A Day Out In Glasgow’s West End

As you may already know, I have been pretty much stuck in the house for the past month due to illness. I have started to feel better this week and managed this weekend to see my first competitive match of the season.

The game that was chosen was Partick Thistle versus Queen of the South at Firhill in Glasgow’s west end. The game was handpicked by Mr Andrew Hudson from Gannin’ Away as he wanted to see Partick’s new signing Christie Elliot who used to ply his trade for Whitley Bay in the Northern League, which is Andy’s local league.

Come eleven o’clock in the morning I met  up with Andy and his pal Derek at the pub Oran Mor on the corner of Byres Road and Great Western Road. Andy is a great storyteller and he was telling me stories of his trip to Belgium with Danny Last from the wonderful European Football Weekends and Stuart Fuller, the man responsible for the great The Ball Is Round website. It is fair to say Andy was still rough from a late night the night before, himself and Iain MacIntosh enjoyed a night full of beers, spirits and curries, so that plus his early start left Mr Hudson feeling a bit fragile.

Even though we shared a table with a group of models getting ready for a photo shoot, we decided to leave for the Cooper’s bar further up Great Western road and closer to the stadium. We met up with a few Jags fans, two of which I follow on Twitter, Jonathan and Colin (@Jagstwit & @realcolinquinn). These boys were a joy to talk to as we talked about Thistle, Scottish football, Twitter as well as many other topics. After a few drinks we headed off to Firhill for the game.

Well you should know by now I don’t do match reports but I do notice other parts to the day, so here we go.

First off I have not been to Firhill for a few years and my first memories of the Jags involved a team managed by John Lambie and that included players like George Shaw, Gerry Britton and Albert Craig. The current squad managed by Jackie McNamara are not as good to be honest.

The first thing that surprised me was the price of the ticket, £17 for an SFL match seems steep.Yes I could have received a press pass but its not the same as being with the fans.Plus you don’t keep you ticket at the turnstile, as a kid I loved collecting my football tickets. It was a shame that the old Main Stand is no longer used much but with a gate of just over two thousand it doesn’t need to be used. At half-time Andy had a Chicken Curry pie and lets just say he regretted it straight away… A fact I could have told him before he ordered it. They had sold out of the veggie option, a cheesy bean pie, which tells you all you need to know about the students and taxi drivers who all supposedly support Partick. The pie queue was just like Glasgow’s Byres Road, full of interesting people of all ages, sexes and races. There was an elderly gentleman in his suit that looked 40 years old, an overweight white man with ginger dreadlocks who looked like a very fat Mick Hucknell and also a boy who looked like a beach bum complete with a Puyol type perm and in shorts and t-shirt on a wet miserable Glasgow afternoon. Everyone is welcome at Firhill, apart from the referee perhaps.

The game itself was pretty dire and not one to remember but Thistle did however record their first league victory of the season winning 2-1. Both keepers made howlers for the first two goals. Andy was delighted that his local lad Elliot produced the winner, I also pointed out that the Queen of the South keeper Lee Robinson also started his footballing career in the Northern League. Also in the Queens side was Allan Johnston a former Rennes, Rangers and Sunderland player, although now a veteran he still seemed to find space when he wanted it and still had an eye for a good cross. But the standard of play was nowhere near that of the Champions League, Ligue 1 or EPL that Johnston used to play at. The game was full of mis-kicks, poor defensive decisions and slack passes. But the relief felt from the home support after Elliot scored the winner was worth all the tension suffered during the rest of the game. The fact these fans support their side through thick and thin is very admirable.

A couple of my personal highlights included seeing David Moyes brother Kenny. Jonathan pointed him out to me and the similarities between the two brothers are very noticeable. He had a wee notepad and seemed to be writing up notes on players, I know Everton are not a wealthy club in the EPL but come on now!

The other highlight was from a fan a couple of rows behind me. Now it never ceases to amaze me when fans shout things like ‘Face the ball’ or ‘Get onside you!’ there are twenty two players out there and they cannot hear every single general shout. But this man wasn’t even shouting out instructions he was just saying not even shouting ‘Come on Thistle’ every 20 to 30 seconds and in the most unenthusiastic voice ever. It was as if he had polite football tourettes or he was trying to please himself during the game in the most geeky way possible… ‘Come on Thistle…Come on Thistle…Come on Thistle…Come on Thistle…Come on Thistle…Come on Thistle…Come on Thistle…’ was heard around 10,000 times in ninety minutes and it had Andy and myself giggling like schoolboys.

After full time we headed back for a drink at Cooper’s and chat about the game before saying ‘cheerio’ to the Jags boys and heading deeper into the Glasgow’s West End.

We ended up in the famous Ashton Lane drinking at Jinty McGinty’s. During the night I noticed comedian Kevin Bridges was in the pub. He was surrounded by folk all night asking him for photos and autographs, I had previously met Kevin before (you can read that exchange HERE). Whilst I was washing my hands after a trip to the toilet I looked into the mirror and heard ‘Checking yourself out big man?’ It was a drunken Mr Bridges, who then started to chat to me while he pee’d at a urinal. I reminded him of our last meeting down in London which he remembered and then declared ‘I got my hole that night!’ to which I said ‘You are famous pal, you probably get it every night’ before I left, thinking how bizarre my night had become.

Once again it was great to see Andrew Hudson, the man is a top, top bloke full of great funny stories. It was also nice meeting his friend Derek who was so down to earth and a really good laugh. It was also just nice to be out and about again and watching some live football.

My next game?

Well hopefully somewhere in Holland in a two weeks time.

Two of these photos were taken from http://www.ptfc.co.uk/

2 Responses to “A Day Out In Glasgow’s West End”

  1. Got to love Kevin Bridges the guy os awesome.

    Great read btw.

  2. […] Scott Johnston’s report of this match can be read here. […]

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