Sunday April 7th will probably pass largely unnoticed in the football world as just another Sunday unfortunately. That day there is a National Cup Final taking place. Now i dare say it gets scoffed at by the so-called big clubs (of which arguably there are 40 exceptions !!) but Partick Thistle will play Queen of the South in the Ramsdens Cup Final at the Braidwood Motors Stadium in Livingston in front of a 10,000 sellout crowd.
It will be looked down on by the SPL and some SFL clubs and fans as a “diddy” cup ! So i say to the SPL and SFL clubs and fans who dismiss it, how many cup finals are you playing or attending this season ??? I’m quite sure that even Rangers fans would have liked along with the other SFL fans at the start of the season to have had a cup final to enjoy. In my opinion those who dismiss this cup, well its just sour grapes !!
The press will give their usual half-dozen pages devoted to their beloved “old firm” whilst the final may get a page or 2. And therein lies a problem within the Scottish media. There are 42 senior clubs in Scotland. There are 3 cup competitions at the start of every season. Now lets say Rangers are playing in the final next season, does anybody honestly think there will be a page or 2 ?? This is not a dig at Rangers in any way shape or form but it gives you an example of the lack of coverage that we fans of both finalists expect to get. There will be no souvenir pull-outs, no back page headlines nothing like that. Well im sorry Mr Scottish Media like it or not it is a National Cup Final it may not carry the same prestige but you try telling that to the 10,000 fans on Sunday!
I have never seen my team Partick Thistle in a cup final. The last time the Jags were in one was the year i was born 1971. I had the stories told to me many times from my dad of how the Jags humbled the mighty Celtic in the final 4-1 that day. I have been following and supporting the Jags since my first game in 1974 as a three-year old. I have seen Thistle come close on 3 occasions to reaching the a national Cup Final at Hampden and see us fail every time. Now its my turn!
This season has been a breath of fresh air for all Jags fans. Nearly every fan will tell you that this is the best Thistle team since 1971 and rightly so. The free-flowing, attacking and passing of this team is something I don’t think any Jags fan has seen at Firhill. We have the best home record in the UK (even better than Man Utd !!) and under our new manager the legend that is Alan Archibald, have arrested any fears that some fans and those of a Greenock persuasion had about our away form. Thistle come into this final on an unbeaten run of 12 games of which 10 have been victories, not bad form i would say !!! We have been playing the most attractive football in the division are the highest scorers with 68 and conceded the fewest of 24 all from 30 games. The attacking prowess of Chris “the Maryhill Messi” Erskine along with Steven Craig, Steven Lawless, Kris Doolan is balanced with a defence with an average age of 21 and a solid and exciting midfield including young Stuart Bannigan who is now featuring in the Scotland U21 team and mr dependable club captain Paul Paton. These are indeed exciting times at Firhill.
And so to Sunday, a chance for something that has never been done at Thistle before, a League and Cup double. Now don’t get me wrong im not taking anything for granted, if you’ve followed Thistle for as long as i have you know better not to expect or predict anything !! One thing all fans are in agreement about is the atmosphere around the club and the potential on the pitch as to how far this team can go and what they can achieve. I for one am looking forward to seeing Queen of the South, they have won their league in spectacular fashion scoring a lot of goals and by all accounts playing good football, which should lead to an open and attractive Final. Due to the amount of midweek league fixtures we have had to play recently its only now that Jags fans can now get really excited about sunday, of course some have one eye on Wed 10th April when we play Morton at Firhill in what potentially could be a league decider, but for me im going to enjoy the build up to the final and then concern myself with next Wednesday after the game.
As i say these days don’t come around very often for both cup finalists fans and im sure the Queens fans will be a little more relaxed knowing they have done one half of their double already by winning the league. But i know that from a Jags point of view these players know how close they are to making a bit of their own history and being mentioned in the same breath as Firhill legends like manager Davie McParland, Alan Rough, Alex Rae, Jimmy Bone, Bobby Lawrie etc from 1971, that in itself will provide motivation as well as their chance to win a medal and some silverware.
For us fans its our day out, it might not be Hampden in March or May, but its our Cup Final. I don’t care about the stadium surroundings this is what ive been waiting for all those years a chance to see my team Partick Thistle in a national Cup Final and i for one intend to enjoy every single minute of it all.