Larkhall Thistle 0 Renfrew 3 – 18th November 2017

Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Renfrew Super First Division


Thistle went into their first home game for a month with one change from last keek’s win, Andy Brown didn’t make it after a late fitness test so Liam Mushett started at centre half in his place. After a good showing at Kilwinning, a big win in the friendly and a convincing 4-1 win against today’s opponents last week, confidence was high although the teams were operating at opposite ends of the table.



Following the opening exchanges where neither team threatened the other’s goal, Renfrew took the lead in the 14th minute. A corner on the right was sent goalward by Kieron Maxwell and it looked like the ball had been cleared off the line but the dugout side linesman ruled that it had crossed the line and the referee gave the goal.


Thistle dominated the play for the majority of the rest of the half but couldn’t make the breakthrough, their best chances coming from a series of free kicks that either went straight into the wall or over the bar.


Half time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Renfrew 1


Renfrew hadn’t shown a great deal in an attacking sense and so it was something of a surprise when they went further ahead seven minutes after the restart with a pot shot from the edge of the box that was as much a result of poor defending as any great forward play.


Thistle manager Dunky Sinclair made what has become almost a routine substitution after an hour when he took off Gary McStay and brought on his namesake Johnny in his place. Gary hadn’t been at his best but had come close to equalising with a header that had the keeper beaten but just went past the post. Johnny did make a difference with his best showing for a while although like the rest of the team it wasn’t enough on the day. Five minutes later Matty Clarke was the next to come on, replacing captain Mark Canning.


With twenty minutes to go, Renfrew scored a third goal in a passage of play that summed up a miserable day for Thistle. The Jags won a free kick on the edge of the box and Graham Gracie tried to play the ball along the 18 yard line to David Reid but sold him short with a poor pass, the ball was intercepted and hit long out of defence for the Renfrew player to sprint on to from the half way line. As he closed in on goal, Larkhall keeper Johnny Duncan came out to challenge him and was judged to have brought him down. Morton converted the penalty to put the game beyond doubt.




Billy Robb hit the bar with a great drive from 25 yards as the match drew to a close but that was about it. Plenty of effort from everybody but mostly huff and puff without any end product. A dramatic reversal from last week’s impressive win and Brown’s absence can’t be overlooked, the defence isn’t the same without him playing. The result leaves Thistle in the bottom three while Renfrew move up to second in the table.


No real highlights from the game this week so there won’t be a video


Full time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Renfrew 3


Larkhall Thistle:
Duncan; Robb, Mushett, Reynolds; Canning (Clarke 65); Forbes, Innes, Jack, Reid; G McStay (J McStay 60), Gracie. Subs: McKeever, , Doyle, Thomson (GK)


Burgess; Clark, Miller, Lyden, Healy; Gordon, O’Keefe, Cochrane, Benton: Maxwell, Morton. Subs: Barbour, McGuinness, Wylie, McLennan, Brown


Booked: Duncan, Robb, Innes, Gracie, Clarke


MoM: Craig Forbes


Renfrew 1 Larkhall Thistle 4 – 11th November 2017

New Western Park, Renfrew
Renfrew v Larkhall Thistle
West of Scotland Cup 1st Round


Thistle have had a miserable time of it in recent years in the West of Scotland Cup having only a win at Ardeer to show for their efforts and after an idle week in competitive fixtures they were looking to bounce back from their slightly unlucky Scottish Cup exit at Kilwinning. Manager Dunky Sinclair named an unchanged side for the first time this season.


In a change to the advertised programme, the Jags didn’t go two goals down and instead went two goals up, a welcome change that set them up for their best performance and result of the season so far.



Renfrew came out looking very lively and Thistle survived a couple of very early scares before taking a surprise lead in the third minute. A long ball up the park from keeper Johnny Duncan caught the home defence flat footed and Gary McStay nipped in to lob keeper McLeay with a classy finish.


Five minutes later it was 2-0 to the Jags from a move that started with a free kick, the ball was blocked and went out for a throw, when it was played back into the box Craig Forbes was the quickest to react and ran from deep to get to the ball and stick it away.



Larkhall looked fairly comfortable for the rest of the half and although both teams had chances it looked more and more likely as the half went on that they would see it out with the two goal lead intact. Renfrew however produced a goal out of nothing to upset the applecart and change the half time talk, a Jamie Benton cross that gave Johnny Duncan no chance as it dropped in over his head at the back post.


Half time: Renfrew 1 Larkhall Thistle 2


Like the first half, Thistle got off to a flyer in the second with a goal after seven minutes, Graham Gracie ran on to a through ball leaving a couple of home defenders standing before rounding the keeper and rolling the ball into the empty net. The goal effectively won the game for Larkhall as it never looked like Renfrew would recover from going two goals behind again.


The only question left seemed to be how many Thistle would score as they set about destroying the home defence with great interplay between the front three of Gracie McStay and Reid. Chances from Innes, Jack, Gracie and Reid all failed to add to the tally but they kept coming in wave after wave with Renfrew unable to provide much resistance.



Johnny Duncan had a quiet day but was called upon to make one good save as he dived low to his right to keep out a low drive. That was about it for Renfrew though and Gracie completed the scoring four minutes from the end when he outjumped two Renfrew defenders on the half way line and ran clear to smash the ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards.


There was an incredible double let off for Renfrew moments later when Forbes missed a chance to make it five when he was one on one with the keeper then substitute Johnny McStay missed a tap-in from five yards but although the final score could have been seven or eight there were no more goals.



Great performances all over the park today, the defence coped with everything Renfrew threw at it, Forbes and Innes battled hard in midfield, Gracie and Gary McStay linked up well up front and look like they’re developing a real understanding and Reid had his best game for a while, Hopefully the team can keep this form going into the second half of the double-header next week when Renfrew come to Gasworks Park.


Full time: Renfrew 1 Larkhall Thistle 4


Larkhall Thistle:
Duncan; Robb, Brown, Reynolds; Canning; Forbes, Innes, Jack, Reid (Clarke 85); G McStay (J McStay 75), Gracie. Subs: McKeever, Mushett, Doyle, Thomson (GK)


McLeay; Barbour, Miller, Lyden, Healy, McGuinness, Wylie, O’Keefe, Cochrane, Benton, Quinn. Subs: Gordon, Maxwell

Scorer: Innes


Booked: Robb, Reid


MoM: Andy Brown who was almost at his Banks O’ Dee best.


Renfrew v Larkhall Thistle, Central League First Division


Thistle made their first visit to Renfrew’s new ground, another fine old junior stadium gone and replaced by a soulless astroturf community facility on the edge of a retail park. It’s all about survival though and Renfrew have secured their future for a few years at least even though the only familiar thing was the sight of the planes taking off and landing.

Read the match report of Renfrew v Thistle here

Larkhall Thistle v Renfrew, Central League First Division


After no wins in the opening three games, the last thing you would probably want is a visit from the league leaders with a 100% record but that’s what the Jags got today.

Read the match report of Thistle v Renfrew here

Thistle held a minute’s silence in memory of lifelong supporter Tommy Ferguson before today’s game.

Renfrew v Thistle, February 14th 2015


Thistle got back to work on St Valentine’s Day against a Renfrew team which was chasing third spot in the table. The result was the same as the home game with Frew at Gasworks Park but the Jags fans won’t be queueing up to shower referee Mr McTeirnan with red roses after this display.

See full match report of Renfrew v Thistle here

Larkhall Thistle v Renfrew 30th August 2014

Larkhall Thistle v Renfrew 30-08-2014
Thistle’s first league game of the season was a potentially difficult looking tie against Renfrew. The visitors had spent a few seasons in the Superleagues and would be looking to try and bounce straight back.

See full match report of Thistle v Renfrew here