEMPLETON, DAN

Dan Templeton was a forward who mainly played in the inside left position as a player for the Jags in the 1922-23 season. He played for Thistle on 16 occasions that season. Dan joined Queen’s Park and played his first senior match against Heart of Midlothian on 25 November 1916. He was 19 years old. He went on to play on 19 further occasions that season. Although registered to the club Dan didn’t play during the 1917-18 season. He signed again for Queen’s Park in 1920 after the Armistice (for the 1920-21 season). He also played for the club in the 1921-22 season. He made 72 appearances for the Spiders scoring 8 goals.

Dan was another player whose career was interrupted by war. He served as an Air Mechanic 2nd Class in the Royal Flying Corps and the successor Royal Air Force.

As mentioned above Dan joined the Jags post war and made his first appearance against Bathgate, a match at Mill Park where he scored on is debut. The encounter on 16 August 1922 drew a 2,000 crowd and was part of the deal where goalkeeper Jock Wilkinson was allowed to join Thistle from Bathgate in June 1922.

Dan passed away on 20 February 1980 in Glasgow aged 82.

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WISEMAN, WILLIE

Defender Willie Wiseman’s only appearance for Thistle was in Tom Crighton’s second testimonial game on Tuesday 27 April 1926 at Firhill. He was one of five Queen’s Park players to turn out for the Jags who lost 5-2 to a strong Glasgow select. Tom suffered a compound fracture of his leg in a game against Queen’s Park, and didn’t recover sufficiently to restart his football career. The decision was taken to award Tom a second testimonial, and a large crowd turned out for one of the stars of the 1921 Scottish Cup Final victory against Rangers. Although Willie only ever played in this game for Thistle, his football career and life make an interesting bio.

Willie left university in Aberdeen in 1916 to join the Gordon Highlanders. While serving on the Western Front, he was wounded, gassed and missing in action for a week. He transferred to the Tank Corps, and ended the war with the rank of captain. He went to India to assist with the Indian Army restructure at the end of the conflict.

Returning to Scotland Willie went to Glasgow Technical College to complete his studies, and worked as a roads’ surveyor for Dunbartonshire Council.

Willie was a Queen’s Park player between 1922 and 1930, with 264 appearances for the Spiders. Willie was capped twice for Scotland, six times for the Scotland Amateurs side, and once for a Scotland League XI. He later served on Queen’s Park’s committee.

He wasn’t finished with the military, for in World War 2 Willie served as a Major in the Royal Engineers, principally on recruitment and training.

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YOUNG, JOHN M.

John was an outside right who joined the Jags from Motherwell in May 1914. The 23-year-old played on 10 occasions, including that season’s Glasgow Cup final draw, and subsequent defeat to Clyde. He played one previous Glasgow Cup quarter final match against Third Lanark, a 1-0 win at Firhill. All of his other appearances were SFL First Division fixtures. As well as being a footballer with Queen’s Park (where his brother Bob also played) and Motherwell, John was an accomplished cricketer at Clydesdale.

John enrolled at the University of Glasgow Medical School when he was 18 and playing with Queen’s Park, where he tended to turn out for the club’s Strollers side. He graduated in 1914 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Degree (MB ChB). John was commissioned into the 15 (1st Glasgow) Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry in 1914. This Battalion was also known as “The Tramways Battalion”, as many of their original volunteers came from the local council tramways department. John was commissioned as the Battalion medical officer, and was commissioned as a Captain. During the Battle of the Somme in 1916 John established a first aid post close to the front line, and under fire. He tended to the wounded. For this act he was awarded a Military Cross. In February 1917, Acting Major Young was seriously wounded, and had a leg amputated.

After the war John qualified as a Doctor of Public Health, and became a Fellow of the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He took a lead in establishing medical and nutrition services in schools in the city. John passed away in November 1947. There is an article about John in “The University of Glasgow Story” on the Glasgow University website.

THE INTER-WAR PERIOD

The war had wreaked untold misery on people in all of the countries involved in the conflict, and the Armistice euphoria evaporated quickly. The media attention on the vast majority of those returning wasn’t intense. Women had undertaken physical work done by men during the conflict, and men wanted to return to gainful employment. Women were in many instances sacked to make way for those returning, and the women who remained were retained on their wartime wages, lower than male equivalents. Women bus workers in London went on strike in 1918, with the strike spreading to other South East areas and London Underground. This was the first equal pay strike in the UK, with the female workers ultimately being successful. There were strikes in the UK both before and after the war. In “The Rise and Fall of the British Nation” by David Edgerton, he records that strikes occurred in many of the world’s countries, with the UK no exception.

Thistle’s first post war league match in the 1918/19 season was away to Airdrieonians on 17 August 1918. A crowd of 3,000 watched a 1-1 draw, with future Jag Rab Bernard in goal for Airdrieonians. The first post Armistice match was a 1-0 home defeat to Celtic, with 26,000 inside Firhill. At the end of the season Thistle finished 4th with 18 teams in the league. 1921 saw the Jags win the Scottish Cup, their only victory in the tournament, beating Rangers 1-0 with the final being held at Parkhead. This was the club’s first appearance in a Scottish Cup Final up to that point. The 20’s and 30’s were difficult times in the West of Scotland, with the ever present spectre of unemployment. Around 20 to 30% of the workforce were unemployed during this period, and many football clubs had precarious finances. Even work on the Queen Mary, at that time unnamed in John Brown’s Shipyard, was paused for two years in the early 1930’s. The ship was eventually launched in September 1934. Thistle became a club that sold their best players with Scottish Cup goalkeeping here Kenny Campbell moving to Liverpool; Joe Harris to Middlesborough; Jimmy McMullan to Manchester City; Jimmy Gibson to Aston Villa for a record fee at that time. Others followed. New players were found, with periodic flashes of Thistle glory.

Between 1926 and 1938 Glasgow more than doubled in size, with green field sites being acquired for housing development. The Empire Exhibition was held in the city in 1938, and with jobs being taken up in military rearmament, a war boost to industry evolved with another war expected to come soon. It duly arrived in September 1939.

Partick Thistle returned
● The Empire Exhibition at Bellahouston Park, 1938.

WORLD WAR TWO PLAYERS

Unlike their position in World War 1, the onset of war resulted in the SFL suspending League football for the duration of the war, but only after the league had played for all of September and early October. The Jags had 5 matches readjusted to void. In 1939-40 season Eastern and Western Leagues were formed – but not with the blessing of the SFL. Thistle played in the Regional League West for that season. For subsequent seasons during the war Northern and Southern Leagues were formed. This brought Hibs and Hearts into the revised Southern League, but still excluded Aberdeen and the Dundee teams from this flawed set up .In ”Soccer at War 1939-45” Jack Rollin succinctly explains “The Scottish League suspended its competitions but gave permission for local leagues to be formed. Thus in the summer a Southern League was fashioned with sixteen clubs. At the same time an attempt to form a Northern League was made, but, but it had to be postponed for a year, chiefly through the reluctance of Dundee and St Johnstone to enter. In addition there was a Southern League Cup and a Summer Cup, while competitions like the Glasgow Cup and Glasgow Charity Cup ran uninterrupted….” The Scottish Cup, in a similar fashion to World War 1 was suspended for the duration of the war.

Many Thistle players joined up or were called up, others like Jackie Husband who was a miner worked in reserved occupations. Willie Sharp tried to join the RAF in 1939, only to be passed as unfit with a heart condition. Willie still managed to play for the East Anti-aircraft units versus the West Anti-aircraft units at Dens Park in September 1941, with his side 6-1 victors. Heart condition or not, Willie went on to become the Jag’s top goal scorer by some margin. Willie Sharp 239 in all games, next Willie Paul (currently) 230. To put that into context, in 4th place is Kris Doolan with 127. Unless the length of contracts alter, the Willie Sharp and Willie Paul totals are unlikely to be surpassed.

In 1940-41 Thistle got to the semi-final of the Southern League Cup (SLC), losing to Rangers. In 1941-42 the Jags again managed to get to the semi-final of the SLC, losing out to Morton. Thistle won the Summer Cup in 1944-45, with a 2-0 win over Hibernian. For 1945-46 the one-off Victory Cup was introduced, and Thistle left the tournament in the quarter final. Only in 1946-47 did the Scottish Cup return, and the modern League Cup was introduced. World War 2 came at an unfortunate time for many Thistle players, with careers shortened or ended.

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BROWN, HUGH

Hugh joined Thistle from Yoker Athletic in October 1944. He started his war service in the Royal Navy, and was also an Army footballer. This curtailed his initial appearance rate for the club, and it wasn’t until May 1945 that he appeared more frequently on the Thistle teamsheet. Hugh initially started in the left half position, but moved to inside right, then right half. Late in his Jags’ career he even played as a centre forward, and when he played in England with Torquay United and other clubs, this was the position he played! It sums Hugh up perfectly that he was able to play in such a variety of positions. Hugh took over from guest Bill Shankly, when he left Bishopbriggs after his lengthy RAF service. In his first season with Thistle in 1944-45, Hugh played in all of the Summer Cup matches, and in the final where the Jags beat Hibernian 2-0 at the end of June 1945. A steady player until his final season, his last match in Thistle colours was the Glasgow Cup final on 25 September 1950, with Thistle and Celtic playing out a 1-1 draw at Hampden in front of a 56,500 crowd. The replay wasn’t played until 26 March 1951 (yes – six months later!) with Thistle winning the trophy by 3 goals to 2. Hugh though, had moved on by then. He made 147 appearances in his time at Firhill. He moved on to Torquay United, and played for the club on 55 occasions, before retiring. During his career he was awarded 3 Scotland caps, alongside an SFL appearance. He passed away in Surrey in July 1994, aged 72.

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CALDERWOOD, STEWART

Half back Stewart signed for the Jags in May 1926, from Rutherglen Glencairn. His first senior Jags outing was in September of that year as a 20-year-old. It was the start of a magnificent 423 turnouts in Thistle colours over the years until 1938, nearly 12 years in total. A strong tackler and good distributor of the ball, Stewart cemented his place in Jags’ folklore, appearing in no less than 6 cup finals between 1927 and 1937. He was on the winning side in the Glasgow Charity Cup in the 1926-27 season (a stunning 6-3 win over Rangers), 1934-35 Glasgow Cup and the 1934-35 Glasgow Charity Cup.

He was in the side for the 1929-30 Scottish Cup Final replay to Rangers (2-1 to Rangers after a 0-0 draw). He was also a losing finalist in the 1932-33 Glasgow Charity Cup and the 1936-37 Glasgow Cup. He didn’t play in the final of the 1928 Glasgow Dental Hospital Cup, but did get a winner’s medal as he did play for Thistle in the tournament. Stewart was given a free transfer in the summer of 1939, and signed for Queen’s Park Rangers. Strangely the Marlybone Mercury of 13 August 1938 claimed that Stewart had been appointed trainer for Queen’s Park Rangers after a training course. He joined the Royal Air Force during the war, and also acted as coach for the RAF team. Sadly the advent of war ended Stewart’s professional career, so he effectively played for 1 senior side during his career – Partick Thistle.

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CAMPBELL, JIMMY

Bridgeton born Jimmy was following in a bit of a family tradition, his father having played professional football for Reading. Jimmy was a skilful winger who mainly played on the left side and, indeed, in his guest appearance for the Jags (5 December 1942) he played at inside left. 2,500 were at Boghead to see Dumbarton v Thistle in the Southern League. First half missed chances cost Thistle on the day, but 4-1 flattered the home side.

He started life as a dental mechanic, and joined Celtic on the cusp of World War 2. His registration was held by Celtic from 1938 to 1943, but there is no record of Jimmy having played first team football for the club. His Licentiate dental studies delayed his call up until 1940, with him joining the Royal Army Dental Corps. He played for the Dental Corps football team, plus a host of guest appearances with Aldershot; Folkestone Town; Orient Chelsea and Thistle. In 1942 he moved to the Army Physical Training Corps (APTC) becoming a sergeant instructor. He also acted as a trainer for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) where he was also a bodyguard to Hardy Aimes, the fashion designer who managed Belgian resistance networks and subsequently rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Executive.

After the war he moved to Leicester City while studying as a dental surgeon at the University of Birmingham. On graduating he moved back to the West of Scotland eventually purchasing his Glasgow dental practice in Bothwell Street and then Douglas Street. He became an Associate Specialist in the Glasgow Dental Hospital in 1975. As well as football Jimmy always had an interest in athletics and was a Grade 1 Official coaching running to Olympic standard. He was a coach at Maryhill Harriers and Maryhill Ladies Athletic Club. He also subsequently worked with Motherwell and St Johnstone FCs. Jimmy died on 20 January 2011 in Glasgow aged 92.

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COLLIER, AUSTIN

Yorkshireman Austin Collier started his career as a wing half with Upton Colliery in 1935. He moved on to Frickley Colliery in August 1937, moving on to Mansfield Town in May 1938. Austin made 26 appearances for Mansfield before going on to York City, where World War 1 interrupted his career.

Austin joined Thistle in August 1940. He made 29 appearances in 1941-42, and 18 appearances in 1942-43. All were competitive fixtures. During this time, he also made guest appearances for other clubs including Celtic and Third Lanark. During the war Austin was a physical training instructor with the army, being stationed in the Glasgow area. Later in the war Austin was stationed in Italy and in 1944 played for a British Army side against France in Naples. Post-war he played for Queen of the South, and was assistant manager at Halifax Town. Aged 76, Austin passed away in the town where he was born, Dewsbury.

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DEAKIN, JOHNNY

John Deakin was primarily known as a St Mirren player but made one appearance for Thistle in a Glasgow Cup 1-0 defeat at Ibrox in September 1940. Johnny joined St Mirren in 1937 and carved out a career as an inside left with the club. During World War II he joined the Army, and when in Ireland he turned out for Glentoran. He guested for Aberdeen in 1943, and Brentford the following year. He made 280 appearances for St Mirren scoring 46 goals. Post war he returned to St Mirren and was awarded a single Scottish international cap in 1946, in a 2-2 Hampden draw with Belgium. He went back to Ireland and played for Linfield, Bangor and Glentoran (again) before retiring in 1955.

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DOUGLAS, JAMES

James joined Thistle in May 1937 from Sandburn Rangers Juveniles, starting out as inside left. James then moved to the left half position for a handful of matches before reverting to the forward line again. Thistle finished in 7th position in the 20 team SFL First Division that season, which made it a relatively successful season. James scored 3 League goals during this first campaign in Jags’ colours. He embedded himself in the team for the following season, despite not getting a League start until the end of October. His season total for league goals was again 3. In 1939-40 James played in all 5 of the initial SFL League 1 matches that were completed but declared void before the League campaign was abandoned. Like others, James didn’t play so often in 1939-40. James joined the Army, and military duty took precedence over football. Alex McSpadyen was often the provider for James’ goal attempts, but he too joined the Army. In November 1941 he played an Army representative match for the Infantry Training Centre against The Royal Corps of Signals. The match ended 2-2 and was played in Perth. James later joined Stenhousemuir.

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DYER, JIMMY

After coming through in the juniors, this right back wowed all at Somerset Park in his first senior season, being a near ever-present and having the captaincy bestowed upon him. Alas, his battling performances on a personal level were in vain as the honest men were relegated. They did, however, bounce back as champions in 1936-37! Jimmy was registered as an Ayr United player for 11 straight seasons, but played with others by consent. Almost one year into the war, he made his Thistle debut just days before his 27th birthday, the Jags defeating Albion Rovers by one goal to nil in the Southern League. Jimmy featured 8 times over the course of the next 10 weeks, a three nil home win over Motherwell being the highlight. Jimmy guested for East Fife as a 'Newman' in 1943. Our unattributed notes have him guesting for Crewe Alexandra around this time, but we rather feel this is a mix-up with Plymouth's Alex Dyer who guested for Crewe in 1943. Army service did take take him southwards though, where he guested for at least two clubs, including Chelsea, in 1943-44. Peter and Nathan (Chelsea Graves Society) were able to confirm two first-team appearances for Jimmy at left-back, versus Luton (16-Oct-1943) and versus Arsenal (06-Nov-1943). He joined Chester in October 1944, and played regularly with them until rejoining his parent club, Ayr United, in August, 1945. Played for the Western Command team against Scottish Command at Ayr on New Years Day 1946, being on the winning side by 4 goals to 3. Jimmy was freed by Ayr in May 1946 and joined Stranraer in January, 1947, where he spent his final two-and-a-half seasons.

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ELLIOT, ALEX

Maryhill born 21-year-old Alex Elliot joined Thistle from Glasgow Perthshire in May 1927 and stayed with the club for the next 13 years, making more than 450 appearances for the Jags. Quite a record. Alex and Eddie McLeod formed a stable half back platform and he was known for his elegant link up play. Unfortunately, Alex didn’t play in Thistle’s Glasgow Dental Cup victory in the 1928-29 season, with James Richmond taking the right half berth for the 3 matches. He played in the 1930 Scottish Cup Final, where the Jags lost 2-1 to Rangers after a 0-0 draw. Alex, however was on the winning side on Thistle’s Glasgow Cup and Glasgow Merchant’s Charity Cup victories in the 1934-35 season. He played for the Scottish League XI against the Irish League XI in 1938. Alex joined the military in World War 2.

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GAY, ANDREW

Gay signed on amateur terms in time for the start of the 1944-45 season. The Daily Record (10/8/1944) tells that he was a Fifer, that he served in the army and that he was formerly of Charlton Athletic. They mentioned that he would play in the forthcoming game versus Queen's Park, and the Sunday Post confirms this came to pass. How long he lasted at Firhill, or what became of him thereafter, remains a bit of a mystery.

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GOURLAY, ALEX

Alex joined the Jags in July 1941 from Strathclyde United. He played in the inside right position, but occasionally moved to inside left. In the 5 seasons he was at Firhill Alex chipped in to the goal tally for each of the seasons. He scored 15 in the 1941-42 season, with Willie Newall being top scorer with 36 goals. He was regularly in the Thistle side during his first season at Firhill, missing around 8 competitive matches, but his appearances were more intermittent for the rest of his career. His army service interrupted his availability for those seasons, with Alex playing for Thistle when available, but also turned out for Aberdeen during this period making 37 appearances for them between 1941-44, as he was appointed to Northern Command.

Alex is shown in the record books as having scored a hat trick in the 7-2 Southern League win over Third Lanark at Firhill on 18th October 1941, but the 4,000 crowd saw Alex score 4 that day, as he managed to squeeze in an own goal before completing his hat trick. He was surely forgiven by the Firhill faithful. He must have enjoyed playing against the Hi Hi, as 9 of his 36 Thistle goals were scored against them. Alex made 78 appearances for Thistle. After the war he moved on to Clyde.

Alex played for Army and Combined Services representative sides on 13 occasions between 29th May 1942 and 1st January 1944.

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HASTIE, ARCHIE

Shotts born inside left Archie joined the Jags from Douglas Water Thistle (a Lanarkshire junior side who became defunct in 1962) in August 1933. Archie came from a footballing family. His father Isaac was a goalkeeper with Airdrieonians. The teenager played 3 League matches in the 1933-34 season, with Johnny Ballantyne a hard act to displace. In 1934-35 he came into the side more often. 1934-35 was the season Thistle won a cup double - the Glasgow Cup and the Glasgow Merchants’ Charity Cup. Archie played in the 2 Merchants’ Cup matches, with Thistle beating Queen’s Park 2-1 in the final, but didn’t take part in the Glasgow Cup victory. Johnny Ballantyne took the number 10 jersey for the victory over Rangers. In the 1934-35 season Archie scored 12 goals, with Sandy McLennan coming top with 16, and Willie Miller next with 15. Good company to keep! He scored a double against Dunfermline in an SFL Division 1 match on 10 November 1934. He opened the scoring with a header in the SFL match at Firhill, in front of an 8,000 crowd. Dunfermline equalized, but Thistle then ran rampant, with further goals from Hunter Lyle getting 2, Willie Miller, Robert Regan and Archie notching up the final goal in the 7-1 victory. The following season saw Archie get 8 competitive goals, behind George Wylie, who got 21.

Archie’s final match in Thistle colours was in August 1936, in a 2-2 draw away to Queen’s Park. He moved on to Huddersfield Town but found it hard to break into a good side the club had at that time. He made 13 appearances, before coming north the following season to join Motherwell. They too had a strong first 11, and he struggled for game time there. He moved on to Bradford City, where he was a player for the next decade, until 1948. During the war years Archie joined the Royal Navy. He was a seaman on HMS Whitehall, with the ship acting as a convoy escort for the Arctic convoys, having previously taken troops home from Dunkirk. She later acted as a convoy destroyer in the Atlantic. During this period he did manage to get a game for Plymouth Argyle as a guest player. In the later stages of the war Archie served on a tank landing craft, a dangerous and demanding task. Post-war he returned to Bradford, and had a short spell with Selby Town. He returned to Bradford where he was a trainer with the club. Archie passed away in Bradford in 1988, aged 72/73.

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HENDERSON, BOBBY

Goalkeeper Bobby was a local lad, being born in Amisfield Road, Maryhill (off Shakespeare Street) in October 1917, a World War 1 baby. Bobby played for his local Boys’ Brigade team, the 69th (Glasgow), and was signed by junior side Glasgow Perthshire. Bobby moved on to Thistle in June 1937, but had to wait till September 1937, when he made his debut against Arbroath in a 0-0 draw at Firhill. A fellow debutant was one Jackie Husband, and they would both become favourites with the Firhill faithful, playing in the same team for a decade. His lack of game time was due to the form of Bobby Johnstone, with whom he was competing for the goalkeeper’s spot. 1938-39 was also a lean season for Bobby, as Johnstone held onto the goalkeeping position for all but a handful of matches. Bobby came into his own the following season, with Johnstone starting the season from August to October, but Henderson taking over for the remainder of the season. Bobby was the Thistle keeper from then until 1945 when, in February that year, he was called up and joined the RAF, returning from his National Service in 1947.

Bobby came back to Thistle on completing his spell in the RAF, but found a new competitor for the goalkeeper’s spot – Tommy Ledgerwood! For the next couple of seasons (1947-48 and 1948-49) the two players competed for the No 1 spot. Bobby played in the Glasgow Charity Cup final of the 1948-49 season, where Thistle beat Celtic 2-1. In 1949-50, Tommy played in goal for the first part of the season, with Bobby taking over for the remainder. Bobby’s most memorable performance was the Scottish Cup victory over Hibs at Easter Road during this season. In September 1950 Bobby moved north to Dundee, having played on 324 occasions for Thistle.

Bobby played for another two seasons for Dundee, with their regular keeper being called up to the RAF. He played for the Dee on 52 occasions before transferring to neighbours Dundee United in 1956. He was in the Dundee League Cup winning side of 1952. He had a short spell with Dundee United, but broke his leg in a match against Arbroath. He passed away in May 2006 aged 88.

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HOUSTON, JOHNNY

Served in both WWI & WWII. See entry in the WWI section above.

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HOUSTON, ROBERT

Robert came through as a junior goalkeeper with Dundee Violet and signed for Raith Rovers in May 1939. There could hardly be a worse time to become a professional footballer. Two months into the war he switched to Dundee and was a registered player at Dens Park for 5 years, although it was rather academic, with Robert spending his time with the services in the Middle East. Towards the end of 1944 he switched back to Rovers for a 3-month spell. He was loaned to Thistle in February 1945 and played in 2 Southern League matches and 5 Southern League Cup ties before the end of the season. 14,000 were at Firhill on 3rd March 1945 to see Thistle defeat Clyde by 2 goals to nil in the second game of the Southern League Cup section, his only clean sheet as a jag.

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HOWE, JACK

Jack started his senior career at Hartlepools United in 1934 and moved to Derby County in 1936. He stayed with the Rams until 1950, making more than 250 first class appearances for the club. In-between times, Jack joined the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders early in the war, and played as a guest for Heart of Midlothian, Falkirk, Third Lanark, Aberdeen and St Mirren, as well as the Jags. Jack played for the Scottish League in a match against a British Army side, and served in India. When demobbed, he played in the 1945/46 FA Cup Final as a winner with Derby County, when they beat Charlton Athletic 4-1 in front of 98,000 at Wembley. In 1948, Jack was capped for England against Italy (when he was 32 years old), and gained further caps against Scotland and Ireland. He subsequently spent just over a season with Huddersfield Town, before joining non-League King’s Lynn, where he served as both a player and a manager for 4 seasons, winning the Eastern Counties League in 1953-54. He wasn't done there however. Jack continued to play at Wisbech Town of the Midland League, with whom he retired as a footballer in his early 40s!

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JOHNSON, JACKIE

Jackie Johnson was a World War 2 guest player from Stockport County. His first match (of 33) was on 9th September 1944 (the 1944-45 season) where the 22-year-old winger scored in a 4-2 victory over Clyde in a Southern League match at Firhill. Jackie’s undoubted legacy at Firhill was his scoring proficiency in the Summer Cup of 1945. He didn’t score in the opening 4-4 draw with Dumbarton at Firhill, with a Douglas Stockdale brace, and goals from Bill Shankly Joe McGeachy getting the Jags’ goals. He scored both Thistle goals in the 2-1 win over Dumbarton at Boghead. He scored in the 3-1 win against a strong Hearts side at Firhill, with Maurice Candlin scoring the other 2. Hearts won 2-1 at Tynecastle, with Maurice again scoring the Thistle goal to secure the tie. Jackie scored the remaining 3 Jags’ goals in the tournament, with a 1-0 win over Morton in the Semi-Final at Hampden in front of a 25,000 crowd. A press report said “Johnson scored direct from an inswinging corner that should have been a goal kick.” Ces’t la vie. He again scored 2 in the Final 2-0 victory against Hibs at Hampden, with a 27,996 crowd seeing Thistle lift the Cup. Jackie was the club top scorer in the 1944-45 season with 13 goals.

The Millwall online website describes Jackie’s tenure there:

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Johnson was born in Hazel Grove, Stockport on 11 December 1921. He came to Millwall’s attention during the war years as a guest player whilst serving in the forces. He appeared in 24 games in the Football League South and made a good impression with his speed on the right wing and an excellent shot. His favourite ploy was to come inside the full-back and shoot across the keeper to score inside the far post. They go on to say he was sometimes used as a centre forward, with his pace being used to good advantage. During his 11-year spell at The Den – with a transfer to Tonbridge for a short period, he returned to Millwall to complete 319 competitive appearances with 49 goals.

In January 1957 he returned to the Garden of England and signed for Margate, making his debut in a 4-1 defeat at Snowdown. He made 15 appearances for The Gate scoring 3 goals. During the 1957-58 season he joined Canterbury City, and then on to Dover Athletic where he played the latter part of the 1957-58 and also for the 1958-59 seasons. When he was in the Army during World War 2 he played a representative match for the Northern Command against the Scottish Command at Dens Park in October 1943. When he retired from the game Jackie ran pubs in Hastings and Stowting, then became a postman before retiring to Sellindge, near Folkestone in Kent.

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JOHNSTON, ANTHONY

Plantation born Anthony Johnston signed for the Jags from Queen’s Park in the summer of 1939, as a 22-year-old defender. He played for Queen’s Park from 1935 to 1939 before joining Thistle, having made 33 starts for the Spiders. When with Queen’s Park he was awarded a cap by the Scottish International side in 1939, against England. He played 4 SFL Division 1 matches against Heart of Midlothian (twice), Albion Rovers and Queen of the South in August 1939, although these were lost from his appearances tally when the SFL abandoned the League and declared the competition voided. He didn’t play in the fifth fixture against Alloa Athletic. His remaining match in August 1939 was against Rangers in the Glasgow Cup. That went ahead ok, but Thistle lost 4-1 at Firhill. Anthony started out wearing the number 5 centre half shirt, but moved across to the number 2 right back position. Unfortunately for Anthony he was called up to the Army, and although he did play on 18 occasions before his final match in April 1941, the war effectively ended his Thistle career.

He did appear as a guest for St Bernard’s in 1940. Post-war, he went on to play with the newly formed Stirling Albion as well as Raith Rovers and Brora Rangers. He passed away in 1993 in East Renfrewshire aged 76.

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LAURIE, JOHN

Right half John Laurie joined Thistle on 4 January 1941 from Dundee. He made 8 appearances for Thistle during his 3 month stay with the club, 4 Southern League matches, and 4 Southern League Cup starts. Thistle got to the semi-final of the Cup, going out to Rangers at that stage. His Dundee career covered seasons 1936-37, 1937-38 and 1938-39, his football career interrupted by war. He made a total of 57 competitive starts for the club, scoring 7 goals. He enlisted early in the war, and was promoted to the rank of Major, giving “distinguished service”. John played in a number of Service matches, including a match between a Scotland XI versus a Army (Scottish Command) XI at Dens Park on 25 January 1941, with the Scotland XI winning 1-0 with Robert Flavell of Airdrieonians getting the only goal. He played in a further match between the same teams at Pittodrie on 19 April 1941, the Scotland XI again winning with a 2-1 victory. Thistle player Austin Collier also played for the Army (Scottish Command side), with Peter Curran appearing for the Scotland XI. Stanley Matthews appeared as a guest for the Scotland XI, having been recently posted to Scotland.

John went on to play for Rangers and Motherwell, before having a post-war career at Queen of the South. He also worked as a quantity surveyor.

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LEDGERWOOD, TOMMY

The 23-year-old Tommy was signed by Donald Turner in January 1947 and made well over 300 appearances between the sticks from April 1947 to April 1959. It was his Army career which was responsible for his late start as a footballing professional. In June 1944, Tommy was serving as a gunner in Burma, and received shrapnel wounds in his right shoulder which would trouble him for the rest of his days. That he was still able to make it as a goalkeeper was testament to his strength of character.

To all intents and purposes he was a one-club man (as far as senior football goes) although this was somewhat spoiled at the very end after a reputation-battering 10-1 defeat to Dunfermline. Almost immediately, he was unceremoniously placed on the open to transfer list and would never again play for Thistle – it was a rather sad way to finish what had been a great career. As a Jag, some of his saves were described as world class and his ability was such that he pushed for international honours and was regularly quoted as a contender. Although he played for the Scottish League (versus Irish League away - won 5-1 Sep ’52) and Scotland “B” (versus France “B” away - 0-0 draw Nov ’52) he was never quite able to displace Jimmy Cowan (Morton) or Tommy Younger (Hibs, Liverpool) as Scotland No 1.

In Tommy’s time at Thistle there was always plenty of competition for the number one jersey from the likes of Bobby Henderson, Alex Bell, Willie Smith, Dave Thomson, Freddie Renucci and John Freebairn – but as his appearances tally suggests, his quality tended to win over the management. His total was no mean feat during one of the very strongest decades in Partick Thistle’s history. He was in the Glasgow Cup winning sides of 1951 and 1954, and all three Scottish Cup Final losses to East Fife (1953), Celtic (1956) and Hearts (1958). Tommy was also a goal scoring ‘keeper! In a match against Hearts he had to leave the field because of an injury. In the days of no substitutes he came back on in an outfield position, and scored with a left field shot, in an unlikely 5-4 victory at Tynecastle!

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LIDDELL, F.

The Evening Times of 12th February 1944 stated “Noted newcomers to the Partick Thistle team today were Liddell, an RAF pal of Shankly, and Barrett, the West Ham centre-half.” Liddell played at the left back position in the 2-2 draw against Motherwell at Firhill that afternoon. His final known game for the Jags was a week later on 19th February 1944, when Thistle lost 2-0 against Hibernian at Easter Road.

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MACKENZIE, JOHNNY

Outside right Johnny MacKenzie was dubbed “The Firhill Flyer” and praised by Ferenc Puskas, but Dennistoun-born Johnny’s family moved to Tiree, where his mother originated from, when he was young. Johnny didn’t agree with the local environment, and they moved back to Glasgow. Johnny spoke both Gaelic and English, and some (dubiously) claimed that when capped for Scotland, he was the first bilingual cap. Johnny went back to Tiree when war broke out, but soon returned as a teenager to become a fitter in a Glasgow engineering plant in Possilpark. He started his football career with Petershill, but in October 1944 became a Jag. Later that week his call up papers arrived, and he joined the Scots Guards, where he served in London and Germany. Around 3 years 10 months after signing for Thistle, he made his debut for the club! Between then and 1960 he turned out on 405 occasions for the Jags, scoring 56 goals. He helped Thistle to 3 League Cup finals during the 50s against East Fife; Celtic and Hearts, but was runner up on all 3 occasions. He was however part of 3 Glasgow Cup winning sides during his long stay with the Jags. They won the trophy in 1951; 1953 and 1955. In 1958 he had a short spell in West London with Fulham, but quickly returned to his adopted city.

Johnny was capped for Scotland on 9 occasions, and it was after a match against Hungary that Johnny caught the Puskas eye. He went to the Switzerland World Cup in 1954, and competed in both of Scotland’s Group 3 defeats against Uruguay and Austria. Johnny was also awarded 2 Scottish League caps. After leaving Thistle he played for Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic, Dumbarton and Derry City. When his football career ended around 1965, Johnny returned to Glasgow where he worked in engineering until he retired, and he then moved to Tiree to “a wee house by the harbour”. Johnny passed away in Tiree in July 2017 aged 91..

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MATHIE, DAVIE

Although only 5 feet 7 inches tall, Davie was a natural and gifted centre forward. He joined Thistle in the winter of 1946, having been called up to the Army early in World War II, as he was a Territorial volunteer. He joined from Clyde, but was better known for his pre-war exploits with Motherwell, a club he would rejoin after leaving Thistle in 1947. He was a prolific striker with the Jags, and scored 40 goals in 53 outings, an excellent record. Davie took Willie Sharp’s number 9 jersey – with Willie moving to the inside left position, during the 1946-47 period. Willie, of course, wasn’t finished at Firhill yet. Well, not for another decade!

In an SFL Division A match against Queen’s Park on 21 December 1946 at Hampden, Thistle beat the Spiders 6-2. Davie scored a hat-trick, and all 3 goals were headers. Not bad. Davie also went to Norway for Thistle’s whistlestop tour of 1947. He played in all of the matches against Norway XIs, and in one of the matches scored a brace of goals. Thistle won all 3 games.

Davie was a steelworker when he started his career with Wishaw Juniors. Despite his lack of height, he was a hard player. In 1938 he joined Motherwell. He scored 20 goals in 30 matches, before war intervened. He was a guest for the period with Hibernian, Dumbarton, Derry City, Linfield and had a spell with Clyde before joining the Jags. In 1947 he rejoined Motherwell, and continued his goalscoring form. From 1951-53 he was a Kilmarnock player, scoring 20 goals in 34 matches. There was a consistency wherever he went, in being able to score freely. In 1953 he went to Workington Town, but returned north after 2 matches there. He was admitted to Law Hospital, and sadly died on 3 January 1954, at the tender age of 34.

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McINNES, JOHN

Dalry-born inside forward who got his start at Firhill aged 19. Unfortunately, Thistle went down 3-1 at home to Celtic and more than 3 years would pass before John was seen again in the first team. Perhaps he was on national service? 1945-46 was his main season at Thistle, with 15 appearances to his name, the highlight being a 3 game winning run in October; 2-0 at St Mirren, 6-2 at home to Third Lanark and 5-3 at home to Kilmarnock. John notched a brace in a 4-3 win at Cappielow in August 1946, as League football proper resumed. However, he'd make just 10 appearances over the course of 1946-47 and 1947-48, and it became time for him to move on. He switched to Raith Rovers in February 1949 and moved on to Bradford City just 3 months later. He made 21 league appearances for the club between 1949 and 1951, scoring 6 goals. He departed Valley Parade in August 1951 after being released.

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MCKENNAN, PETER

In his autobiography, former Oldham player Orig Williams describes meeting his new mentor on arrival at the club as follows:

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It all began well as I was “adopted” on my first visit to the changing room. My mentor, guide and self-appointed instructor was to be Peter McKennan, a well-travelled and at one time an incredibly gifted footballer. He was a six-foot, brylcreemed-haired Scot who, by the time he had arrived at Oldham, via Partick Thistle, West Brom, West Ham and Middlesborough, had clearly been worn down by injuries, which included a fragile ankle.

Though he had received little schooling, he was known as McKenna MA BA or MA BA McKennan…………At one stage in his career, he could dribble away, beating man after man, and should have been capped for his country, but as befitting a D Day landing station commander, he was no quitter, and woe betide anyone who crossed him.

Ma Ba' was an inside forward who joined Thistle in December 1934 as a teenager from Whitburn Junior. By the time World War 2 interrupted his career less than 5 years later he had made just less than 200 appearances for Thistle and scored 114 goals. A prolific goalscorer. He scored 4 on 2 occasions, against Albion Rovers in a 6-1 SFL win, and Hamilton Academical in a 4-3 SFL win. Add in 4 hat-tricks, and you start to get the picture. Thistle fans loved him.

When war came Peter joined the army (in September 1939). He served in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Peter was promoted to the rank of Command Sergeant-Major and landed in France a fortnight after D-Day. Peter went on to Caen and Evrecy, where he saw action. He stayed with the Regiment through France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany. In the London Gazette of 9 August 1945, Peter was mentioned in despatches and was Acting Company Sergeant Major. In his book “Soccer at War 1939-45”, Jack Rollin writes of Peter “He served first with the Ras then the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He landed at Normandy two weeks after D-Day and was involved in the Battle for Caen. He was one of only four survivors of his section in one engagement. McKennan was mentioned in dispatches for patrol work….

Peter did stay as a Thistle player, but during the war he made guest appearances for a number of clubs. In October 1946 he joined West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £10,000. He made 12 appearances for the Baggies, scoring 4 goals before moving on to Leicester City in March 1948. 18 starts and 7 goals later, Peter moved on to Brentford in September of the same year. In February 1949, Ma Ba' scored 5 in the club’s 8-2 victory over Bury. A spell with Middlesborough was followed by 3 seasons with Oldham Athletic. He scored 33 goals in 83 matches with the Latics, so Orig Williams’ initial view of MA BA may have altered! He crossed the water to become player manager of Coleraine, banging in goals there also, before retiring from the game in 1956. He passed away in September 1991 in Ayrshire aged 73.

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MCLEOD, EDDIE

Springburn lad Eddie McLeod joined Thistle from Ashfield as a teenager in June 1926. His maiden first team outing was against Falkirk in a SFL First Division match a couple of months later, a 1-1 draw away from home. Nobody could have predicted what was to follow. Eddie was a fixture in the side for the rest of that season, only missing one match, an SFL 2-2 draw with Dundee United at Firhill in December 1926. He played in the Glasgow Charity Cup victory over Rangers, with Thistle winning 6-3. Sandy Hair scored 5 goals in that match. His 1927-28 appearance record although impressive, was a bit more sporadic. Alex Elliot appeared in the Jags team that season. With Alex at right half, and Eddie in the left half position, Alex Lambie played centre half. All three seemed as unbeatable as the Three Musketeers! Eddie was a good passer of the ball, with a keen footballing brain. Thistle won the Glasgow Dental Cup in the 1928-29 season, with Eddie taking part in all 3 matches. He scored in the first round, a 1-0 victory over Third Lanark. Eddie played his part in the 1934-35 season Glasgow Cup final victory over Rangers, and the Charity Cup victory over Queen’s Park later that season.

Eddie continued as a Jag until 1940, making 497 appearances for the club, a magnificent total. He retired from football in 1940, and joined the war effort by becoming a soldier. At some stage Eddie went to the USA, and passed away there in New York in 1969 at 61 years old.

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MCSPADYEN, ALEX

Alex joined Thistle in March 1935. He had made rapid progress in his football career, and the nippy right-winger was soon in the first team. Teenager Alex started with junior side Chaplehall Juveniles in 1933, moved to Newarthill Hearts in 1934 and then joined his home-town club Holytown United in 1934-35. It was from that club that he joined Thistle. He was described as ”One of the fastest wing forwards in Scotland.” David Ness was coming to the end of his Firhill tenure, and there were other options for his place in the side, with Bobby Regan and John Neish looking to play. Once in the side, however, Alex never looked back. He was in the side for the club’s Glasgow Merchants Charity Cup win, in the 1934-35 season, Thistle beating Queen’s Park 2-1 at Hampden. That endeared him to the Thistle cognoscenti! Thistle also won the Glasgow Cup that season, but Alex didn’t play in that tournament.The following season Peter McKennan joined Thistle, and “The Two Macs” became a feared striking partnership. International honours came his way, with 2 full caps in 1938 against Hungary and England. He was also capped for the Scottish League on 3 occasions, against the Irish League in 1938 and 1939. He also played against the English League in 1941.

In the 1935-36 season, Thistle won the Paisley Charity Cup, beating St Mirren 3-1 with Alex scoring the 3rd goal. Despite a knee problem Alex played until 1943, when he joined the Army. He completed his basic training in the north east, and played as a guest for Aberdeen. He also played for Army representative sides on a number of occasions. Alex returned to Firhill to play for the club during his army service, where possible. When he left the army he returned to Thistle, but only played in a handful of matches in the 1947-48 season. Alex played on 290 occasions for Thistle, and fans will always remember him as 1 of the “2 Macs”

He played for Portadown for a season, before retiring from the game. Injury had slowed him over time. Alex passed away in October 1978 in Holytown, the village where he was born.

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MILLAR, BILLY

Billy joined Thistle as an inside forward from South Ayrshire side Annbank United in the autumn of 1943, playing his first team debut shortly thereafter. Billy played for Thistle from 1943 till 1946. The matches he unfortunately missed during this period were the Jags’ Summer Cup fixtures in 1944-45 season, where Maryhill Magyars won the cup. Willie was in the army then, and played a magnificent total of 11 representative matches for Army and Select Services sides between November 1943 and January 1946. The Army clearly didn’t want to give him up! His army service clearly interrupted his Thistle career. In Billy’s 2nd match in Red and Yellow Airdrie were “swamped” (according to the Sunday Post) 6-1 by the Jags, in front of a 5,000 crowd at Firhill. Billy scored the only goal in the Glasgow Cup Final against Rangers on 13th October 1934, with Thistle winning the Cup at Hampden in front of a crowd of 28,000. Thistle won a 2nd trophy that season, the Glasgow Charity Cup, but although the Billy was in the side for the 1st Round 1-0 victory over Rangers, he wasn’t in the side for the Final where Queen’s Park were beaten 2-1 In 1946 Billy moved on to Aberdeen, where he played on 56 occasions for the Dons, scoring 4 goals. In 1949 he joined Stirling Albion for a season, and then went south to Swindon Town. He played 75 league and 18 FA Cup matches scoring 22 goals in a 3 year spell with the club. Billy scored 2 goals in the first ever floodlit match at Swindon’s County Ground in 1951. In 1953 he joined Gillingham with Ken Lambert travelling west in the same deal. He spent 3 years at Priestfield before heading north to join Accrington Stanley in 1956. In 1957 he ended his career at Kettering Town. Billy passed away in March 1995 aged 70.

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RHODIE, ANDREW

The 22 year old Andrew finally made his step up from the junior grade in November 1935, moving from Parkhead to Third Lanark. Hardly making an impression on the first team in his 3 seasons at Cathkin, and moved to Cowdenbeath in the close season of 1938, where he was a near ever-present in their Division 2 campaign of 1938-39. Was on the books at Central Park for the duration of the war, but played 20 times for Thistle in 1940 by consent, such was the rule relaxation of the day. His appearances seem to dry up from 1941 onwards, so perhaps he served as a soldier? In March 1955, the 42 year old Andrew departed for a new life in New Zealand, sailing from Southampton to Wellington on the Southern Cross ship. There he continued his main line of work as a printer’s guillotine operator. We know that he died in New Zealand, but we don’t know the exact place of death, so if anyone does know, then please get in touch.

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SHANKLY, BILL

Bill joined the RAF in 1939, was posted to RAF Bishipbriggs (a centre for anti-aircraft balloons and transit camp), and Thistle were one of a number of clubs he played for as a result of his military service. He met his wife Agnes when he came to Bishopbriggs, and they married in 1944. She was known to Bill as Nessie. Bill stayed with the RAF for 7 years. Bill was a miner from Glenbuck, and played for the famous local side. His 4 brothers also became professional footballers. He joined Carlisle United in 1949, and moved to Preston North End the following season. Known as a “ball-winning right-half” the club reached the 1938 FA Cup Final. Beaten by Sunderland, the club repeated the feat the following season, and won the trophy, beating Huddersfield Town 1-0 with a George Mutch penalty deep into the match. Bill was capped for Scotland twice pre-war, and a further 7 times during the conflict, and reached 12 by the end of his career. Bill played for the club from 1933 until he joined the RAF in 1939. During his time in the RAF Bill was contracted to Preston North End, but played for numerous clubs round Britain, dependent on where he was stationed (including Thistle). He played for Stirling club King’s Park in 1938, went on to play for St Mirren, and played once for his future club Liverpool. He also played for Bolton Wanderers, Cardiff City and Lovell’s Athletic, the works team for a sweet factory in Newport. Arsenal, Norwich City and Luton Town beckoned before he arrived at Firhill. Bill first played for the Jags in October 1943, and by the time he was (eventually) demobbed and returned to Preston in 1946, he had gained a wealth of experience, but was 36-years-old. Bill played 69 times for Thistle, scoring 11 goals. He was in the Jags’ side that beat Hibernian 2-0 in June 1945 to win the Summer Cup.

He ended up struggling to get into the Preston side post war, so when Carlisle United offered him their manager’s post, he took it on. He felt that Preston were due to give him a testimonial, but this was refused. Bill didn’t forget (and no doubt didn’t forgive either). After 2 years at Carlisle he moved on to Grimsby Town, Workington, Huddersfield Town before arriving in Liverpool in December 1959. In 1961-62 they won the Second Division title, them won 3 First Division titles, 2 FA Cup wins, 3 Charity Shield wins and the EUFA Cup in 1972-73. He retired at the end of the 1973-74 season, but had laid the foundations for a Liverpool dynasty. When in the RAF he was also a middleweight boxer, winning a trophy for this. He worked for a Liverpool radio station for a period after his retirement.

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SHARP, ALEX

Alex, a right half, joined Thistle during World War 2, at the end of season 1940-41, his first matches in Jags’ colours being in the 1940-41 Charity Cup, where Thistle got to the Final, but were defeated by Rangers. His baptism of fire was in a Glasgow Charities Cup Quarter Final at Firhill where the end score read Partick Thistle 7 Clyde 5. The May 1941 match was played in front of a no doubt incredulous crowd of 5,000; Thistle were 5-0 up at one stage, only for Clyde to make a shock comeback. Willie Peat got a hat-trick and Peter McKennan got 2. He played in the more sedate 2-1 victory over Celtic, before the 3-0 reversal to Rangers in the Final. The season’s final 2 matches were against St Mirren in the Summer Cup, with Thistle losing both legs of the tie.

In 1941-42 Alex played on 14 occasions. All of the matches he played in were in competitive competitions.

Alex started his career at Musselburgh then made the short hop to Heart of Midlothian in July 1936. He was sent out on loan to Leith Athletic in February 1937, before moving to his first of a couple of spells at Albion Rovers in August 1938. He joined the Jags in April1941, before going back to Albion Rovers in August 1942. Alex played Army football during World War 2, and between May1941 and May 1942 represented an Army XI; Anti-aircraft command and the Scottish Command in 3 separate representative matches while with Thistle. He also represented Army (Scottish Command) XI sides in December 1940 and January 1941 when he played for Albion Rovers. Alex went on to play for Irish side Dundalk.

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STEWART, JAMES

Left back James first started for the Thistle 1st team at the tail end of the 1935-36 season in the Paisley Charity Cup Final victory over St Mirren at Love St, with John Wallace, Peter McKennan and Alex McSpadyen the Jags’ scorers in the 3-0 win. For the 1936-37 season James competed with the great Stewart Calderwood for the left back position, but still managed to get around 27 starts – good going! Thistle lost the Glasgow Cup Final on a replay to Rangers, and James played in all of the Jag’s matches in the competition. A strong 1937-38 season saw James in imperious form, with around 39 appearances. Thistle managed to hammer Stranraer 8-0 in a Scottish Cup replay at Firhill after a 0-0 draw in the original fixture. 1938-39 saw James start around 25 matches with Charles McGregor alternating between left and right back for his solo Jags’ season. James played in a number of the SFL 1st Division matches declared void with the onset of war. He didn’t appear so often in the Regional League West & cup matches. He did play in Thistle’s 6-4 defeat to Hamilton Academicals on 4th October. Defences on top there

James appeared for a Combined Services XI versus a RAF XI at a Arbroath POW & War Comfort Fund fixture at Gayfield on 21 October 1942. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

James moved on to Raith Rovers, Polkemmet and Bo’ness United. Bo’ness got to the final of the Scottish Junior Cup in 1946-47 and 1947-48 seasons. In the 1946-47 Final they got beaten by Shawfield, after a 1-1 draw. The crowd for the draw was 56,410, and for the replay a week later 26,251. Bon’ess won the cup the following year, beating Irvine Meadow 2-1. (55,602 crowd.) Jimmy Stewart played centre half in all 3 matches, and it is probable that this was the former Jagsman.

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SUTHERLAND, GEORGE

George joined the Jags as a centre half, initially on trial, but put pen to paper on 11th September 1935. His 1st match during his trial period was in a 2-1 win over Queen’s Park in the Glasgow Charity Cup Final at Hampden in front of 16,500 spectators on 11th May 1935.Not for the faint-hearted! George took Bob Donnelly’s place in the side, Bob having recently been transferred joined Manchester City.

The centre half started his football career with Linlithgow Rose in 1932, going on to East Stirlingshire in 1933 and then East Fife in 1934. Miner George was well suited to the centre half position, renowned for his heading ability. He remained a Jag until 1943, playing his final fixture in a Thistle jersey in February 1943.

In 1941, however, George joined the Army, and was soon playing Army football for the Royal Corps of Signals and Scottish Command. He represented Army sides on 16 occasions, and played in the Army in Scotland side’s 8-0 victory over the Dutch Army at Cappielow on 7th November 1942. He also played for Scotland v England in the Army international on 20th February 1943 at Hampden. We’ll gloss over the 7-0 loss. The Army’s gain was Thistle’s loss, although he was allowed to play for Thistle where possible.

George represented Glasgow v Sheffield in 1937. The Glasgow side lost 2-1 in the fixture at Doncaster’s Belle Vue stadium. All in all George played for the Jags on a massive 249 occasions scoring twice. He left for Heart of Midlothian in August 1943, and played 34 times for Hearts reserves. He passed away in 1969 in his mid-50s.

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THORNTON, WILLIE

The death of 58-year-old Thistle manager David Meiklejohn from a heart attack at Broomfield in August 1959 robbed Thistle of one of their most successful managers. It also triggered the move of Willie Thornton from managing Dundee to being boss of the Jags. Adam McLean took over as interim manager, with a successor being pursued. Willie was manager at Dundee and seen as a rising star in football management. He wanted to come back to Glasgow, so without any formal interview he became Thistle manager, from a long list of applicants. He took over in the Autumn of 1959.

Willie’s record when in charge of Thistle was a good one.
Played – 427 Won – 160 Drew – 88 Lost – 179.
(Competitive fixtures only shown.)

A 2-0 victory over Celtic at Hampden brought the Glasgow Cup back to Firhill in September 1960. 1962-63 was a roller coaster season for Jags’ fans. After a sizzling start, Thistle sat in pole position come the end of the year, but a winter freeze in January 1963 meant that football effectively shut down for the month and, on the restart, their earlier good form deserted them. Thistle ended up in 3rd place in the League – but that place brought European football to Firhill in 1963-64 in the Inter-City Fairs Cup. The Jags were also runners-up in the Glasgow Cup in 1959 and 1966, with the side also being Glasgow Charity Runners-up in 1960. Willie left Thistle to go to Ibrox to act as assistant manager to David White in September 1968.

He Joined Rangers as a 16-year old from school in March 1936, having played for his hometown club Winchburgh Albion. His Rangers’ debut was against Thistle at Firhill. He was a 1 club player, having played for no other senior club apart from Rangers. He played at Ibrox for 18 years (until 1954), but as with other players, World War II had intervened. When he ended his playing career he had made 390 first team appearances, scoring 238 goals, being rather adept in the air. He won 4 League titles; 3 Scottish Cups; 2 League Cups, and (according to the SFA site) 8 full Scotland caps, scoring 1 goal. As well as managing Dundee (from 1954 to 1959) and Thistle, he was caretaker manager at Ibrox in 1969 when David White was sacked.

In September 1939 he volunteered to join the Army and enlisted as a trooper in the 80th (The Scottish Horse) Regiment of the Royal Artillery. He saw action in Tripoli in North Africa, Sicily, Anzio and Monte Cassino in Italy. A radio operator, when in Sicily he was awarded the Military Medal for his coolness under heavy shellfire in the battle for the Sferro Hills, during the British advance in the island.

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TWELLS, DONALD

Donald was a St Mirren player during World War 2. He played as a guest player for Thistle on 1 occasion in May 1940 in a Glasgow Charity Cup Quarter Final tie against Clyde at Shawfield with the Bully Wee running out 2-1 winners. He played as a centre half on his only Jags turnout. Donald played for St Mirren on 5 occasions, and his only other senior football recorded was 7 matches for Hull City between December 1940 and April 1941. From reports of St Mirren games in the press, we know that he was described as a soldier, and as a private, but we don’t know any more about his army service, apart from his possible participation in several Army matches.

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WALLACE, JOHN

Like his father, John played for the local Glenbuck Cherrypickers side, notorious for producing around 50 professional footballers, pretty much 1 per year of their existence, despite having a population average of 1,000. As Adam Powley’s “Shankley Village” tells, John was also a nephew of Sandy “Towey” Brown (Preston North End, Tottenham, Scotland etc) whose incredible goalscoring exploits were fundamental to Tottenham Hotspur winning their first ever FA Cup Final in 1900-01.

And just like his Uncle Sandy was for Spurs, John was a deadly marksman for the Jags, averaging 30 competitive goals per season until the outbreak of World War II ruined everything. He was the top scorer in 1936-37 and 1938-39. John was an expert penalty taker for us, converting 7 out of 7. War even spoiled that too, as the League games (1939-40) were voided, striking 3 from his official record. Somewhat ironically his last game in Thistle colours was in the Victory Cup, where the spoils were shared in the battle of Clachnacuddin. John soon transferred back down to the Ayrshire wilds, landing at Somerset Park in the close season of 1946. On 6 May 1940 John appeared for a British Army side in a 6-2 defeat to an East of Scotland XI in a Red Cross benefit match at Tynecastle.

He married Andrewina Johnstone and was a construction foreman. His premature death in 1961 was due to a blood clot.

John made 153 Thistle appearances between March 1936 and April 1946 scoring a magical 100 goals.

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WISEMAN, WILLIE

Served in both WWI & WWII. See entry in the WWI section above.

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YOUNGER, ALEX

Alex Younger was a centre forward signed from Thornton Hibernian in the summer of 1939. He got his initial first team start against Hamilton Academical in a Regional League Western Division match in November 1939. The Jags lost the away fixture. Alex played on 10 occasions that season (1939-40). He scored in the 4-2 Regional League Western Division match against Celtic at Firhill on 9 December 1939. The Thistle support in the 3,500 crowd were thrilled to see Peter Ma Ba McKennan back in the team, and Peter did please them with a goal. Alex scored the 3rd goal that day. Alex played on 17 occasions the following season, but his appearances fell to 2 in 1941-42, and then nothing till single appearances in 1944-45 and 1945-46. War service had interrupted his career. He scored 17 goals in 31 Thistle appearances. He did play 2 representative matches for the military, firstly on 14 December 1940 he appeared for an Army XI who were beaten 4-2 by an SFA Select at Starks’ Park Kirkcaldy. He was on the winning side when East Anti-Aircraft Units beat West Anti-Aircraft Units 6-1 at Dens Park Dundee on 13 September 1941.


Biographies for above WWI & WWII players can be found in the players profile page on the Archive by clicking on any of their names or pictures. Some of the bios contain more detail than shown above.

Full biographies for some of the Jags Scotland international players up to 1939 can be found in Andy Mitchell’s book “The Men who made Scotland 1872 – 1939”. The players are: Wattie Aitkenhead; Tom Hyslop; Jimmy Galt; Kenny Campbell; Joe Harris; Alex McSpadyen; Bill Shankly.

Full biographies for the following players are included in “Partick Thistle Legends” by Niall Kennedy & Tom Hosie: Hugh Brown; Stewart Calderwood; Kenny Campbell; Tom Crichton; Joe Harris; Bobby Henderson; Johnny Houston; Tommy Ledgerwood; Johnny MacKenzie; Peter McKennan; Alex McSpadyen; George Sutherland.

THE POST WAR PERIOD

The post war period was again difficult. War had sucked the energy out of the UK, and rationing continued for some time. There is a view that it took around a decade for things to return to normal. Players like Peter McKennan had lost a good part of their career to military and commercial service, but Ma Ba' returned from war and it was Firhill that was calling him home. Thistle were victors in the Summer Cup in 1945, beating Hibernian 2-0 in the Hampden final. Jackie Johnson got a brace. The crowds came back to Firhill, as service personnel were demobbed and returned home.
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The late 1940s saw Willie Sharp continue his prolific scoring streak. Jackie Husband went on and on and on. New players came in; Jimmy Davidson, Willie Hewitt, Davy Mathie and Jimmy Walker being examples. Firhill attracted large crowds, with goalkeeper Tommy Ledgerwood and forward Johnny MacKenzie made their first Jags appearances. Throughout the 40s and 50s, Thistle were more often than not in the top half of the First Division, this being the Premier League of that period. The difficulties of the war years were a fading memory for many, as they got on with their lives. Heavy industry was in decline. “The Rise and Fall of the British Nation” by David Edgerton (an economic study of the 20th century in the UK) claims “The formation of the Common Market of the six (established by the Treaty of Rome of 1957) was a threat to British interests in Europe, because in many cases it meant higher tariffs against the United Kingdom, because the common external tariff was often higher than the tariffs of particular trading partners. By 1961 there was no serious alternatives to joining the Common Market…

On the football front however, Bob Crampsey in “The Scottish Football League – the first 100 years” takes the view that “The twenty years after the war were perhaps the most competitive in the history of Scottish League Football. In that time the championship would be won by Rangers, Celtic, Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Aberdeen, Dundee and Kilmarnock.

Thistle moved on towards another happy time, the 1971 League Cup Final, but that, as they say, is another story.



Publishing date An original Thistle Archive publication, 10-Nov-2022.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 09-Nov-2022.



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