Thomas Paterson [i]
Thomas Paterson [i]
Thomas Paterson [i]
● Thomas Paterson [i], 1883 (OH)

probably born in Scotland

Thomas Paterson was probably born in Scotland, although his place and date of birth remain unknown to us. *

The forward joined Thistle in 1881, having most recently been with Helensburgh.

He made his first known appearance on Saturday, 3rd September, 1881, in a 2-1 friendly win away to Jamestown.

That day, Thomas became a member of our scoring debutant's club.

He scored the last of his 17 known goals on Saturday, 1st November, 1884, in a 5-2 friendly win away to Our Boys Dundee, netting a brace on the day.

He played his last known game for the club on Saturday, 19th September, 1885, in a 6-0 friendly defeat away to Cambuslang, having appeared for the Thistle on at least 41 occasions.

His club-list included Helensburgh, Partick Thistle and Burnley.

We don't know where or when Thomas died. *

* If you can help us to improve any of these marked points on The Thistle Archive, then please do get in touch β†’

Bio Extra

Thomas mainly played as a centre forward, but also featured at inside right on a good many occasions. He played with Helensbugh as the 1870s turned into the 1880s, and it was there he came to some degree of prominence when he was selected by the SFA to represent the Scottish Counties in a match against Birmingham District on 18th January 1979. The Scottish team was confined to the β€œwest country” and featured players from the Ayrshire and Dunbartonshire regions. It was played in three inches of slush at First Hampden in front of just 400 hardy spectators. The Scots triumphed by 7 goals to 1, and the Association later consoled their guests by laying on a hearty tea in the Athole Arms. This would become an annual fixture, and Thomas appeared in the return down South one year later, the Scots again emerging victorious by 3 goals to 2 in front of a mighty 8,000 crowd at the Lower Aston Grounds.

Thomas became a Partick Thistle player in season 1881-82, and scored in his first-known appearance, a 2-1 victory at Jamestown. Perhaps surprisingly, this wasn't enough to secure a place in the team for the Scottish Cup trip to Mavisbank the following week, but Thistle won 3-1 in any case, vindicating the committee's selection. With many teamlines being unreported at this time, we can't be sure of Thomas's immediate progress, but he next appeared in a number of big games in March 1882. On the 4th, a visit from Cowlairs to Jordanvale saw a hard-contested game which Thistle won 2-0 (Thomas again scoring) before preparing for their second successive Yoker Challenge Cup Final – again against the host club Yoker at Holm Park. Brilliantly, Thomas put Thistle ahead in the 15th minute and they never looked back. Andrew Duff (again) took the opportunity to play outfield and was rewarded with a hat-trick as Thistle went on to lift the cup for a second year. Sinclair also added to the final score of 5-0. Almost as if being rewarded, a travelling Thistle party, including Thomas, ventured down south for a friendly jolly at Middlesbrough, doing the club and country proud by their 4 goals to 1 victory.

The new Glasgow Football Association, formed earlier in 1883, had arranged their first match – against London on the 15th December 1883. A trial was arranged at Muir Park between the north and the south of the city. Andrew Duff, John Young and Thomas Paterson were selected from the club, while John Hendry and Jack Beattie were reserves for the trial which the north won 6-1. Thomas, as well as Andrew Duff, impressed the selectors. Both were picked as reserves for the London game, but neither played.

Turning into 1884, the first game of the new year at Muir Park was an eventful one, Cartvale being the visitors. Cartvale took an early lead before Thistle came back into the game. A contemporary report gives a flavour of the game: β€œBeaton, getting well into the corner, screwed it in beautifully, Robertson giving it the final, Patterson [sic] looking after the goalkeeper.” Paterson and Robertson both scored again in the second half before Robertson scored his second. The visitors claimed offside vehemently and their umpire threatened to leave the field if Thistle wouldn’t give in. Before the end Thistle extended the lead without argument with Paterson and Robertson again scoring. Final score 6-2 to Thistle.

The Cartvale game was Thomas Paterson’s return match for Thistle, having spent a short spell in England with Burnley at the tail end of 1883. English clubs were actively looking to sign players from Scotland around this time, the bastions of amateurism were crumbling in England, and it seems likely that he was on trial with the English club. Having narrowly missed out against London recently, Thomas brought honour to the ever-growing Partick Thistle when he was selected to play in Glasgow's next game at Sheffield. 10,000 were at Brammall Lane on 16th February 1884, and bore witness to a fine match won by Glasgow, 2 goals to 1.

In Partick Thistle terms, season 1883-84 typified the effort of the committee to push the club forward. Thistle were at their new Muir Park home and Dumbarton FC, the Scottish Cup holders, took the Partick Thistle challenge for the very first time. Much to the dismay of the huge crowd which had previously gathered in January, the game had to be postponed owing to some sort of mishap with a telegram external-link.png, but the fixture was re-arranged for 22nd March.

The β€œScottish champions” (such as the cup holders were deemed to be in those days) took the lead after just 7 minutes, but Thistle hung on in there, and demonstrated to all in the 4,000 strong throng that they were no strangers to the art and science of the beautiful passing game. Thomas Paterson levelled the scores before the break. Dumbarton pressed hard to maintain their reputation but Andrew Duff kept them at bay with a string of saves, his play being reported as β€œsimply perfect” and β€œoutstanding”. The Thistle did justice to Andrew's work when legend-to-be Bob Robertson (in his first season at the club) scored the winning goal. It was a β€œsurprising result” and one of the most significant in the club's early history. The players had proved a point to themselves, the committee had been rewarded for all their efforts, and the large crowd realised they had a team worth supporting, a club to be proud of.

It had been a good seasson, and all of this attention led to Thomas being included in the SFA's annual for season 1884-85. In their pages dedicated to prominent Glasgow players, Thomas (listed in the annual as both 'Paterson' and 'Patterson' - groan) was described as β€œa good centre forward; passes very unselfishly; has good weight, and plays with great dash. Played against Birmingham in 1879 & 1880, and against Sheffield in 1884.”

Andrew Duff and Thomas Paterson had been missing in the first couple of games, but they were both back in the team for the first big game of the season on 13th September 1884 – a tough Scottish cup tie against Third Lanark at Cathkin Park – along with Beattie, but without regular backs Brown, injured against St Mirren, and Hendry, also injured. Thirds scored within five minutes but an equaliser was forthcoming when the home goalie allowed the ball to slip through his hands after work by Ewing and Miller. The home side then took over and had two goals disallowed as well as scoring two that counted before half-time. Thistle scored another scrambled goal in the second half but the home side held on to win. The Scottish Athletic Journal reported on what they saw as one of β€œthe hardest battles ever fought at Cathkin, Partick Thistle have never played a pluckier or harder game”. However, the Scottish Umpire saw the game differently, and reasoned that β€œif the Partick Thistle forwards had concentrated more on the ball than the man they would have had more success”. Nevertheless, all reports stated that the visiting fans outshouted the home fans and assisted their team greatly.

Thomas's appearances dried up by the autumn of 1885, but he certainly played his part in our story in the first half of the 1880s.


Historian's note: Very occasionally, we've seen this player contradicted in the same game between J. Paterson or T. Paterson (his appearance vs. Birmingham 18 Jan 1879 being one such example) and also his surname being contradicted between Paterson and Patterson. Our profile photograph was published in the Evening Times of 21 May 1913 and listed him as J. Paterson. Since that photograph featured only prominent players we've had to assume that the player was T. Paterson, as we've never heard of any J. Paterson. Of course, it's entirely possible that the player may himself have alternated between J & T, perhaps on the account of a middle name?

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