Ye'll No' Believe Who Scored It!

by William Sheridan
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GERRY COLLINS

Saturday 25th February 1989
SFL First Division – game 28
Queen of the South [a] W4-2

In October 1988 Jags were really struggling – second bottom of the First Division and already hopes of promotion had been replaced with a fear of an unthinkable drop into the third tier. Exit stage right, one Billy Lamont. It was under Bobby Watson’s short caretaker reign that the services of Gerry Collins were procured, initially on a loan basis. Hamilton’s 33 year-old centre-half stalwart was identified as the man who could stop the rot – and it turned out to be a right good bit of business. Gerry arrived along with his team mate Jim Kerr. In the third week of October, both defenders made their debut together in 4-1 victory at Palmerston. It was a solid starter. The bold triple-raid on Douglas Park’s treasure chest was completed a month or so later with the acquiring of a new manager - enter stage left, one John Lambie! Gerry had John’s ear – and played a big part in persuading Lambie that there was much more potential at Firhill than at Douglas Park. It was no big surprise when Lambie’s first permanent signing was Gerry Collins. Oh, the skulduggery!

The League recovery, however, was more gradual than the fans’ nerves would have liked. Morale was low and Jim Kerr is on record as saying that, on his arrival in October, he found some of the players’ attitudes to be “shocking”. By February, we were still in the dogfight along with Ally McLeod’s Ayr United, John Clark’s Clyde and Jim Fleeting’s Kilmarnock. Queen of the South were dead and buried already. Jags were getting stronger all the time though, and had recently been boosted by a superb 3-1 Scottish Cup victory away to Premier League St Mirren (what a night that was). The second trip to Palmerston, in February, was the proverbial “must win” and Thistle duly obliged – what a happy hunting ground for Thistle and for Gerry. We came from behind to be leading 2-1 at half-time.

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GERRY’s big moment came midway through the second half, his being the second of two goals in quick succession which put the game to bed at 4-1. It came at the 'away' end at Palmerston i.e. the left hand goal from where we still sit. A Charnley cross from far right side was met by Gerry's head and a chunk of nose from close in. On his backside in the mud, he received his team-mates adulation with some delight! Said Lambie: “We could have won by much more. We hit the bar and post six times”. Jags were now on a run and this would prove to be the third unbeaten game of ten. We could enjoy the last day cigar and watch the drama unfold elsewhere.

When the dust had finally settled, it was Killie who went down with Queen’s. The Rugby Park side’s astonishing 6-0 victory at Palmerston was going to be enough on goals scored until Clyde got a 94th minute penalty clincher giving them a crucial 2 goal victory at home to St Johnstone. Ouch. That must have hurt. We can thank Gerry for the big part he played in helping us to avoid such last-day stress! He was never the most cultured of footballers – but he was a crucial team member who led by example. Gerry gave 100% on the park, and gave the team some backbone just when it needed it most.

Publishing date Originally published on 13-Dec-2014 (WAT).
Thistle Archive publishing date Republished here on The Thistle Archive, 14-Dec-2020.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 14-Dec-2020.

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