The fourteenth Thistle Pin sees us traipse back 60 years, to an era in which Partick Thistle achieved their highest ever league finish. Cornelius McQuade Duffy, known as Neil, was the key goal threat in 1962-63, when only a spate of winter postponements could get in the way of an historic Jags title push.
Neil's Thistle Story
Neil joined Thistle from East Stirlingshire in 1960, having been signed by then Jags gaffer Willie Thornton. He was put straight into the starting line-up the following afternoon, in a 3-1 victory at Firhill over Hibernian.
It didn’t take long for Duffy to make his mark, and to become a fans’ favourite. His first goal for the Jags came against his future club, St Johnstone, at Muirton Park.
Neil clocked-up an impressive 192 appearances for Thistle in a four season spell.
In that time, Duffy found the net no fewer than 72 times (including 70 competitive goals and 2 in Jimmy Davidson’s testimonial). His goal tally included two hat-tricks, six braces and no penalties.
To amass that number of goals without any spot-kicks (he only ever took one for the Jags) made Neil’s achievements all the more remarkable.
Neil left Firhill in late 1964 to join St Johnstone. He kept his prolific scoring record going there, scoring a further 55 times in a 3-year spell. After retiring from professional football, Duffy emigrated to South Africa, where he lived for several decades before returning to Scotland.
Sadly, Neil passed away in June 2013 at the age of 76, just after Thistle had secured a return to the Scottish top flight. A few years earlier (in 2009), Neil had been inducted into the Thistle Hall of Fame: a fitting recognition for his contribution to (arguably) Thistle’s greatest ever squad.
We are extremely grateful to Neil’s son, also Neil, for working with us to produce a unique Thistle Pin to mark his dad’s career.
The original photograph on which the Pin is based (above), was colourised by Andy the Photo Doctor (who also helped us with the Jackie Husband Pin). We’re sure you’ll agree that both the original and the transformation are iconic.
The Big Freeze
Also among the Duffy family archives were a couple of fantastic photos from that fateful winter of 1962-63, which forced so many postponements and derailed the Thistle title challenge.
We thought we’d share a couple of those photos with you, which showed the lighter side of the beautiful game all those years ago.
Neil was keen to keep active on the Firhill Slopes when there was no scheduled football to speak of, in that cold winter of 1962-63.
How to get a Duffy Pin
Duffy Pins will go on sale tomorrow (Thursday 28th September) at 7pm BST. They will cost £10 each, including P&P.
TJF members will be sent an email with a link to the reservation and payment forms. If you have a friend or family member who isn’t a member yet, they can join here.