On 4th November 1980 Thistle were drawn at home to Cumnock in the second round of the Scottish Junior Cup. Evening Times junior reporter of the day John Traynor quoted Thislte as being one of the fastest rising teams in the junior game at that time and predicted the game should be the most exciting clash of the round.
Cumnock won the game 1-0 with a goal from Bobby Stevenson in the 30th minute, Thistle staged a brave and sprited fightback in the second half but in the end did not have the firepower to get the equaliser. Manager Jackie Stewart faced a tough task to try and lift the team as the big games were coming thick and fast, on the Monday after the cup exit Thistle travelled to Motherwell’s Fir Park to play Shotts in the final of the Langs Supreme Cup.
Saturday 25th October 1980
Langs Supreme Cup Semi Final
Larkhall Thistle 2 Renfrew 1
After being hailed as one of the most improved teams in the Central league, Thistle started to show they were worthy of the accolades when they reached the final of the Langs Supreme Cup. Manager Jackie Stewart – previously with Airdrie and St Johnstone – was in positive mood after the match and now thinks Larkhall can go all the way in the final against Shotts Bon Accord on Monday 24th November at Fir Park, Motherwell.
It was by no means plain sailing for the Jags as they toiled in the early stages of the match to strong pressure from a good Renfrew side. Thistle however had a great chance to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty, John Mulholand stepped up and missed the spot kick leaving the home fans wondering if the were going to rue the miss.
Renfrew continued to press and looked the more likely team to score but it was Larkhall who went in at the interval a goal to the good. John Mulholand attoned for his earlier penalty miss with a screamer from 20 yards to put the home side one up.
Half Time Larkhall Thistle 1 Renfrew 0
The second half continued in the same vein with more pressure from the visitors and Renfrew got the equaliser they surely deserved though a Derek Lea penalty just before the hour mark of the game.
This Thistle team was made of stern stuff however, and rather than deflate them the ‘Frew goal spurred them on to increased efforts and they finished the game the stronger team. In the 77th minute, the Jags got the winning goal through a breathtaking strike by left midfielder Love to win the game in style and book their place in the final.
Full Time Larkhall Thistle 2 Renfrew 1
The final was due to be played on Monday 24th November in Motherwell, but was postponed due to flooding at Fir Park.
Monday 1st December 1980
Langs Supreme Cup Final
Larkhall Thistle 2 Shotts Bon Accord 1
Larkhall Thistle recorded a famous win in this rearranged game at Motherwell’s Fir Park. The Jags put the shock of an early Scottish Cup defeat on Saturday firmly behind them and ran out deserved winners in this fast and furious encounter.
The Jags finally fulfilled their potential when it mattered most. Thistle were the dominant team right from the start and looked determined to put their cup hangover behind them and put on a show. The Jags were winning every challenge in the early exchanges and their superiority led to the opening goal in the 14th minute, Love hammering the ball inside the post with a great strike.
Larkhall continued to take the game to Shotts for the rest of the half and might even have gone further ahead before the interval but had to settle for a single goal lead at the break.
Half Time Larkhall Thistle 1 Shotts Bon Accord 0
Shotts came back into the game in the second half and pressed hard for an equaliser and finally got the breakthough with six minutes left. Bon Accord won a free kick which was swung in by Burns, Hamilton got his head to it first and flicked the ball past Thistle keeper Burns.
Just as most people in the crowd were thinking the game was about to go into extra time, Thistle’s Mulholland charged forward, beating the Shotts defence and also beating keeper Henry for the match winning goal.
Motherwell manager Ally McLeod presented the Man of the Match award to Larkhall Thistle’s Love to cap a great day for him and the Jags.
Full Time Larkhall Thistle 2 Shotts Bon Accord 1