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Winter of '63

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About Winter of '63

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  1. I never liked Dick Campbell - I found his couthy Fife miner persona absolutely cringeworthy. I was appalled when he was appointed Manager at Firhill...he was awful with his only "achievement" fluking promotion at Peterhead. I was pleased and relieved when he was eventually dismissed...it was long overdue. Ross County realised they had made a mistake much sooner and sacked Campbell after 3 months when they were top of the League. In fairness, he has a good record over the years with the Angus Clubs and Arbroath's performance last season was remarkable...but any time I heard him interviewed, he came over more like a rambling half-wit than an engaging character. There was a tabloid story some years ago with Campbell joining in enthusiastically in a drunken rendition of the Sash with Rangers fans in a pub. One of the worst features of Scottish Culture is the Rangers/Celtic Punch & Judy Show...anyone who gets involved in that nonsense is just a Dick.
  2. One of the clear flaws in the team this season has been the lack of physical presence in midfield - we have frequently been over-run there, When Mayo played there recently the balance looked better. I think that a midfielder with height, pace and strength would free up Bannigan and Turner to play to their own strengths,,,as would a decent playing surface, full backs who are good going forward, someone to play on the right side and forwards who can hold the ball up. We have several midfield players whose contributions this season have been very limited - Smith, Murray, Crawford, Gordon, Bell - and I am not a big fan of Docherty. I have only seen Sena on streamed games but he seems to be the best fit for the role. I am a bit disappointed that a young player has not been given the chance to see if he was good enough - to be honest he could not have been less effective than most of our midfielders.
  3. I feared all season that this team were not good enough to win promotion...the standard isn't great but I fear we would take some drubbings if we somehow were promoted with this squad. My enthusiasm and belief this season has drained from about the time the pitch didn't - there's hardly been any fluent football played for months. Inverness were the better footballing side...we battled on but lacked creativity. I like Banzo but he was hardly in the game...Sean Welsh was far more influential. Sneddon has lost at least 4 quite dreadful goals this season; our full backs are ok in their own half; Akinola is indecisive; our midfield is unbalanced; Graham is running on empty; we rely too much on Tiffony...none of these are recent flaws,,,we need better players, a better team and a better playing surface for next season...there are not many in the squad I would miss. On the subject of misses...I don't warm to Old Firm loanees and Alegria is an absolute dud.
  4. There was some grass on the pitch and we scored in the first half...but other than that it was the same old story....we ground out another dour 1-0 victory after 90 minutes of head tennis and hoofball, Dunfermline brought a good support but were a poor team...they never really looked like scoring. Tiffony looked off the pace in the first half but I groaned when Crawford was announced as sub and again he contributed almost nothing. Turner had a poor game apart from his assist - was that a mishit corner? Docherty has scored a few vital goals but he lacks composure on the ball and heads the ball on aimlessly far too often. I quite like Jakubiak but he's a hopeless finisher. We do have have a commendable team spirit though but despite us being within a handful of good performances from being promoted, it's difficult to get fully engaged.
  5. Going to games at Firhill has been Groundhog Day for months now - grim wars of attrition on a dreadful playing surface on which quality football is near impossible. The games have had tension but can't disguise we're not really very good. We thrashed some poor sides earlier in the season but I can't remember when I saw us score more than 1 goal in a game...or played fluent passing football. Sneddon is an improved keeper...Mayo and Holt are solid defenders...Bannigan and Tiffony's talent is restricted by the pitch. That's about it for positives. McKenna is a decent defender but doesn't have the skill set going forward...Jakubiak holds the ball up quite well but is up with Azeez & Storey in the unlikely to score category...Graham has scored a lot of goals but is a bit of a plodder...Docherty doesn't contribute enough...Crawfurd always seems to get to where the ball has just been. I'm sure I have said all this numerous times before this season...and with the ball in the air half the time, it would help to have height and strength in midfield...we looked better with Mayo in there. We might still get the play-off spot...but I have always thought that a team finishing fourth in the Championship is nowhere near promotion standard.
  6. The Club's first priority for next season is to have a playing surface which is fit for purpose - I have never really felt like we are good enough to be promoted but the condition of the pitch has effectively killed our chances...and it would be good to see some proper football rather than hoof and head tennis. It's getting difficult to find something new to say other than I thought Mayo strength and height gave a better balance in midfield. Bannigan's ability to play in tight space spaces is impressive; Turner hits a mean dead ball; Smith again ineffective; Murray too lightweight; Crawford must surely be better than he has shown. Maybe allowances should be made for the dreadful state of the pitch before damning the team and individual players. I have definitely not been in the school of thought that it would be great if Arbroath got promoted...that's mainly because I have always thought that that Campbell was a total Dick rather than a "character" - one of our worst ever managers. Arbroath were ok -I thought O'Brien (No.5) looked a decent player - but today just left me frustrated as we wouldn't have had to be that much better than we are to be comfortably in the top two this season.
  7. We continued where we left off on Saturday...a completely drained and disheartened team with nothing to offer. Usually I retain an often nonsensical belief that Thistle will get back in a game but the last two games I have known I was watching inevitable defeats...the players seemed to have the same attitude. We haven't looked remotely like scoring but likely to concede against every attack. Our back four have defended very well all season but they are now uncertain and devoid of confidence with Foster looking like he has shot his bolt. The midfield has been unbalanced and too often outmuscled and overrun - I don't think Docherty does anything particularly well...I have only seen Sena on streamed games but at least he has strength, height and pace although he is not going to improve playing with Alloa. I had not been impressed with Crawford but he was utterly hopeless tonight...despite real competition he was our worst player but astonishingly stayed on for 90 minutes. Bannigan deserves to be playing with better players. Jacubiak's can hold up the ball and it is unfortunate that he and Graham have been out injured...and also poor recruitment Alegria has shown nothing and Murray as sole striker was ludicrous...Smith=ineffective. We have less than nothing coming off the bench - Hendrie again poor and Bell predictably way off the pace. McCall has done well enough to get us in a play-off position but I have never felt this was a promotion winning team. There have been obvious flaws in the team which have not been addressed. Hastie and McAllister seemed good signings but have made zero contribution. However I don't think there is a vast pool of talented players (or managers) out there. There is a worrying lack of direction about the club which two weeks ago was in a strong challenging League position. Our PR Guru Chairwoman has apparently got nothing to say - has she lost interest?
  8. This was one of the most embarrassing days in all the many years I have been going to games at Firhill. Hamilton didn't have to be particularly capable but they had a game plan and determination and won easily. The powderpuff header late on by Docherty from about 20 yards out that bounced gently into the keeper's arms was our only effort on target - I joined in the ironic cheers. I had real concerns when I saw the line-up but I wasn't expecting the catastrophic error from Sneddon or Mayo having a shocker. Akinola's confidence seems to have been shattered since his sending off...Smith and Crawford were again anonymous...Turner lightweight...Docherty poor. However, even worse than the limitations of the players and the recruitment and tactics of the management is the quite deplorable state of the playing surface. It looked like they were playing with a trick weighted football that bounced at strange angles. The attritional games on the mudheap did not make for quality football but I feared that when the pitch dried out it would be bare and rutted and even worse for games as a spectacle. The players can't enjoy playing on that surface and I don't really want to watch games like we saw today. We can't be far away from an official censure for having a pitch which isn't fit for purpose. The Club owe us an explanation...this may cost us the chance of promotion although that might be a blessing as we are nowhere near the standard required for the top League.
  9. I almost expect us now to grind out a 1-0 victory with a late goal. The first half was uninspiring but we stepped up the pace in the second half and deserved the win. Jakubiak is the ideal player for our pitch and team...he has the strength to hold up ball and link up with team-mates...though like Ade Azeez I don't really expect to see him score. Murray has a few decent touches but always seems a bit peripheral to the action...Crawford and Docherty were again not very influential...Turner was a clear improvement when he came on. It was a dreich night - gusty wind, rain and a deplorable playing surface which is not conducive to good football...but this team has a real spirit and determination which still makes it worth going to Firhill
  10. We were marginally the better side in the first half...definitely not in the second. Inverness had several decent chances but we defended well enough to keep yet another clean sheet...and once again we scored a late winner...that's a real credit to the team spirit. I thought Murray offered a bit more than Smith usually does but McKenna was our main attacking threat in the first half which says quite a bit about some of our other players. Docherty had a poor game and I am not sure that Crawford brings much to the side. I was not that impressed with Alegria but thought that Jakubiak's ability to hold on to the ball is a real asset on that pitch. I always thought that Sean Welsh was under-appreciated when he played for us...he still looks an accomplished player particularly in contrast with the endless exchanges of head tennis tonight...just bring the ball down! We are not great but we are determined...failure to make the playoffs would now be a real disappointment
  11. The two glaring concerns this season have been the total absence of a cutting edge apart from Tiffony and the extent we would be hampered by the state of the pitch. Tonight confirmed these concerns. Morton had improved a little from the truly awful side we beat comfortably earlier in the season but were still a poor outfit. The scrambled goal they scored was very much in character as they didn't look remotely likely of crafting a decent chance. McKenna is a decent defender and a willing runner but doesn't carry any threat...he isn't helped by the slow passing and lack of support on the right wing. Crawford did very little; Smith had his usual occasional good touches but again pretty ineffective; Jakubniak held up the ball quite well but isn't a goalscorer; none of the subs impressed - McAllister was disappointing and Turner looked like he was playing in roller skates. I had no great confidence in Graham's just smash it penalty technique. I thought we might have ground out another 1-0 victory but we fell away after that miss. Banzo at least tried to open up their defence but isn't helped by the poor surface and the lack of options in front of him. Maybe we are being too harsh on the players for failing to play good quality football on a mudheap but we are nowhere near the standard of our last promotion-winning side...and I would still be disappointed if we couldn't make a play-off spot.
  12. I have checked my battered old scrapbook for that season and can confirm the scorers were:- Montrose - 60 minutes McQuade - 61 minutes Coulston - 62 minutes Glavin - 70 minutes Montrose - 83 minutes To be honest, I didn't have to check because I remember the goal from Denis - it came straight from the restart after Montrose had gone ahead - a rasper from about 40 yards into the top corner - it rivals his mazy run and shot against Clyde as his best ever. A young Ronnie Glavin took over the striker role from Jimmy Bone for a few weeks - he is probably my favourite ever Thistle player but he definitely never scored a hat-trick that season. Could the Evening Times Report been a misprint - "Glavin slams home number three"...though I have his goal marked as a header! I can't remember much about last Saturday's game though
  13. Disappointing that our pathetic Cup record of the past 40 years continues...but encouraging that we were comfortably the better team. It was an opportunity to finally knock Dundee United out of a Cup...they looked bang average and no better than some of the teams we have played this season - I was astonished to see that they are 4th in the Premier. We just lacked sharpness in the penalty box or the right break of the ball on one of the numerous mad scrambles in front of goal. We passed the ball about quite well and had some good performances all round though Hendrie wasn't that impressive but I suppose he is our 3rd choice left back; Crawford worked hard but is not the solution wide right - they were both at fault for the goal. I am a big fan of Banzo but he hasn't been that influential the last three times I have seen him - I don't think our mudheap pitch plays to his strengths; On the positives, Mayo looks like the exception to a long line of rank Old Firm loanees; and something always looks like it might happen when Tiff gets the ball.
  14. This is a very reasonable point to raise. There have been problems with the pitch for decades - I remember Gordon Strachan nominating Firhill as his least favourite away ground as a player because the surface was so poor. I'm sure work was carried out to improve the drainage in Jim Oliver's time and significant sums were spent on the pitch when we were last in the top League..it hasn't been a long term fix. This has been a mild winter - I would have thought frost would be more likely to cause damage to the pitch. I don't think it has been a particularly wet winter either but games are being postponed as the pitch is waterlogged rather than because it is rutted as a result of the number of games played on it. In past seasons, the pitch was often bare, bumpy and uneven later in the season when it had dried out. The state of the pitch has already had an adverse effect on the quality of play and although our home results have been good, having to play a lot of games on a deteriorating surface will not help our title/play-off challenge. The home game against Raith should also have been postponed - it was quite ridiculous that it was played when the paying spectators could not actually see what was happening...though it was good to just about see the last minute winner. This should be a priority issue for the Board for the future.
  15. Grinding out a hard-fought win...we might have to do that a few times for the rest of the season on a dreadful pitch which is likely to get worse. Ayr were much improved from the awful outfit from earlier in the season...I suspect Morton, Dunfermline and Hamilton will be stronger too. We defended pretty well...Akinola & Mayo are very steady...I have been neutral about Sneddon but he was alert and confident tonight - that's an impressive number of shut-outs. I hope McAllister can add balance and an attacking threat on the right hand side...Turner, Crawford and Smith are decent players but square pegs when playing wide. I know I am biased but there seemed to be a fair number of 50/50 decisions which went in favour of Ayr...and there were also 4 or 5 calls on throw-ins and corners which I was close enough to see were simply wrong...and Tiffony definitely looked to have been barged over inside the box and then clearly pulled back just outside and possibly fouled inside the box...our wait to find out who our penalty taker is apparently dates back to December 2020. And to reference a woeful pop song from years ago, on first impression I'd rather Jak than Zak.