Friendly fixtures arranged

Blackburn United away 16th. July k.o. 2.30pm

Abbey Vale home Sat. 23rd. July k.o. 1pm. NOTE EARLY START.

Darvel home Wednesday  27th. July k.o 7pm

Blairgowrie away Sat. 30th. July k.o. 2.30pm

Bus leaving 11am returning 6.30-7.30pm

Blantyre Vics home Sat. 6th. Aug. k.o. 2pm

league cup starts sat. 13th. aug. no fixtures yet

New Thistle photos

Former Thistle player from the last great Jags team Arthur Whiteside has been in touch and has very kindly contributed three photographs of the team from the 70s.

Arthur says:

“The first one refers to a cup tie we had played against Blantyre Vics trying to reach the quarter-final of the Scottish Junior Cup. We drew 1-1 at Blantyre and 0-0 I think at home in the replay. We tossed up after the game to decide the venue and we won that so the second replay was also at home. We had high expectations of winning that game and indeed we should have, missed many opportunities to score and lost a “soft” goal which turned out to be the winner for Vics. There was one heck of a crowd at that match 2 or 3 thousand I recall.

Great team back then and two goal scoring machines in the Duffs and after 40 years I still have them as friends”

Larkhall Thistle 1975 team photograph Larkhall Thistle 1974 team photograph Larkhall Thistle v Lanark 1974

Pollok 4 Larkhall Thistle 0 – 8th June 2016

Newlandsfield Park, Glasgow
Pollok v Larkhall Thistle
Euroscot Eng Central League Cup semi-final

Thistle were bidding to reach their first cup final since they played Bellshill in the 2001 Sectional League Cup and it looked on paper to be a monumental task, against the Scottish Cup finalists and Superleague Premier Division fifth-place finishers. The Jags lined up with no changes from last week’s win in Rutherglen – although Paul Burns was available and started on the bench.

Pollok v Larkhall Thistle 8th June -3

The game started at a fast pace with both sides looking to get forward but it was Pollok who took the lead with what was the game’s first effort on goal.  A simple cross from the right found Winters unmarked six yards out in the middle of the goal and he swept the ball in with ease.

Thistle had a hopeful penalty claim turned down a minute later when Gracie went down too easily and Pollok went right up the park and nearly doubled their lead with a shot across goal that went just past the post.

Pollok v Larkhall Thistle 8th June -1

Thistle got their first shot away after 13 minutes when Matty Clarke fired wide from a Graham Gracie lay-off and three minutes later Gracie ran on to a return from Brian Jack and sprinted in on goal, only to turn back when closed down rather than try the early shot.

There was no sign of the early pace letting up but the pressure was nearly all in the direction of the Jags goal with only the occasional breakaway providing some relief in the heat. Twenty five minutes into the game Thistle could have considered themselves lucky to still be in the game when Pollok went close after an intricate piece of play.

The Jags however showed they weren’t going to go quietly when David Reid got himself into the game, first forcing keeper Longmuir to scramble the ball off the line, then to get down and make a good reflex save at his near post from a whipped-in shot.

Stewart Thomson in the Jags goal produced a brilliant save 10 minutes before half-time from a curled effort that was struck from the edge of the box – it was the home side’s last chance of the half and Thistle forced a couple of corners just before the interval as they fought hard to get back on level terms but couldn’t capitalise on them.

Half time: Pollok 1 Larkhall Thistle 0

Larkhall began the second half brightly, with early efforts from Scott Nicholl and Reid which were off target, however Jordan Marshall was lucky when a misjudged attempt to beat an opponent on the halfway line left him exposed. The referee saw the tackle as a foul with the Pollok man clear with a run on goal.

Pollok v Larkhall Thistle 8th June -2

As it was in the first half though, it was Pollok who got the early goal. This time it was through Hepburn from an overhead kick eight yards out after the Thistle defence had failed to clear.

Fifteen minutes into the half it was all over for the Jags as Pollok produced the best move of the game.  A ball down the right channel was met and swept across the six yard area leaving McCabe with an easy tap in at the back post for 3-0.

Midway through the second half Thistle won a free kick 25 yards out when Gracie was brought down but his effort was well over the bar. It was a rare break though as Pollok continued to force the game and they went straight up the park and brought out another great save from Thomson.

The keeper looked to be struggling with a knock five minutes later but he stayed on before eventually being replaced by namesake David who managed one excellent save himself.

Pollok v Larkhall Thistle 8th June -4

Substitutes Burns and Doyle replaced Nicholl and Payne after 75 minutes and moments later Gracie combined well with Reid on the left before hitting a shot that the keeper could only parry on to the goal line, unfortunately there was nobody following up for what would have been a certain goal.

With five minutes left Pollok made it 4-0 – a precise curled effort into the top left corner from Monti. Thistle nearly got a late consolation when Reid set up Gracie but his low effort hit the post.

A resolute first half performance by the Jags kept the score down to 1-0 but in truth it could easily have been 4-0 at half time and the final score more or less reflected the gulf between the teams – Pollok were fitter, faster and trickier as could be expected from a team challenging at the top end of the junior game.

Full time: Pollok 4 Larkhall Thistle 0

Booked: Nicholl

Larkhall Thistle: S Thomson; Reynolds, Marshall, Brown, Nicholl; Jack, Innes, Payne, Reid; Gracie, Clarke Subs: D Thomson GK, McKeever, Doyle

Pollok: Longmuir, Hanlon, McCabe, McLennan, Sideserf; MacKenzie, Frye, Bradley, Winters, Hepburn, Winters

Website MoM: Almost as difficult as last week but sadly for the opposite reason, the team never got going as a whole although nobody could have been faulted for effort and commitment. Keeper Stewart Thomson though made several very good saves and couldn’t have been faulted for any of the goals so he gets the final MoM of the season.

Promotion and relegation

The Central First Division will be freshened up next season with five teams leaving the league and five taking their place. Long time stalwarts of the league Carluke Rovers, St Anthony’s and Dunipace have been relegated while Renfrew and Maryhill were promoted.
Their places have been taken by Forth Wanderers, Benburb and Cambuslang Rangers promoted from the Second Division and Greenock and Bellshill Athletic who were relegated from the Superleague.

Congratulations to all the champions Auchinleck Talbot, Cumnock, Renfrew and Forth Wanderers, all four leagues have now been decided.

Congratulations too to Girvan who won the Ayrshire district league having gone unbeaten all season, the only team in the west to have done so.

Rutherglen Glencairn 1 Larkhall Thistle 2 – 1st June 2016

Clyde Gateway Stadium, Rutherglen
Rutherglen Glencairn v Larkhall Thistle
Euroscot Eng Central League Cup

Rutherglen Glengairn 1 Larkhall Thistle 2 - 2

Thistle made their second visit to the Clyde Gateway Stadium in Rutherglen in what might have been their last game of the season. The stadium is probably the pick of the new built junior parks as it at least is a grass playing surface but it does have a slope and the Jags started the game kicking up it.

Only Ryan Innes was missing from what would probably have been the first choice team, Hugh Kelly started in his place in centre midfield. Glencairn had former Thistle player Brian Eadie at left back and it was good to see him back fit and well.

Rutherglen Glengairn 1 Larkhall Thistle 2 - 4

The game started with Glencairn pressing the Jags goal and the first chance of the game came after seven minutes when David Reid sliced the ball high into the air and it was met on the volley, the shot going wide. Larkhall should have taken the lead in 11 minutes when Matty Clarke squared to Brian Jack in acres of space only 8 yards out but he over-deliberated and curled his shot wide. Clarke was involved again when he laid the ball right onto Josh Payne’s head in the same spot but again the chance went begging.

Rutherglen Glengairn 1 Larkhall Thistle 2 - 1

Thistle took the lead in 31 minutes when Graham Gracie latched on to a knock-on and broke free. The striker, on a great scoring run, never looked in danger of missing and slotted easily inside the left post from 10 yards. Just before half time Jack sent Gracie away again and after some nice footwork he played it back to Jacko who again shot wide from the same spot as he had earlier.

Half time: Glencairn 0 Larkhall Thistle 1

Glencairn got off to a quick start and a break in the first minute nearly caught the Thistle defence out, only desperate defending resulting in strong penalty claims prevented the goal. The Jags replied immediately, Payne ran on to a pinpoint lobbed pass from Clarke and played the ball across the box just too close to the keeper for Gracie to reach.

Thistle’s next real attempt at goal came after 62 minutes when Scott Nicholl almost caught the keeper out from a free kick with a cheeky lob and that was followed up by Payne hitting a decent effort across the keeper from the edge of the box.

Rutherglen Glengairn 1 Larkhall Thistle 2 - 5

The Jags had a let-off midway through the half when an attempted clearance came back off the bar, then the Glens No 6 had a great run through the middle with a shot that went just past the post.

Reid picked up another needless booking to cap a disappointing evening for him and could well have got himself sent off for a petulant foul moments later.

Glencairn equalised from a disputed free kick ten minutes from the end, Thomson made a good stop but the rebound was poked home by Dunnachie. It looked like it was game on and with the distinct possibility of penalties looming, Thistle were awarded a penalty for handball that the referee spotted though a clump of players.

Rutherglen Glengairn 1 Larkhall Thistle 2 - 3

Gracie stepped up and coolly rolled the ball into the net to put the Jags back in front. Matty Clarke had a golden opportunity to seal the tie when he got possession with the keeper stranded out of his goal, however he decided not to take the shot on and the chance was lost.

A great win for Thistle that puts them into a semi-final for the first time in a long while, on the back of a long unbeaten end to the season. They will now travel to Pollok in what looks to be a real test but hopefully the Jags can carry on the good work.

Full time: Glencairn 1 Larkhall Thistle 2

Scorer: Gracie 2

Booked: Nicholl, Reid, Clarke, Gracie

S Thomson; Reynolds, Marshall, Brown, Nicholl; Jack, Innes, Payne, Reid; Gracie,  Clarke. Subs: D Thomson (GK), McKeever, Doyle

Website MoM:A very difficult task tonight with seven or eight players at or near their best, the whole defence was excellent and Josh Payne impressed again but Matty Clarke did a great job all night of holding the ball up and playing his team mates in, as well as delivering all Thistle’s best balls in an attacking sense.