Who Put The Ball In The Rangers Net?

by William Sheridan
Top 25




29.09.1906 Rangers [a] W2-1 (SFL First Division - game 8)
Sam Kennedy (1-0, 1st half); Sam Kennedy (2-1, 2nd half)

Sam Kennedy, a plumber from Girvan, had been making headlines with Ayr in the second tier, and got his move to the Thistle in the summer of 1902. Aged 21, he scored on his debut in a 2-1 League win at home to Killie, and never looked back.

Thistle had been a bit of a yo-yo club 'til now, and this battering-ram of a centre played a big part in improving the stature of the club, finishing as top-scorer in each of his first four seasons, and again in his 6th season. Only Willie Paul has finished as top-scorer more often. With Sam leading the line, Thistle's all-time best League positions continued to rise in his first 4 seasons; 8th in 1902-03, 6th= in 1903-04, 5th= in 1904-05 and 5th in 1905-06.

In May, 1905, 2 goals from Sam helped Thistle on their way to a thumping 5-0 win over Rangers in the Quarter Final of the Glasgow Charity Cup - our record win against them which stands to this day. It was, in fact, Thistle's third consecutive competitive win over the Ibrox side, at the time another record for the history books, although it's since been equalled a few times. The one thing missing in all of this fine achievement was a League win. Thistle had now made 14 unsuccesful attempts to gain two SFL points against Rangers. That all changed at Ibrox on Saturday, 29th September, 1906…


On the day, Thistle “moved to better purpose” than their opponents and big Sam headed home a splendid centre by the sprinting John Wilkie, giving the Jags a half-time advantage. In the eyes of the home support, normal service was resumed as a reshuffled Rangers improved in the second half, and the scores were eventually levelled after some time. Much to their chagrin, the lead barely lasted 2 minutes. With bustle and trickery, our hero got away and, shouldering off last-ditch challenges from Campbell and Jackson, beat Newbigging with a rousing shot. It was backs to the wall from thereon as Rangers worked hard to divide the points, but Thistle held on for a famous League win over the light blues – at last!

With this win, Thistle moved to joint 2nd in the table, just 2 points behind the leaders. We were firmly established as a decent top-flight club. In the return fixture at Meadowside in January, Sam became the first Jag to do the League double over Rangers when he put Thistle 1 up in the first half, the match finally ending 2-2.

Sam was troubled by injury much later, and never really made it through to the Firhill era, but we've got a lot to thank him for, not least of which was his final tally of TEN goals against Rangers, all scored in competitive action.

When it comes to to putting the ball in the Rangers net, it's Sam Kennedy who stands proudly today as our King of Kings.

Publishing date Originally published on 21-Dec-2017 (WAT).
Thistle Archive publishing date Republished here on The Thistle Archive, 07-Sep-2020.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 21-Dec-2017.

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