Firhill – Partick Thistle

29 Apr

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Partick Thistle – 6

Livingston – 1

Scottish League Division 1 – March 23rd 2013

For those who want to know how to run a football Twitter account, they can’t do much better than looking at @ThistleTweet, the official twitter account of Partick Thistle Football Club. Well aware that a fair few Welsh fans would be staying in Glasgow for 24 hours after the game, they began hopping on the hashtag for #WalesAway, asking them not to be impressed by the bright lights of Rangers, but instead to head to Firhill, to see them play.

It wasn’t just hopping on the hashtag, but they were also incredibly helpful, managing to shave a bit of time to lost Welshmen who didn’t know how to head to the ground. A warm welcome was promised, but I was overwhelmed by how warm it was.

I nearly didn’t make it to see The Jags, as the Ibrox ground staff and police both a) didn’t know where Govan Subway stop was and b) were directing me to the incredibly busy Ibrox tube stop. After taking their advice and ignoring it, I loaded up Google Maps to head to Govan – and arrived in St. George’s Cross, eventually arriving at Firhill about 20 minutes before kick off.

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After a swift pint and a chat with the locals, I took my seat in the home end. My first though on Firhill was the amount of work needed to get the ground upto grading if they ever played in the Blue Square North – behind one of the goals was open area – but the atmosphere was great. Lots of songs sung by the Jags faithful, but would the team repay the favour against Livingston, a team who were third in the league going into the game?

In a word, yes.

Much of the early stick was given to the Livingston keeper – Andy McNeil – who had the world’s most ridiculous bobble haircut. The kind of haircut you probably couldn’t get away with in a surburban Glasgow, and he didn’t. Partick Thistle took the lead in the 19th minute when Arron Muirhead thumped away a penalty after Paul Watson handled in the area.

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Steven Craig then doubled the hosts lead after he headed in at the far post from a Sean Welsh cross. The Welsh in Firhill obviously began to have an effect. The atmosphere in the home end was electric, and even the Welsh fans began to learn a few songs. We weren’t the only travellers though – a fair few fans arrived from Amsterdam looking at a flag, and somebody was watching the game from New Zealand. New Zealand! Our efforts seem tame in comparison.

McNeil was to blame for the third goal when James Craigen’s strike bobbled over the keeper in humourous fashion, and Steven Lawless added another goal before half time when he found himself in acres of space in the area. Half time whistle blew, and Partick Thistle were 4-0 up, with Greenock Morton 2-0 down at Cowdenbeath, a chant of “We are top of the league” broke out, which – as a Colwyn Bay fan – I never thought I’d head myself sing in 2013.

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The second half began a little nervy for The Jags, and Livingston got a consolation goal, with Paul Watson scoring from close range, and threatened to get a foothold into the game. These threats were dashed by in my view the man of the match Chris Erskine, who broke past three defenders, and played a one two before cooly slotting in from close range. Kris Doolan then scored an equally good goal when Arron Muirhead’s long range pass found him in the area, and he cooly volley into the back of the net.

Partick Thistle fans then began a change of “Welsh fans, geez a song”, which was duely obliged, and the fans attention turned to keeping warm and making new friends. There was talk of running a bus from Cardiff to Partick Thistle every week now, if that was how they performed with Welsh fans. Overall though, a warm welcome was an understatement. The Jags’ fans are credit to their club, and they were friendly and warm and welcoming. A top club, and I’ve now adopted them as my Scottish team. So much so that I will attempt to watch the game against Queen’s Park in the Ramsden’s Cup Final.

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So yes, it was a very successful trip, and Glasgow was wonderful. I’ve become a Partick Thistle fan, not only for the warm welcome, but their passing on of their knowledge.

As I now know how to get into heaven when I die…

About Rhys Wynne

Rhys Wynne is the editor & creator of You're Supposed To Be At Home. For his sins, he is a Colwyn Bay & Liverpool fan, and a serial blog creator. You can follow Rhys on twitter here.