Our 16th trip was the second shortest journey of the season (our Groundhoppers boffins working in their labs found that the club soon to be known as Lloyds F.C is 0.03 miles less). It was off to the west end of Glasgow on a gorgeous autumnal afternoon for a first division battle between Partick Thistle and Raith Rovers with both sides amongst a cluster of teams competing at the top of the table. It was also our second chance to witness the wonder that is Gregory Tade and boy were we surprised. But more on him later.
Pre-match the three of us all decided to take a chance and go for the pie of the month that was on offer ' The Brunch Pie. A rather bizarre combination of sausage, bacon, potato and chilli bean all washed down with a watery Bovril ' a good hearty Scottish lunch. We took our seats in the Jackie Husband stand where all 2000 or so home fans congregated. Raith supporters who were in fine voice all afternoon occupied the area behind the goals, the opposite side filled merely with a mound of grass and the half time prize car.
The game started at a quick pace and barely relented throughout. It was Raith Rovers who looked the more threatening and Thistle keeper Johnny Tuffey made an excellent parry from John Russell's shot. It was the home side though who took the lead against the run of play after a rare fluent passing move saw Paul Cairney set up veteran striker Simon Donnelly to finish coolly. However a couple of minutes before the break Raith deservedly levelled when Ryan Wallace slammed in from 12 yards.
After the Halloween themed half time festivities Thistle came out with a more attacking intent although chances were few and far between. Donnelly looked to be teeing up a shot in the box when he was well blocked by the Raith defence. Just 5 minutes later Rovers broke away with Tade's shot blocked well by keeper Tuffey but Thistle could not scramble the ball away and Robert Sloan stabbed it home. Thistle pressed hard in the final 20 minutes with substitute Chris Erskine impressing most but in truth they were somewhat toothless up front. In the end Raith saw the game out for a probably deserved 3 points.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the game today was the Partick support who failed to properly rally behind their team as they attempted to claw back the deficit in the closing stages. At one point late on their right back, Paul Paton even mouthed to his own fans that he was not best pleased with the criticism he was receiving. To be fair to the supporters though the lad was having an absolute stinker.
So, Gregory Tade. We were looking forward to seeing the big man again after his comically shambolic showing at Queen of the South but what we saw today was a different player. Dropping back into midfield he worked tirelessly in retaining the ball, distributing some decent passes and even creating 1 or 2 chances. For me he was man of the match and we all agreed that at our visit to Raith later in the season we will hopefully see once and for all who the real Gregory Tade is.
Journey - 5
Pie - 6
Bovril - 5
Ground - 5
Game - 7