Ye'll No' Believe Who Scored It!

by William Sheridan
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STEPHEN CRAIGAN

Saturday 5th May 2001
SFL Second Division – game 36
Stenhousemuir [h] W4-0

If there was a better professional in Scotland, I've still to see him. Fantastic guy.” ~ John Lambie

In the close season Summer of 2000, the 24 year old Stephen Craigan was freed by Alex McLeish – John Lambie knew an opportunity when he seen one. Ho-ho, thank you very much. Motherwell’s loss was very much Thistle’s gain. After two seasons of faffing around in the third tier, Partick Thistle desperately needed to get out of there. Lambie got busy, assembling a crack squad that could not be beaten. Craigan would be the cornerstone. The steely defender made his competitive debut on the 8th August and ended up starting in every single game from there. How fitting that after giving his all for 39 games consecutively (and 90 minutes every time) he would net his first goal on the very last day of the season. It was the title party day at Firhill - and the Jags were in the mood to celebrate! The BBC reported thus:

Despite being held for the first 45 minutes, Thistle left their fans happy with a storming four-goal second period. With just three minutes gone in the second half, Partick broke the deadlock when a superb run by Peter Lindau carved open the Stenny defence and Paul McGrillen drove the ball into the corner of the net. After 56 minutes Partick added a second when a floated free-kick by David McCallum was headed in by Barry Elliot. And just to prove the gulf between the teams, Partick added two more within 60 seconds. With 69 minutes gone, defender Steve Craigan moved forward to flash a header past goalkeeper Ryan McGurk, and McGrillen finished the rout off with a fourth to set the scene for jubilant celebrations.

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When STEPHEN's goal went in, the warmth around the ground was palpable. As the huge roar subsided, Thistle fans looked at each other knowingly with big grins, nodding heads and clapping hands. The chant soon went up: “One Stephen Craigan, there’s only one Stephen Craigan!” His “taps aff” celebration epitomized the joyous spirit of the much-loved one-goal wonder, and duly serves as the most apt cover-shot for this very feature!

Craigan was pivotal to Jags’ meteoric rise from third to first tier football – and he helped us stay there. He’ll always be well thought of by the Firhill cognoscenti. Partick Thistle and Stephen Craigan had three great seasons together – and thankfully there was a wee goal to show for it!

Publishing date Originally published on 15-Dec-2014 (WAT).
Thistle Archive publishing date Republished here on The Thistle Archive, 16-Dec-2020.
Latest edit date Latest edit version 14-Dec-2020.

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