Match report: Partick Thistle 4 - 0 Culter

Job done for Partick in this Scottish Cup encounter after their near nightmare at Crombie Park.

What’s more, for Thistle striker Christie Elliott at least it was a case of this unexpected replay providing a moment for the history books as he opened the scoring with a goal that was clocked as arriving a mere 11 seconds after kick-off.

The entire occasion proved to be entirely in keeping with the idiosyncratic traditions of the Maryhill club. It was typical that, hard on the heels of the 40th anniversary of their greatest ever result – the astonishing 4-1 trouncing of Celtic in the 1971 League Cup final – they should contrive to conjure up probably their most embarrassing by being held to a draw by the North Super League Juniors in last weekend’s Scottish Cup third round tie. An ignominious symmetry was complete with those old black and white photographs of Alex Rae, Jimmy Bone, Dennis McQuade et al giving it laldy in the Hampden dressing being more than matched by the ecstatic celebrations of the Culter players which were plastered all over last week’s sports pages.

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Small wonder then that, with that sense of humiliation still almost tangible around Firhill, Thistle started this game with a ferocity that suggested manager Jackie McNamara had taken temporary possession of one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s hairdryers. Blink after match referee Des Roache got the proceedings under way and you would have missed their opener. The ball was fed to Elliott on the edge of the Culter box and he buried it with a venom that smacked of burning determination. With the first five minutes of the game complete, Elliott and Tommy Stewart had actually each managed to miss sitters for the rampant hosts. However, it was already apparent that Thistle were not going to want for scoring opportunities on this particular afternoon and with a two-goal burst just beyond the midway point of the first half, their top scorer Paul Cairney put the tie beyond all doubt for all but the most pessimistic Jags supporters.

Despite such a hugely anti-climatic start and the eventual margin of their defeat, the Aberdeenshire side put in a commendable shift and in no way let themselves or their enthusiastic fans down. Immediately after Elliott’s lightning strike the latter piped up with a tongue in cheek rendition of Can you hear the Partick sing? On field, whilst they did not seriously trouble Scott Fox in the Thistle goal, the visitors still caused a few anxious moments for the hosts before they consolidated their early lead.

Further evidence that Partick had left nothing to chance in their quest to get it right this time was provided by the presence of one Charles “Chic” Charnley in the stadium. The much-adored one-time maverick genius of Firhill looked as gallus as ever but, with the current XI comfortably in control, all that was required of him on this occasion was to carry out the half-time draw.

Apart from probably wishing it was himself who had stylishly lofted the ball over Culter keeper John Farquhar right at the start of the second half, Charnley must have been impressed at the finesse of Chris Erskine’s finish to make it four as Thistle repeated their clobbering start to the game. Thereafter they appeared to come up with a litany of inventive ways not to put the ball in the Culter net as chance after chance went a-begging, but by this stage neither set of supporters was complaining – each had seen their team make its mark.

“To take Partick to a replay was a great achievement for the club”, reflected the proud Culter manager, ex-Jag Andy Gibson, afterwards. “The game plan went out the window at the start today – but for everybody associated with the club it’s been great to come down here”