Who Put The Ball In The Rangers Net?

by William Sheridan
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ALEX WRIGHT

10.10.1953 Rangers [n] W2-0 (League Cup Semi Final)
Alex Wright (1-0, 34 mins); Bobby Howitt (2-0, 44 mins)

It was Davie Meiklejohn, in my opinion Thistle's greatest-ever manager, who set Alex on his way. The boss of bosses was canny, and knew exactly what he was doing when he thrust the just-turned-18-year-old Alex Wright into the Thistle team for a hot debut in front of 50,000 at Ibrox in January '49. Jags drew 2-2 that day; Alex wasn't entirely comfortable, but what a way to learn your trade.

Today's featured goal was a biggie - the League Cup semi-final of season 1953-54. Alex, who would eventually rack up 355 appearances for Thistle was, by now, a 22-year-old "seasoned pro", and certainly knew what to expect on these occasions. He played on the inside of Jimmy Walker on the left wing on the day.

With the wind tearing at the Hampden corner flags, the Evening Times reporter was sure that whoever won the toss had one foot in the final. Jimmy McGowan duly did the bizzo and yer man at the Times was proven right!

Shooting towards the “Celtic end” in the first half, Thistle took full advantage of the strong easterly wind, and near to the half-time whistle Bobby Howitt secured a 2 goal advantage. Bobby's had his turn in the countdown though and, besides, Alex Wright's opener was the best of the two goals:

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In 34 minutes, Thistle struck, and a stirring goal it was. From 25 yards, McKenzie at midfield let the ball rip. It crashed on to Niven’s left-hand post and came out to WRIGHT, standing on the penalty spot. Wright brought the ball under control and lost no time releasing the shot. Again the ball hit the post, but on the inside from where it glanced into the net.

Davie Meiklejohn’s Thistle were on their way to their first-ever League Cup final. Meanwhile, over at Tynecastle, East Fife were edging out Hibernian in a five goal thriller. It was to be an unusual League Cup Final this year; Partick Thistle versus East Fife. National glory beckoned for one of the lesser lights…

Like Bobby Howitt, Alex was another Meiklejohn-inspired protégé who went into management, taking the reins at St Mirren, Dunfermline Athletic and Dumbarton, where he was responsible for introducing young Murdo MacLeod into the Scottish football scene. We'll no' hold it against him, eh?

Publishing date Originally published on 08-Dec-2017 (WAT).
Thistle Archive publishing date Republished here on The Thistle Archive, 07-Sep-2020.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 08-Dec-2017.

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