The Local Lads – Thistle players from in and around Larkhall – By Hugh Kerr
There have been many local lads past and present who have played for Thistle over the years, here Hugh Kerr shares his recollections of some of the most memorable of them.
I was on gate duty at the last home game against Carluke and was quite surprised by the number of local ex-players who were at the game. Guys like Davy Henderson, big John Hunter and a Thistle legend, Martin Mulhearn. It has been said that the Thistle don’t give local talent an opportunity which set me thinking about locals who had played for the club over the years.
Lets start with goalkeepers;
Fred Craig Fred played with the Jags in 1912 then was keeper at Plymouth Argyle for many years. He was also the Argyle penalty taker.
Tom Coates Not only a top class keeper he was also a fairly good outfield player, once scoring a hat trick at today’s opponents when we had 10 outfield players and 2 keepers. He also played non-league down south and also with the Albert, signing with them because they paid ten bob a week more than the Thistle! Big Coatsie is his son, the quiet man at our games. Sadly Tom is no longer with us.
Guy Montgomery Guy played with us in the early seventies and was our keeper during the epic 3 games with St Rochs, with us finally being defeated 2-1 at neutral Petershill. Guy was only a boy at the time but a very brave and confident keeper.
Alex Morrison It is said goalies need to be daft to play that position and Alex certainly lived up to that theory! He came from Ashgill and was capped for Junior Scotland while at Gasworks Park. He went on to play and manage Darvel, taking them to the Scottish Cup final where they lost 3-0 to Bo’ness. He was also in charge at Hurlford Utd and the Albert.
John Graham John was at the Thistle when he had only turned 16 years old as stand-in for Alex Morrison. I remember once when we were travelling to Forfar West End in the Scottish Morrison turned up for the bus under pressure after night out. Young John then took ill on the way up and was in no state to play, so big Alex played when still badly hungover. The game ended in a 3-3 draw and he had nightmare. Thistle won the replay 6-1.
Matt Preston Matt was also at club during the Morrison reign and was a good competent keeper.
Mitchell McIntosh As well as Mitchell himself, his brother Alex also played with us. Mitch was a big strong brave keeper who had one of his finest displays in the jersey in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup when we beat Linlithgow Rose 3-2 at Linlithgow. The big man was magnificent and at the other end, Alistair Duff of whom a well known reporter at the time for the Citizen – Tommy Workman – said can only score goals, netted a hat trick. The Thistle punters cleaned out the local bookies who were offering odds of something like 6/1 as Rose were odds-on favourites for the cup. What a day in our history. We went out in the next round at Rob Roy.
Graeme Nisbet Nizzy came to us from Stonehouse Violet and soon became a firm favourite at Gasworks park not the tallest but an excellent keeper again very good on his line.
Scott Kelly Over the years we have had quite a few keepers on the small side, Scott played with our Under 19 team and was understudy to Davie McEwan in our promotion year. Again a good shot stopper. Scott stopped playing due to work committments.
Davie McEwan Reinstated to the junior ranks from Dumbarton after also playing with Livingston, Hamiton Accies, Alloa and Clyde. A great shot stopper who marshalls his defence very well. Currently recovering from an operation on his knee after the horrendous late attempt at winning the ball by a Kilwinning player in the Scottish Cup replay in February.
Lee Moss Definitely the smallest goalie ever to play with us, coming in after big Davie’s injury and despite his lack of inches the wee man has never let us down.
John McStay Stylish centre half, famous name in Larkhall.
Willie Lamb Old fashioned full back, still see Willie in Larkhall.
Micky Lyons Again cultured full back, played with us twice. Played in the 1968 cup semi-final team. Still seen about Larkhall.
John Hunter Centre-half. Played in a team that won two trophies at same ground, on Wednesday then the following Saturday. John never misses a game.
Davy Henderson Not the tallest, stays just up from park and seldom misses a game.
Bobby Stillie Centre-half. Played in our famous win at Linlithgow.
John McKerr Also played with John Hunter when we won the two trophies in four days.
Bobby Muir “Teabread” was his nickname as he ran a baker’s van.
John Martin Centre-half. Again with us twice, signed from Fairholm, went to Dundee then returned.
Danny Carroll Old style full-back. Wingers never passed him twice! Sadly no longer with us.
Alex Walker “Big Eck” Solid centre half who was magic in the air. All I need to write about the big man was Ellon Utd. Alex is also no longer with us.
Dougie Bryden I have decided to include the “Larkie lawyer” as a defender for obvious reasons. Dougie was a Jekyll and Hyde at Gasworks Park. He arrived with the bowler hat and briefcase etc but as soon as he put on the jersey he was without doubt one of the hardest players ever seen in the red and white. One story in particular springs to mind. It was a West of Scotland tie against Muirkirk and one guy at the back of the enclosure was giving the big man a real hard time. When Dougie came over to take a throw in, something was said by the guy and to everyone’s amazement Dougie calmly put the ball down, stepped over the wall and landed a great right hook. He then stepped back over the wall, gave his name to the astounded referee and headed for the pavilion.
Tam Anderson Great right back. Came from Stonehouse Violet.