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Tom Hogg

Some people have photographic memories about football matches, for example my mate Grant. He can recall the details of games from years ago, including the weather conditions and other information, like whether it was Isaac English’s second or third goal of that particular season and so on.

I’m rubbish at that. I remember only snippets of even the most recent games but can recall incidental, irrelevant stuff, like whether I had a steak bridie at a Scottish Cup tie at Dunfermline. The score, or who our goalkeeper was at the time, are matters that I just simply haven’t retained. So my memory isn’t about football as such.

Many years ago when I first started going to Firhill I was wee enough to get a “lift ower”. For those not old enough to remember, this involved an adult lifting a small child (usually a boy) over the top of the turnstile without paying, in an unauthorised version of Thistle’s current “Kids go Free” scheme. 

It wasn’t unusual for kids from all around Queen’s Cross to get into the match that way. Those boys have probably all grown up into Old Firm fans, since the main focus of their interest wasn’t the football. Instead, they lurked around the edges of the terracing, looking out for semi-inebriated old men (probably a lot younger than I am now) from whom they could obtain an empty ginger bottle or two.

At 8p deposit in the mid 1970s, a tidy sum could be made at Jaconellis cafe with two or three Garvies Pola Cola empties. In some cases, disaster struck when over-excitable weans allowed a bottle to slip, only to see it roll down the concrete terracing and smash, just out of reach, after surviving two or three slow breath-stopping drops while it gathered pace.

Walking home down Firhill St could be depressing after a defeat, with kids at close mouths eating ice cream cones and slugging ginger off the back of our drunk supporters’ largesse. As for the score? I haven’t a clue.

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