(Post by Russ Stewart from London)
At the dawn of the 70s I was a moderate Partick Thistle fan (and a less than moderate footie player). The school seemed to be awash with Rangers, and to a lesser extent, Celtic fans.
For me it was Firhill for thrills, Johnston’s for rolls and trying to scoff a hot mutton pie during the game, before the fat congealed down your arm like candle grease.
Some young fans wore builders ‘hard hats’ painted in the club colours. Particularly useful when opposing fans threw spent beer cans filled with pish.
During the 71/72 season two magical results rewarded perpetually disappointed Jags fans: a 3-2 win over Rangers in a league game and a 4-1 mauling of Celtic in the league cup. To give some perspective: Celtic were European Cup finalists the previous season, and Rangers were European Cup Winners Cup that season.
During that period at school, I sensed a flowering of support for Thistle. Not sure if it was closet fans openly declaring their allegiance, or glory-hunting Old Firm fans moving their support.
A few years later I encountered some of the players from that era.
In 1979 I had a job interview for an insurance company, the interviewer being Thistle legend Dennis McQuade. I did not get the job and subsequently joined the Royal Hong Kong Police.
Hong Kong seemed to be a magnet for ex-players at the time.
Charlie George the Arsenal legend and Scotland’s 1974 World Cup hero Tommy Hutchison were neighbours at my Kowloon apartment block as was ex-Ger Derek Parlane, who was a personable chap.
Regrettably, Jimmy Bone a favourite of the Thistle loyal, and a regular at my local pub, turned out to be less than charming.
Perhaps the saying ‘ you should never meet your heroes’ rings true after all.
However, what is undeniable, is that nobody can take away that special day in 1971 when the “Maryhill Magyars’ lorded it over our city rivals.