Larkhall Thistle 1 Neilston 2 – 3rd September 2016

Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Neilston
Central League First Division

Thistle began their home campaign with what looked on paper to be a difficult game, although Neilston finished just above the relegation spots last season they had got off to good start this season with a defeat at Pollok being the only blip in an otherwise 100% record.

Larkhall Thistle v Neilston 3

Thistle got off to a great start after only four minutes when Graham Gracie knocked the ball into the path of David Reid who took a touch and drilled a perfect low drive past the keeper.

The pair linked up well again minutes later to set up a chance for Matty Clarke but he could only blast his shot into the side netting, and although the Jags had the majority of the early play and created some good chances, it always felt that one goal wouldn’t be enough to win the game.

Larkhall Thistle v Neilston 2

The game did indeed turn as the half went on and ten minutes before the interval young David Thomson had to pull off a tremendous save from a point blank header to keep the Jags in front.

The referee came under heavy pressure from the Neilston bench who were screaming for a penalty every time the ball went into the box but he did well to keep his cool and rightly deny the claims.

Larkhall Thistle v Neilston 1

As the half went on though it looked more and more like Thistle should have taken better advantage of their superiority to add more goals and that the visitors would do the inevitable and equalise.

Half time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Neilston 0

The first chance of the second half came after 6 minutes when Gracie played in Reid on the left and he ran 30 yards before shooting wide, Josh Payne then made a couple of great runs down the right and produced two balls into the danger area that Innes and Reid should have done better with.

Unfortunately that was about as far as it went for Thistle on the day and the remaining 25 minutes or so belonged almost entirely to Neilston.

Larkhall Thistle v Neilston 5

The visitors created chance after chance and it looked only a matter of time before they equalised and the goal did come by way of a soft penalty award, converted after 68 minutes by Kennedy.

Hugh Kelly had surprisingly been left out for Paul Burns who was finding it impossible to keep up with the pace of the game and was taken off after an hour to be replaced by new signing Liam Mushett. The less said about the big defender the better too as he was promptly sent packing for advising the referee to go away in less subtle language.

Shug showed in the reaining 18 minutes why he should have been on from the start but with a man down Thistle were facing an uphill task to even salvage a point.

Larkhall Thistle v Neilston 4

Neilston were also reduced to 10 men late in the game when Clark was sent off for a crunching tackle on Ryan Innes but the visitors adapted better to the loss than Thistle and got the winning goal two minutes from time when a cross from the left went over Thomson and Young slid in at the back post to send the ball crashing into the roof of the net.

A great start for Thistle followed by a massive slump when they failed to build on the lead means they lost their chance to stay up with the early leaders in the league. The team is looking more settled now although there is still a bit of a weakness in defence, if Andy Brown was missing they would struggle badly and it looks like only really Hugh Kelly is capable of playing in front of a back three.

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Neilston 2

Website Man of the Match: David Reid had a great first half but faded badly, Andy Brown gets it this week.

Larkhall Thistle:
D. Thomson; Brown, Reynolds, Nicholl; Payne, Canning, Burns (Mushett 60), Innes, Reid; Clarke (Kelly 72), Gracie. Subs: Stewart, McKeever, McStay

Digney; McDade, Geddes, Clark, Young; Stevenson, Docherty, Stoney, Cameron, Kennedy, McLachlan. Payne

Scorer: Reid

Booked: Burns, Nicholl, Kelly

Sent off: Mushett

Neilston v Larkhall Thistle, Central League First Division


There was some late season snow in Neilston as the two teams fought out a tightly contested game with little frills or much to satisfy the purists.

Read the match report of Neilston v Thistle here

Larkhall Thistle v Neilston 16th November 2013

summary1Thistle produced their best performance of the season to come from a goal down and a man down to beat second top Neilston at Gasworks Park today. The desire, commitment and effort of the ten men meant that there was only ever going to be one winner in this keenly contested match.

See full match report of Thistle v Neilston here


Neilston v Larkhall Thistle – Match preview

Neilston were a bit of a mixed bag last season. In our first game with them at the Brig O’ Lea Thistle ran out comfortable 3-1 winners with the home team’s goal only coming late in the game as a consolation. However after parting company with ex-Thistle boss Bobby Crilly the Renfrewshire team’s fortunes had a remarkable turnaround and they finished the season as one of the strongest teams in the league.

The tables were turned in a big way in the corresponding fixture at Larkhall, with Thistle going town to a 4-0 home defeat in one of the worst performances of the season.

Neilston are one of a clutch of teams – including ourselves – who will fancy that they might go one better this season given how tight the league turned out to be last time round and the teams current league standings.

Another hard game in prospect then and hopefully a repeat of Thistle’s result last season.

Neilston Facts and Figures

Nickname The Farmers Boys
Founded 1945
Ground Brig O’ Lea stadium, Main Street,
Manager Robert Fox
Home colours – Red shirts, white shorts
Awat colours – Black shirts, white shorts

Western League Champions 1947
Western League Cup Winners 1947
Renfrewshire Junior Cup Winners – 6 times
Renfrewshire & Dunbartonshire Cup Winners – 1953
Central League ‘C’ Champions – 1971
West Super League Division One winners – 2006
West Premier League Runners-Up – 2003
Sectional League Cup Winners – 1999, 2006

Although Neilston have never won the Scottish Junior Cup, they went very close to winning the Super League Premier division in 2002-2003, only losing to winners Pollok on goal difference.

Neilston’s most famous ex-player was Dixie Deans, who left the club to join Motherwell before playing for Celtic, Luton, Partick Thistle and Scotland. Other notable ex-players include Walter Reid, Jim McAllister, Willie Bell, Tommy McMillan and Peter Weir.

Neilston Playing Squad:
James Digney
Gareth Fulton
Kieran McDade
Kevin Fraser
Robert Campbell
James Lennox
Craig Murphy
Tam Murdoch

Martin Hughes
Andy Gibson
James Canning
Steven Docherty
Andy Essler
Darren Christie

David Adams
Robert Cameron
Derek Kennedy

Ex-Jags winger Andy Essler is on the books of Neilston and is still a handful at this level.