You Couldn't Make It Up!

by Jack Little

Thistle's 1-0 defeat of Rangers on 27/10/1894 in the Glasgow cup was so unexpected that it made quite a number of English-based newspapers as well as the Scottish ones - such was Rangers' statute and Thistle's more modest credentials. "Scottish Referee" commented that "If the sensational character of the result awakens the Rangers…to the indifferent character of the play they have been purveying since the season began, it may even prove a blessing in disguise". (Apologies for being better than Rangers on the day!) Echoing another sentiment that would continue to the present day, the "Glasgow Herald" commented that "the result of the match will detract from the interest in the final, as the public were looking forward to a meeting between the Celtic and the Rangers". (Very sorry for getting to the final Glasgow FA!) Sad, but strange to relate, the "Dundee Courier" reported on 30/10 that "In the excitement about Partick Thistle's victory over Rangers on Saturday an old woman, Mrs Baker, was run over by a tram and killed". It is not clear if this was in Glasgow or whether the excitement had spread as far as Dundee. Rangers, doubtless sore after complaining the referee had firstly allowed then disallowed their late "equaliser" (the ball was fisted in), clearly saw their chance to appeal by claiming that Pat Smith the Thistle keeper was ineligible to play. It was widely reported that Thistle had announced that Smith had signed for them on 31/7, had played for Duntocher Harp in a 5-a-side match on 4/8 but had only been registered as a Thistle player on 6 or 7/8 and was therefore eligible to play. Rangers' appeal was heard by the Glasgow FA on 8/11. The "Dundee Advertiser" reported on 9/11 that a large crowd had gathered opposite the Glasgow FA's offices and that they had been told that Rangers' appeal had been upheld. The committee were satisfied Smith had played for Duntocher Harp after he has been signed as a professional by Thistle. The "Lancashire Evening Post" reported on 9/11 that Thistle had given notice to appeal to the SFA and the right to take legal advice, maintaining that Smith's registration had not been properly completed by the crucial date. It was also reported that Thistle refused to participate in the replay that had been ordered. The "Glasgow Herald" reported that witnesses for both clubs had been heard and that Thistle asserted that Smith had played for Irish National Foresters (presumably the opposition) and not Duntocher Harp. Thistle's "appeal against the appeal decision" was thrown out and a second match took place on 10 November with Rangers winning 5-3. However, the "Edinburgh Evening News" reported on 12/11 that Thistle (cannily having waited to see the result of the re-ordered match!) had lodged an appeal with the SFA over the Glasgow FA's decision maintaining that Smith had only received his registration certificate 3 days after the Duntocher Harp match and that if they did not entertain their appeal they would take legal advice. The SFA met on 13/11 and the following day the "Dundee Courier" reported that the committee had declined to interfere with the decisions of an affiliated body (the Glasgow FA.) "Normality" was thus restored, the public got what they wanted - a Celtic v Rangers final. (Celtic won 2-0.)

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Publishing date An original Thistle Archive publication, 07-Sep-2020.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 02-Jun-2020.





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