Who Put The Ball In The Rangers Net?

by William Sheridan
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JOHN BLAIR

16.04.1921 Rangers [n] W1-0 (Scottish Cup Final)
John Blair (1-0, 20 mins)

John was an Ardrossan-born right winger who scored 33 times in his 6 seasons at Firhill, one of which was arguably the most important goal ever scored by a Partick Thistle player – the match winner in a Scottish Cup final!

John had started the season in fine scoring form, with 8 goals before the New Year, but he was on a barren run of 22 games without netting, albeit he had been making worthwhile contributions, notably assisting with the goals which secured Scottish Cup victories over Hibernian, in February, and Motherwell, in March.

If Thistle were to actually WIN this Cup, it certainly wasn’t going to be easy. An unfortunate injury list left us weakened and, so far, we had won only 4 of our 10 matches in the campaign. Rangers were acknowledged as the best team in Britain at this time and were, once again, dominating this season’s League, eventually losing just one of their 42 games. How they craved their first League & Cup double.

Against the run of play, the famous winning goal at Celtic Park was scored in the twentieth minute…

goal.png

40-year-old stand-in Jimmy McMenemy, going for his 7th winners’ medal, was marshal of the day’s operation, nullifying threats and guiding others, and he teed-up a back pass which invited our stand-in spoiler, Watty Borthwick, to uncharacteristically burst forward down the left. Watty shimmied past internationalist Andy Cunningham, and lofted over a deep cross-field pass which was cleverly dummied by Jimmy Kinloch, who had spotted the unmarked run of John Blair, by now, dashing inside from the right wing. Having ghosted in behind the high lying Rangers backs, John was now in with a big chance, and his culminating touch, from some 20 yards out, served justice to a fine move. Thistle’s outside right kept his head at the critical moment, “delivering the parting and successful shot with admirable coolness and judgement”, and the ball nestled just inside the post of the Rangers ‘keeper who, like his defenders, also seemed to be taken by surprise.

From beginning to end, tremendous energy and stamina were displayed by both sides; Thistle were trademark resolute and Rangers were frustrated, although in terms of second half chances, we came closer to increasing our advantage than to losing it.

It tickles me to know that news of Thistle's triumph was received by a great roar at Hampden Park, the good old Queen's Park standites voicing their approval as the final results board went round! ‘twas a popular victory in Scottish football in general, the consensus being that it was for the good of the game that the honours go round.

As for our #2 entrant, he put himself in a great position to have that one shot at glory, and he took it like a champ. John Blair - eternal Partick Thistle legend!

Publishing date Originally published on 24-Dec-2017 (WAT).
Thistle Archive publishing date Republished here on The Thistle Archive, 07-Sep-2020.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 24-Dec-2017.





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