Fifty years on – those Thistles still sting!

It’s just occurred to me, looking forward to the Sunday’s 2021 League Cup Final, that it marks 50 years of supporting Celtic as my first ever game was the 1971 LCF – yes, THAT one!!!!

Amazingly, when I left the house that day, it wasn’t with the intention of attending the match. I just happened to be passing the Chapel House of St Flannan’s in my home town of Kirkintilloch with 3 friends just as our Priest, the legendary Fr Mick O’ Connell, was leaving for the game.

“Going to the game boys?”.

“No Father”.

“Would you LIKE to go?”

“YES Father!!!”

And off we went in his big black Daimler!

As we drove along,Father assured us that we were guaranteed to see goals as the team that contested the previous European Cup Final were up against newly promoted Patrick Thistle.

We arrived at Hampden and we were amazed at the number of people milling around. We’d never seen such a crowd in our lives! We approached a large metal gate and Fr announced to a steward that he clearly knew that he had brought 4 orphans along – and in we went!

The ground was a mass of green and white. Well, except for one wee old guy in front of me who was standing with a large bag between his legs containing his carry-out. Judging by his attempts to pin his large yellow and red rosette to his jacket he had already partaken!

The game started and sure enough after 10 mins the first goal duly arrived. Unfortunately, it was at the wrong end! Another arrived five minutes later, this one too at the wrong end!

“Well, they’re making a game of it“ was the general consensus.

However, when a third was conceded in 28mins the laughter turned to frowns of concern as those around me started to question when Celtic had last gone 3 behind and won.

It’s probably a measure of Jock Stein’s status that it wasn’t until a fourth goal was conceded in 37 mins that people started to question whether it had been a good idea to drop Jim Craig for a young Davie Hay due to a midweek indiscretion.

Incidentally, the wee guy in front had thrown his rosette into the air at the first goal and at each subsequent goal so by half time he still hadn’t managed to pin it on to his jacket!

Strangely, apart from a consolidation goal by young Kenny Dalglish (whatever happened to him!) this is just about all I can remember about that day when the 11 year old me was plunged into a lifetime of supporting Celtic. I can’t remember the journey home or even if I informed my parents that I had been to the match!

My last memory of the day was the sense of disappointment at half time – as many of those around me started to melt away to the solace of a pub declaring loudly that “ it just wasn’t our day”, – with the sickening realisation that my first ever Celtic game was over by half time – and not in a good way!

Over the years I’ve found it quite easy to accept defeat gracefully. When we lost the 1994 final to Raith Rovers I stayed on to see them presented with the trophy. I was one of many who applauded PSG off the park when they beat Celtic 3-0 in Europe the following year and I even stayed behind in Seville to cheer our team up the tunnel – although I’m pretty sure i booed Deco!

I put this attitude largely down to my Celtic debut as it was a painful lesson that in football nothing is certain.

In a strange quirk of fate in what I consider as kismet when I took my kids to their first ever Celtic game in 2000 it was the night “super Caley went ballistic!” Bloody Thistles again!

I’m confident of a victory on Sunday. I’ll be disappointed if we lose but I’ll accept it manfully. I’ll tell you what though, 50 years on – those Thistles still sting!

above by Billybhoy

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Jobo Baldie

Good morning, friends and Happy Cup Final Eve from a beautifully clear skied and consequently frosty EK.

big packy

MORNING ALL and JIM, billybhoy great post and memories, I was also unfortunate enough to be at that thistle game in 71, still cant believe the score even to this day,

Prestonpans bhoys


Very interesting account of that game, thankfully my dad didn’t take me to it!

Apart from one game, against them, Hibs have been shite all season but as your piece points out, the underdog can have their day😱😵

A thing of beauty

Great read this morning. Thanks for telling us about your first Celtic game. I wonder if you felt frightened to go back for fear you might be a jinx!!
It’ll be a hard game tomorrow and I hope no one at Celtic park is underestimating hibs. We’re not good enough for any complacency.


Morning all,


Great memories 👏👏👏

I was also at that PSG game and stayed to applaud them off the park. It was a masterclass that night and one of the best I’ve witnessed.

Can’t say the same about Seville. It was too bloody hot in the Stadium to stay on and god knows how the players coped.

Hope you enjoy your day tomorrow and a Celtic victory.

HH 🍀🍀🍀



Terrific article,and thank you very much. You’ve described almost perfectly a very puzzling day indeed!

I was at the game too,it was my first cup final. It might even have been the first time I’d seen Celtic lose inmy four years of attendance. Still not worked out what happened,though Jinky getting clattered early by Ronnie Glavin goes part way to explaining it.

You never forget your first time? I’ll certainly never forget that one!


Thanks, Billybhoy. I well remember that day.
I was in Girvan with my parents and kid bro and sis, visiting our cousin who attended the St Joseph’s girls’ school there. Walking along the prom, we passed a guy holding a tranny to his ear. “What’s the score, mate?” “Four nil at half time.” My dad, who like me was raging that we had been dragged away on this family duty instead of going to the match, said, “That’ll do.” We were both totally stunned when the man wi’ the tranny told us, “Aye, for Partick.”
Still seared in my memory.
ATOB, we have never been good enough to be complacent.
I got to know Bobby Lawrie, who scored one for the Jags that day, in the late 1990s, and he told me that at half time, Dave MacParland, Thistle’s manager, was shocked that his newly promoted team of part timers were beating the best team in Europe 4-0. He had no idea what to say to them. The players were pinching themselves unsure if they were dreaming. He gave them all a stiff whisky and told them, “Keep it goin’ lads.” Final score, 4-1. That’s what cup football is all about. It was certainly a fairy tale for Thistle that day.
I suppose it was a blessing that we didn’t witness the debacle first hand.

Saltires en Sevilla


Great trip down memory lane with a vivid description … felt like one of the orphans in that Daimler.

Wonderful, wonderful…. despite the result.

Remember quite a few Bhoys at school morphed into Thistle fans then. They did have some decent players too.


The League Cup was a bogey competition for us back then. We reached 14, yes 14, finals on the trot and only won 7 I think. Sack the board!!
The old section format was good, though, and we were drawn in the same section as Rangers several times. (Old Firmism at play, perchance?)
One year, when Celtic Park was getting its new South Stand built, we were drawn in the same section, yet again. Willie Waddell asked for our home sectional match to be played at Hamden since Rangers didn’t want to gain an “unfair advantage” by playing twice at Ibrox. Big Jock said that we’d be ok about that. The first league Derby was at Ibrox too.
Net result was that we beat them 3 times at Ibrox before the end of August. Oh happy days!!



I met Bobby Lawrie a few times too. He lived in Kilwinning and his daughter was a barmaid in my local. Decent fella who really had the day of his life that day!


A wonderful read. I just love these first hand stories from games played long ago. Season 1971/72 was my first season attending the games, but I am quite certain that I was not at Hampden that day. Fair play to the Jags though. That was one of the finest days in their histoy, but not the finest. That came in 1921 when Thistle beat the Huns in the Scottish Cup Final.

As for the Raith Rovers cup final? I was neither up nor down about the result that day. The years of defeat had obviously taken their toll…I do remember feeling sorry for Paul McStay though.

Speaking of first games, how about this. When I had a season ticket in block 406 of the North Stand, I became friends with a group from Belfast. One day, one of the group brought his 5 year old son to Paradise for the very first time. The game? The 5-1 game against the Huns in November 1997. Unbelievably, the wee man’s second game at Celtic Park was the 6-2 game. Lucky or what?

Hail Hail.


Villa game cancelled. Will give their scumbag manager more time to scout Birmingham. For a DJ that he and his lowlife pals can beat unconscious.



Travesty of justice that he got away with that.

Still up for a few beers on the Thursday after Christmas? Maybe Blane Valley,and if it is mobbed we can head for McChuills or The Tollbooth instead.

Gordon64 Jonathon Pie Christmas Cheer


Mick, was that not a daft question? 😂

Mike in Toronto


Nice xmas picture. The little one is growing up fast! She is going to break a few hearts I think, and keep her dad on his toes!


Gordon64 1974–75 Scottish League Cup Final | Hibernian 3–6 Celtic

big packy

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM, bobby just seen your text from last night, FFS bobby I knew it was a joke,😎 you know im no good at texting😎

big packy

BTW, footnote from my post this morning about the 71 final against the thistle, I didnt pay a penny to get in, jimthetim53 lifted me over the turnstile, another true story,😎

Gordon64 1957 League Cup Final 🏆 Celtic 7-1 Rangers


big packy

GORDON , yes when someone asked the time, it was seven past niven, was not at the game, I was only four years old,,another true story


big packy

IF JIM is still watching snooker, im going to get him excommunicated , and no papal blessings for two years, BTT, he will be 80 years old,,another true story😎


big packy

A truck story, used to have to be at salford at 3 in the morning to get my load down to basildon for 8, weejoan god bless her cotton socks, got up at that horrible time in the morning, to make me some toast with bacon grill on it and a flask of coffee, anyhow about 6 in the morning think i was on the M25, my boss phoned me he had been woken up by a car driver who had seen me taking a swig of coffee and a bite on my sandwich, and he noted the number on my truck and phoned my boss, my boss stuart told him to GFH, and he did, another true story,

Billy Bhoy

Thanks for all the feedback guys. Much appreciated.

Lets hope that any wee Tim making his debut tomorrow has a memorable day – for all the right reasons! 🙂



When the smoking ban came in,our company made smoking in company vehicles a firing offence.

I naturally earned the troops,told them not to get caught.

Someone phoned in,my MD mailed me to find out who was driving this particular vehicle at that time.

Problem,as I don’t want a guy sacked for eff all. So I asked the driver,he admitted it,asked if he was in trouble.

Not at all,Ben. I asked you that question without informing you of your rights.

MD was furious,until I pointed out that his policy could cost us a fortune in legal claims. He checked it,no longer a firing offence.

big packy

BOBBY, yes know where your are coming from👍


Good leader Billy Bhoy, unlucky though as you were, that’s a nice tale of your first venture into the Celtic way. So your a kirky bhoy who moved to MOC ?


Wee van bronkhorse isnae as daft as he looks he benched Aribo coz one more yellow and he misses the Celtic game.

And surprise surprise,,,,, (comma comma) they get another penalty, fuxake


Tavpen 🤔 You could have bet your hoose on it

big packy

ASWGL, st ninians Kirkintilloch ,all my croy family on my fathers side went there,another true story


Anyone care to guess the MitB is at Ibrox today ?


Muir or Midden ?

bada bing1

Muir sees a handball today…..

St tams



Mr A Cheating Hun with a whistle


Correct ! You couldn’t make it up

Sol Kitts

There’s no point in us hoping for the Huns to drop points against other teams, the refs won’t let it happen. Whether it’s a dubious penalty, or a convenient red card (or a non-red card if it’s a Sevco player), they will do whatever it takes for their team.
In the unlikely event that a ref fails to deliver the points, one of their colleagues will do everything he can to ensure Celtic don’t close the gap.
The only way we will catch them is to win every game from now to the end of the season.


‘Celtic were leading 1-0 when the Inverness defender Josh Meekings appeared to stop a close-range goalbound header from Griffiths with his hand.

But the referee, Steven McLean, and goal-line assistant Alan Muir, who was five yards away, failed to spot the infringement and Inverness went on to win 3-2’ 🤔

Sol Kitts @ 16.48

You’re bang on the money there. Let the Celtic manager and players concentrate on winning our games. No sense worrying about the Huns. They will always get a wee helping hand from the refereeing ‘fraternity’.

Hail Hail

Prestonpans bhoys

From kerrydale st

So far this season;

1-0 down at St Johnstone, get a pen.

1-0 down home to Hibs, Hibs get a red card.

1-0 down at St Mirren, get a pen.

2-1 down home to Aberdeen, get a pen.

0-0 away at Hibs, get a pen.

0-0 at home to Dundee U, get a pen.

Gordon64 And yet all the officials involved that day continue to be employed by the SFA and cheat at the top level in Scottish football 🤔

Billy Bhoy


Aye, I’m a Kirky bhoy. My Da’s claim to fame was that he was a postie to two Lisbon Lions – Tommy Gemmell and Willie Wallace.

Packy, St Ninians was the only Catholic Secondary school in our area in the seventies. It covered a huge area encompassing Kirky, Twechar, Kilsyth, Croy, Lennoxtown, Milton of Campsie, Bishopbriggs, Auchinairn, Bearden and Milngavie.1700 weans! Its not like that these days.


Billy Bhoy cheers, actually one of the Lions daughter lives in your estate, I’ve done quite a bit of work in there lately.

Prestonpans Bhoys

No worries mate. We’ve always got our beloved board to speak out against corruption in the game. Oh wait…

Hail Hail.

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