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Lorne Gardner

1971- What A Sensation! 50 years on from the day Partick Thistle shocked the world of football.

1971- What A Sensation! 50 years on from the day Partick Thistle shocked the world of football.

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Published Sept 2021

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The echoing thud heard around Scotland on October 23, 1971 was the shockwave caused by thousands of chins hitting the floor. Such was the reaction when the half-time score from Hampden came through that many who heard it, the vast majority in fact, couldn’t believe it. Partick Thistle 4 Celtic 0. Even the BBC questioned the veracity of the result.

This was a time when the Scottish League Cup final was not shown live as it is today, there were no TV pictures to substantiate the claims and, in fact, an entire fixture card was being played out elsewhere. From Rangers to Aberdeen, Dundee to East Stirling fans heard of the events at the national stadium and wondered if they were going mad.

Somehow, a Partick Thistle team made up of young guns, old hands and part-timers had swept aside Jock Stein’s mighty Celtic. Fifty years on it remains Scottish football’s greatest shock, our game’s JFK moment. They would lose one goal to a young Kenny Dalglish in the second half. But while many expected a Celtic onslaught, Thistle stood firm.

This is the story of that momentous day told by the players who were there, the fans who couldn’t believe their eyes, and members of the media who were left open-mouthed in disbelief. It is the story of a fledgling manager and his inexperienced yet fearless team who somehow managed to pull off the shock of the century.

But it is also a story of the team-work and the team spirit that fuelled them when all had written them off and a togetherness that exists to this day. It is a story which wonderfully encapsulates the true spirit of sport – that on any given day, no matter the odds, David CAN humble Goliath.


  • The book tells the remarkable story of Scottish football’s greatest shock
  • It is told by the players who were there, taking you into the heart of the dressing room 50 years on
  • First hand accounts of the build-up the game
  • And into the hearts and minds of the players as the game unfolded
  • It is the definitive story of a tale that has never been told

About the Author

Lorne Gardner has been a life-long fan of Partick Thistle and has the grey hairs to prove it. After a throw-away comment from a friend reminded him of the historic significance of 2021 to his beloved club, he set out to tell the definitive story of the greatest day in his club’s history. Lorne has been a sports journalist for over 25 years, almost exclusively with the Scottish Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, where he was Head of Sport until Covid turned his life upside down in October 2020. He lives only 15 minutes from Firhill, with his wife Siobhan, sons Joe and Sam and daughter Eve. This is his first book.

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