Who Put The Ball In The Rangers Net?

by William Sheridan
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GEORGE SMITH

03.01.1959 Rangers [h] W2-0 (SFL First Division - game 20)
George Smith (1-0, 31 mins); George Smith (2-0, 76 mins)

With the games at Celtic Park and Cathkin Park having been postponed late on the day, Firhill was overwhelmed by some 40,000 paying customers, forcing the gates to be closed 20 minutes after the kick-off. So dense was the gathering inside, that hundreds of supporters spilled out over the 6ft retaining wall onto the turf, some waving white hankies of distress, and most of them being permitted to squat there for the duration of the match. A number of brave dafties climbed onto the roof of the Shed for a view, but were ordered down by the police. Press reporters were indignant at the encroachment of their box by punters, and not a few scribes were ousted from their seats. Scores of supporters gathered outside the main stand at half-time, demanding their money back. I cheekily speculate that their bar scarves were of the red, white & blue variety, and that they were unhappy with the goal-less performance of their team!

In all seriousness, the mind really does boggle at what was an entirely different world back then. The Firhill playing surface was described as completely frozen and heavily sanded. Health and safety? Aye, nae bother. Jannies and sawdust. Sorted!

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Any personal discomfort amongst the Firhill faithful might have been forgotten on the half-hour mark. “A tremendous roar echoed across Maryhill” as Firhill erupted in response to a glorious goal from George Smith. Thistle’s goal scoring machine was fed a clever lob from Davie McParland, and he gratefully smashed it first-time from 18 yards, the ball flying knee-high, like a bullet from a gun, straight into the Rangers net.

Geroge’s glory-day was completed 14 minutes from the close when another one of his rocket-shots made all of the day’s hassle worthwhile for those of a Jaggy persuasion and, by all accounts, it was a thoroughly deserved victory.

He was no stranger to such glory days, and is immortalized as the “scourge of the Celts” with a mighty 17 goals for Thistle to his credit. In total, 6 goals were scored against the Gers. Not too shabby Geordie.

Publishing date Originally published on 12-Dec-2017 (WAT).
Thistle Archive publishing date Republished here on The Thistle Archive, 07-Sep-2020.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 12-Dec-2017.





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