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.


Ashfield 1 Larkhall Thistle 2 – 15th October 2016

Peugeot Ashfield Stadium, Glasgow
Ashfield v Larkhall Thistle
West of Scotland Cup 1st Round

Thistle went in to the first of two weeks of cup ties with Mark Canning still not recovered from his warm-up injury at Johnstone Burgh, Ryan Innes also out, Liam Mushett (groin injury), David Thomson (knee injury), Craig Rutherford (calf injury) all doubtful and Andy Brown away on honeymoon.

With Innes injured the manager looked to Paul Burns to fill the gap and the level of opposition probably suited his game a bit more, getting time on the ball before he was closed down.

As expected against their struggling lower league opponents, Thistle took control of the early part of the game but their only real attempts at goal were a header from Graham Gracie and a shot from Josh Payne past the post, niether of which really troubled the Ashfield defence. At the other end however Stuart Thomson had to get down well to block with his feet when a goal looked on the cards.

The first half petered out with nothing much more from either side although just before half time Larkhall had a claim for a penalty when a home defender went to ground to block and the ball hit his hand, it would have been a fairly soft award though and there were no real complaints.

Half time: Ashfield 0 Larkhall Thistle 0

Thistle got off to a flyer with a goal a minute into the second half. Scott Nicholl started the move on the left and played a one-two with David Reid then played the ball forward to Gracie who got the break of the ball and chipped the stranded keeper from the edge of the box.

Brian Jack nearly repeated the feat ten minutes later when he hit the woodwork with an even more spectacular attempt at a lob after a knock down from Gracie and Matty Clarke tried yet another chip after being put clear from a ball out of defence from Nicholl but his attempt landed on the roof of the net.


Ashfield got themselves level after 61 minutes when Thomson who had looked a bit jittery, again failed to hold a shot and the striker was left with an easy tap-in. Once again the Jags had failed to hold and build on a lead despite the vast majority of the play and most of the chances. It was nearly even worse when a close-range finish was ruled out for offside and a toe poke from six yards flew over the bar after Thomson had again spilled the ball.

Burns then inexplicably played the ball straight across the back to an Ashfield player who squared inside to his team mate but he shot wide, a real let off for the Jags and they were now under a bit of pressure for the first time in the game. It wasn’t until 15 minutes from time that Thistle threatened again, when Gracie tried to take on the whole defence when a lay-off might have been the better option.

The game looked to be heading towards penalties when Gracie struck again for Thistle with four minutes left. Substitute Connor Stewart got the ball on the right wing and played it inside to big Graham who cut in and hit a low drive from 25 yards that sneaked low inside the post.

As with any cup tie it is all about the result and getting to the next round but Thistle will face much sterner tests than this and will need to start taking their chances if they have any hope of a run in either this cup or the Scottish.

Full time: Ashfield 1 Larkhall Thistle 2

Website man of the match: Graham Gracie took his goals well and Hugh Kelly had a fine battling performance in midfield but as well as his Maradona turn in the box and setting up the first goal, Scott Nicholl was solid in defence so he is this week’s MoM.

Larkhall Thistle:
S. Thomson; Mushett, Reynolds, Nicholl; Kelly, Payne, Jack, Burns, Reid (Stewart 70); Clarke (Rutherford 70), Gracie.

Booked: Gracie, Nicholl, Payne, Kelly

Auchinleck Talbot v Larkhall Thistle, 6th December 2014

Thistle travelled to Ayrshire more in hope than expectation to play a Talbot team that is right at the top of junior football in Scotland. In the end there were positives to take from the performance and a goal to remember from captain Mark Canning.

See full match report of Auchinleck Talbot v Thistle here

Larkhall Thistle v Shotts Bon Accord 1st March 2014

Larkhall Thistle v Shotts Bon Accord
Larkhall Thistle produced a performance of real heart and determination against their higher league rivals today and lost out by the narrowest of margins. The Jags were cheered off the park for their efforts by a crowd who appreciated that every one of them had given everything.

See full match report of Thistle v Shotts here

Larkhall Thistle v Shotts – Game ON

Today’s West of Scotland game between Thistle and Shotts is on, kick off 2:00pm.

This is the last cup competition Thistle are involved in this season, so come along and support the team in their quest for silverware.

Admission prices £4.00 adults and £2.00 concessions.

Larkhall Thistle v Shotts – Game Off

Today’s game with Shotts has been postponed. Thistle were due to play Shotts in the West of Scotland Cup today but Shotts are playing in the Scottish Cup, which takes priority so the game is off. There are no teams in the league available to play as all of them already have games scheduled so no game today.

Next game is Arthurlie away on Saturday 8th February.