Jim Thomson played 358 senior games for Queen of the South. The 6 foot 4 herculean central defender was a lead-by-example club captain for many seasons. Thomson was at Queens for some truly magical memories that prior to his arrival Queens fans would barely have believed possible. The summit of his career were a few months in 2008 as part of the best Queens side in decades. Thomson scoring in the Scottish Cup Final already is and always will be one of the iconic images of Queen of the South FC.
Jim Thomson was born in Stirling in 1971. He previously explained of his youth, “One of my dad’s best mates is Jim White, who played full-back for Aberdeen a few years ago. He got me interested in the Dons and I went to a couple of the cup finals at Hampden. I went to the finals in 1982 and 1983 and I was in the Rangers end with an Aberdeen strip. I actually travelled with the Rangers Supporters’ Club. All my pals were Celtic or Rangers fans, so I thought I would go for something different”
Before playing senior football he played with local outfit, Campsie Black Watch. "I`ll always be greatly indebted to the manager, Gerry Marley, who gave me a chance when no one else would.”
Thomson`s first taste of senior football was when he left Black Watch. He joined Clyde in the season the Bully Wee moved into a ground share with Hamilton Accies at Douglas Park, 1991. “The late John Cushley and John Clark signed me for Clyde. However they left after my first season and Alex Smith came in. Alex Smith transformed Clyde into a full-time outfit and we moved to Broadwood in 1994. I would love to meet the person who designed a stadium at the coldest place possible.”
Thomson picked up a winner`s medal with Clyde in winning the 1992/93 Scottish Division 2 title. Clyde were never lower than fourth all season. They hit top spot with eight games to go. With two games of the season remaining Clyde were three points clear at the top (two points for a win). Thus a victory would clinch the title for Thomson and his team mates. Their nearest rivals were Brechin and Stranraer. Both of them won in their attempts to keep some heat on the front runners. Clyde were playing Queen of the South that day (8 May 1993). Clyde`s 3-2 victory at Palmerston meant Thomson clinched his first senior medal a week before his 22nd birthday. He had no idea of course of how important Palmerston would later become to him nor how important he would become to Queens.
Clyde also had a respectable Scottish Cup run that season. After seeing off Queens Park (1-0 away) and Brechin (3-1 at home) they faced Celtic at home. A 0-0 draw took them to a reply at Parkhead where they went out 1-0. Two seasons later Thomson`s side took another top tier side to a replay, Dundee United. However after drawing 0-0 at Tannadice they lost heavily in the replay 5-1. One year later Clyde knocked out Dundee. The next round, "We played Rangers in the Scottish Cup and were winning with 35 minutes left but eventually lost 4-1. We gave them a real fright though."
After five seasons at Clyde next followed a short stint at Stenhousemuir in the second half of 1996. Again there was a creditable cup performance. Stenny were drawn away at Hearts in August in the League Cup. Stenny led through a 42nd minute Adrian Sprott penalty. Neil McCann equalised in 73 minutes. Things finished 1-1 after both normal and extra time. Stenny went out on penalties.
"I`ve had a few injuries in my time. But the fractured cheek bone I suffered at Stenhousemuir was a bad one. And to make matters worse, Iain Ferguson [of Dundee] never even said `sorry`. But that`s football and you just have to get on with it.”
As well as Gerry Marley JT extended his thanks further. "Also to my father who`s supported me throughout my career and to Rowan Alexander who first signed me as a player at Palmerston".
JT arrived at Palmerston on New Year`s Day, 1997. "We had some really good players at that time. Tommy Bryce had a great footballing brain and a vision second to none. He should really have been playing at a much higher level. George Rowe was another excellent player. He wasn`t all that tall but his power and timing in the air and some of the goals he scored were fantastic.”
"There were some real characters as well. Des McKeown could raise a laugh whenever he appeared, whether it be the dressing room or the team coach and David Kennedy (Skip) was one of my best mates and a right character as well.”
"We reached the final of the Challenge Cup in 1997. We were in the Second Division then and beat three First Division sides; Stirling Albion, Airdrie and Morton en route to the final. With over 5,000 Queens` fans in Fir Park that day there was a tremendous atmosphere. Although we lost 1-0 to Falkirk it was a day I`ll never forget. Despite losing to Falkirk it was a great achievement.”
"When I left Palmerston to move to Arbroath it was a sad day for me. I never wanted to go but had to for personal reasons. However, when I was at Gayfield I helped them win promotion so I left on a high note.” Thomson is pictured celebrating in the above photo. Partick were romp away winners of the Division 2 title in Thomson`s second Arbroath season. Arbroath were second with 58 points (three for a win). Also at Arbroath again he took a top tier side to a Scottish Cup replay. Motherwell were held 1-1 at home. However `Well won the replay 2-0. "Arbroath are a great club and they still joke that I cost them a fortune as they had to hire a boat to get the balls back that I put into the North Sea."
"Then John Connolly brought me back to Queens and I`ll be eternally grateful to him for that. He has proved an excellent manager and to win two trophies in six months was exceptional. He knows a good player when he sees one but the team always comes first. And no matter how good you are, if you don`t fit into the team plan, you don`t play. People say never go back as it never works but it worked for me with two trophies in six months."
Thomson`s recollections of his career to that point in 2003 to Bill Goldie: "Winning the League Championship last season was undoubtedly the highlight of my football career. At the start of every season it`s every footballer`s dream to win the league title. And we did it. Winning it with Queens meant much more to me than winning it at Clyde, for I`ve so many friends in Dumfries now and I was so happy for them. That win at Forfar last year to clinch the title was my most memorable match. And coming only seven days after beating Hamilton to ensure promotion made it a week I`ll never forget.”
“Beating Brechin City to win the Challenge Cup was another great day. But I must admit it was a wee bit of an anti-climax compared to winning the Championship. Let`s face it, we had to play 35 games to clinch the title. But we only had to win five games to win the cup. Nevertheless it was still brilliant to lift it. I think the camaraderie in the dressing room played a major role in our success. There`s no cliques and everyone is treated the same. Andy Goram is a real character and just loves his football. Despite all his honours and success on the international front he is just one of the boys. He`s great with the youth players and gives them every encouragement. But he hates losing goals and even at training if someone slots one past him he goes ballistic.”
"I suppose you could say I used to be an inverted Doonhamer. Unlike the story I`ve been told so often of how the name Doonhamer originated; that is Dumfries men last century working all week in Glasgow then coming `Doon Hame` for the weekend. Well I did it the other way round. I actually lived in the central belt and for several years travelled down to Dumfries at weekends to play football. But I`ve never regretted it.”
"I now stay in Dumfries and think I should qualify to be a true Doonhamer. However I`ve no intention of donning that `Doogie Doonhamer` outfit," he joked. "I love the town, I love the people and I love Queen of the South. And the Queens fans are absolutely brilliant. In the words of Tina Turner they`re `Simply the Best`. I`d like to end my career here at Palmerston and, who knows, I might even become a coach once my playing days are over".
Something else that took place in that 2002/03 season was a Scottish Cup 3rd round tie v Aberdeen. Yet again Thomson held top tier opposition to a 0-0 draw in the first leg. In the replay though Derek Young opened the scoring for The Dons. Peter Weatherson`s penalty was little consolation for Queens as Aberdeen with Steve Tosh in midfield scored four. Aberdeen though were to face Thomson and Queens again in future in the Scottish Cup. More on that later.
After the highs of 2003 Queens settled into life in Scotland`s second tier. Thomson was a popular Player of the Year award winner in 2005 [photo above]. Thomson collected the 2006/07 goal of the season for his strike in the 1-0 win v Livi at Almondvale on 23rd Dec 2006. "I don`t score many goals but that must rate as the most spectacular. Most of them have come from headers but this was an overhead kick that Ronaldinho would have been proud of.”
2006/07 produced Queen`s best Scottish Cup run for 30 years often forgotten in the shadow of the season after. With the season that was to follow the 06/07 cup run gave many of the squad some really invaluable experience. In the first QoS game of the 06/07 run a certain Derek Lyle put Dundee ahead in 37 mins at Dens Park. Sean O`Connor equalised in 45 mins for a 1-1 draw to earn what proved to be a cup classic replay at Palmerston.
Stephen Dobbie on that replay: "I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was great to score twice on my home debut and, with a bit of luck, I could have had a hat-trick. The fans really gave both the team and myself a lift and I was pleased to show them what I can really do; score goals. When I came off we were 2-1 up and it was nerve racking sitting in the dug out watching the match from the sidelines. But the lads dug in really well and I was always confident we`d win. At the shoot out we scored four out of five which isn`t a bad average and they were all well struck penalties.”
Queens held that 2-1 lead until the 82nd minute when Bryan Deasley equalised. Sean O`Connor then put Queens ahead in the 86th. A minute later Derek Lyle scored his second of the game for 3-3 and extra time.
Neil Scally, scorer of the clinching penalty against Ludovic Roy in the shoot out, "I said to myself `stay calm`, took a quick glance at the keeper, ran up, gave a wee shimmy and slotted it into Ludo`s left-hand corner. I`m quite used to taking penalties. I took them at Falkirk and at Ayr and I haven`t missed one yet. `Burnsy`, Willie Gibson and Jim Thomson had all scored; Big Jim actually volunteered to take one. So after I found the back of the net we all made a `bee-line` for Barry John who had pulled off two great saves. Even if I had missed I felt sure that BJ would have saved the last one the way he was playing. His stop from wee Del Lyle was brilliant, as Del doesn`t miss many. Under the circumstances I felt BJ gave a tremendous performance.”
Scally: "It was a good all-round team performance. And had there been one [an MoM award] up for grabs that night any one of about four players could have won it. Stephen Dobbie, who scored two goals; big Sean who ran his heart out; Willie Gibson, for his penetrating runs and, of course, BJ himself. But to be honest we shouldn`t have needed a penalty shoot out. In fact we shouldn`t have needed extra time. Three times we were ahead and lost bad goals. We should have had the match all closed up within the 90 minutes. It took me back to the Kilmarnock game in the CIS Cup back in August. Again we could have had in won in normal time but it went to extra time and Steven Naismith nipped in to score the winner".
The keeper who enjoyed his greatest moment in a Queens jersey, Barry John Corr, "I only knew 10 minutes before kick-off that Colin [Scott] was injured and that I was playing. It was all so unexpected that I hadn`t much time to think about it too much.”
Cowdenbeath were seen off 2-0 at home in the next round. Dobbie & Jamie Adams scored. Thus QoS reached the Scottish Cup quarter finals for the first time since 1977. Queens were drawn to play the Hibs side of Scott Brown, Steven Whittaker and Steven Fletcher. David Murphy put Hibs ahead in the 45th minute. John O`Neill equalised three minutes later. A further three minutes later Thomas Sowunmi scored the deciding goal in front of a 6 000 Palmerston crowd.
JT: "When the final whistle blew we were all gutted for we felt we`d done more than enough to merit a draw. Every player fought hard, there were no failures. The fans themselves were again tremendous and got really behind us. Especially in the second half when we were pushing for the equaliser. However we in no way disgraced ourselves.”
John O`Neill also post match: "It was a really hard game against Hibs but an enjoyable one. They`re an excellent team with good movement in midfield. But we didn`t allow them many opportunities to score until that fateful minute just before half time. The crowd was fantastic. It was an amazing atmosphere in the ground and I only wish we could play in front of crowds like that every week. My girlfriend and my wee girl were there and even she said they enjoyed the buzz. We certainly didn`t deserve to lose. After they scored their second goal we pushed forward in numbers but we just couldn`t manage that elusive equaliser".
Of his goal O`Neill said, "Initially I made my way across for a long throw-in but when Jamie McQuilken whipped the ball across I got myself between two defenders and found the bottom corner of the net with a good header. The fans went crazy and I felt 10 feet tall. I hoped it might have been a springboard for victory but it was not to be. They went ahead again with a rather soft goal within three minutes. And although we gave it our best shot the breaks just didn`t go for us.”
"With the new lads coming in we`ve a much stronger squad now and everyone has to work that bit harder to keep their place in the team. I was fortunate to get a start on Saturday, score a goal, and I hope I`ve done enough to justify a place against Gretna.”
Hibs boss John Collins: "I always knew it wouldn`t be easy and I was right. All credit to Queens. They played a lot of good football especially in the second half and fought to the bitter end. The danger time was when they scored. It gave both the team and their fans a lift but we managed to go ahead again. We then defended well as they came back at us late in the game."
Hibs Captain Rob Jones, "They didn`t give us what was expected; it was a good bit more than we expected. You`ve got to give them a massive pat on the back. A lot of credit has to go to them. The way we came back after losing the goal was fantastic but Queen of the South played well".
Hibs scorer David Murphy, "Queens played brilliantly and that always seems to happen. Players from a lower division often manage to find that bit extra when they take on a side from the top flight. We expected a really tough game at an old-fashioned ground with a typical cup tie atmosphere and that`s what we got".
To add to the sporting nature of the contest. Hibs were cheered by the Queens fans as the Hibs bus pulled away from Palmerston.
No one realised at the time that the core of literally Queen’s best side in decades was crystalising. Jamie MacDonald, Jamie McQuilken, Jim Thomson, Stevie Tosh, Paul Burns, Stephen Dobbie and Sean O`Connor all played in that cup run. McQuilken, Tosh and Dobbie already had cup experience at that level. For MacDonald, Thomson, Burns and O`Connor the experience of those games would hold them in very good stead. Those seven players a year later were part of a pick-itself starting eleven. For a few brief months they were worthy of taking on anyone in Scottish football.
As for the Gretna game mentioned by O`Neill that immediately followed the Hibs game... Queen were very much on the up after what had been a second successive very poor start to the season. In contrast were Gretna who had been torturers of Queens as they spent, spent, spent. The Gretna dream though was by now exposed as built on sand and collapsing with the subtlety of an avalanche. Tosh and McQuilken had left Gretna in the Raydale Park mid season transfer window fire sale. Both players were now at Palmerston also bolstered by Dobbie`s arrival and the loan signings of MacDonald, Jamie Adams & Stevie Murray. Queens had taken some real hidings from Gretna earlier that season with Colin McMenamin making goals v QoS his signature. Now though the football boot was on the other foot. This time Queens ran riot with Dobbie hitting two and Eric Paton scoring with a free kick in winning away 3-0.
In Summer 2007 under Davie Rae`s Chairmanship Queens went full time. Going full time wasn`t a straight forward decision for Thomson. "I had my own company and it was a gamble to give it up but I am glad I did."
In that 2007/08 Scottish Cup run the banana skin potential of the trip to Peterhead was dealt with ruthlessly. Queens won 5-0. Another banana skin was the next round visit of an enthusiastic Linlithgow Rose. Queens again handled the situation well winning 4-0. Thomson was on the score sheet. His downward header from a Bob Harris inswinging corner was Queens` second goal.
Next was Morton away. A second half goal from each of O`Connor & John Stewart and Queens were through. Queens then stepped into fantasy territory with the 2-0 quarter final win at home to Dundee.
Ryan McCann: “When I was told it was from 84 yards I couldn`t believe it! It`s my first goal for Queens and I doubt if I`ll ever score a better one. When you hit shots like that they generally finish up shanked or sliced into the stand. I hadn`t even noticed that their `keeper, Craig Samson, was up in our penalty area. I just hit it as hard as I could in the direction of the goal and no one was more surprised than me when it went in."
Ex QoS Manager, Mike Jackson, on McCann`s wonder strike: "The lad has always had something about him. I used to watch him play reserve team football for Celtic and knew that he would make it. It`s all very well folk saying the goal was a one-off. But you`ve still got to hit the target and Ryan got it just right.”
Gordon Chisholm post match: "The first half was a bit uneventful and ruined by the wind but I knew if we could hold them to half time and get the breeze behind us we`d have a good chance. At 1-0 up I was a bit uneasy as anything can happen but I must say Dobbs took his goal well. John Stewart had a chance to clinch it for us but their `keeper pulled off a fine save. Then came that amazing injury time strike from Ryan McCann. It was his first goal for the club and he`ll never score a more important one. Nine times out of ten attempts like that fall short or stick in the mud. But thankfully it made it into the net. I didn`t quite see what actually happened but the Queens fans behind the goal went bonkers and I knew it was in the net. But for Ryan to score from that range was a dream come true. It was slow motion crossing the line.”
Chisholm added later, "It will go down in the Queen of the South history books. It`s 58 years since the club last made it to the semi-finals so we should all take the glory when we can. The wind may have marred the first half and I also felt there was a lot of pressure on players and fans alike. But Stephen Dobbie`s goal was the spark that ignited the game and set it alight. After that the tension lifted, the football became more relaxed and our supporters found their voices. As the minutes ticked by it became more nerve racking but Ryan McCann`s wonder strike from 84 yards capped a great victory. What a way to end a match. It was like something out of Roy of the Rovers.”
Steve Tosh post match: "It was amazing. We knew it was going in the minute it left Ryan`s boot. He is getting some stick about scoring a goal like Beckham`s; but he`s not as good looking as Becks. I don`t understand why keepers go up for things like that because they rarely score. There`s far more chance of a defender scoring. It was no more than we deserved and to win it in such spectacular fashion makes it all the sweeter. It was a scrappy win but we created enough chances to justify the win so we`re happy to be through. We`ll go to Hampden and enjoy ourselves. We`ll go there and give our all and if we win it will be great."
Tosh again: "It`s absolutely fantastic. I`ve spoken all season about trying to lose this image of Queen of the South being a wee team. Hopefully we`ve now done that by reaching the Scottish Cup semi final. Who knows what can happen from here on in? It`s great for the fans. They`re tremendous and we have a hardcore of regulars who go week in, week out. We don`t have thousands but those we do have travel here, there and everywhere through thick and thin. Hopefully they`ll enjoy their big day out and I`m sure they will if we win. I was lucky to get to the Scottish Cup Final with Gretna two years ago. Gretna gave Hearts a good run for their money and it`s all down to what happens on the day."
Dobbie: "I broke my hand in an accidental clash in training on Monday. But we just strapped it up and got on with it. I`m so glad it was all right. There was no way I was missing this kind of game. The first 10 minutes were very tense but we soon settled. Ryan`s late goal overshadowed mine but I was up on my feet in the dugout urging it into the net. As for my goal nine times out of 10 they go over the bar but luckily this time it stayed on target. A lot of the lads have never played at Hampden before so I`m particularly pleased for them. I was in the 2004 CIS Cup Final with Hibs when we lost to Livingston against the odds. But some of the other lads have still to experience playing at Hampden which is something they`ll relish."
Chisholm: "Dobbie is probably the best finisher in the First Division and that goal he scored just summed him up. I couldn`t have asked them for any more. One thing for sure is they won`t let themselves down at Hampden."
Then the lead up to the semi final...
JT: "I`m not nervous at all, but a few of the other boys are maybe feeling it a bit as they have never experienced this amount of press attention. But I think the boys will be very focused in their approach to the game. It`s a big day as most have not played in a semi-final before and it will be a massive day for the supporters. It will be a massive day for myself, because I thought my time had gone with regards to semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. Especially after losing in the quarter-finals last year."
"It`s 58 years since Queens were last in the semi-final so it`s a marvellous achievement. I`ve won Second Division championships and the Challenge Cup. But this is the biggest game of my career. I`ve never even been to the new Hampden. But we are not going there to make up the numbers.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Aberdeen and it makes it more special that my Hampden semi will have them as the opposition. We’ll give Aberdeen a game as long as we turn up and do our business in the right way.”
“I know what this means to everyone in the town. There’s been a buzz since we got past Dundee in the quarters and there are always people coming up and wishing you the best of luck. I still can’t believe we’re in the semi-finals. But this is a club that is building for the future. The first team has done pretty well this season in a tough league. But the club is now focused on developing at other levels as well.”
JT`s comments after the extraordinary 4-3 victory: “We were underdogs but had spirit and tenacity. No one chucked it even when Aberdeen came back a third time. This is a great day for everyone in Dumfries. They shut the whole town down for the day and it will be the same for the final. The gaffer has done a brilliant job and we have the chance of playing in the UEFA Cup now. We displayed tremendous character for usually when a SPL team equalise they go on and win. But Queens don`t lie down for anybody. That shows the character we have. It was a fantastic result and the biggest day of my football career. I must admit I had a tear in my eye when that final whistle blew".
JT later added, "That [semi final] day was just unbelievable, although it wasn`t a good day for defences so maybe didn`t reflect too well on me.”
John Stewart (ex Aberdeen) who scored the fourth from Thomson`s flick on, "You couldn`t have written a script for a game like that; no one would have believed it. To score the winner in a Hampden semi-final was an unforgettable feeling".
Tosh: "I had a wee bit of sympathy for the Aberdeen support but enjoyed our victory. I turn 35 in a couple of week`s time and I`m just thankful the old legs are still going strong. Our dressing-room had a lot of noise coming from it but it was quiet in Aberdeen`s. I take no pleasure in beating my former club but it was all about getting Queens to the final".
Another ex Don, Jamie McQuilken: "People had written us off as a wee team and no hopers. But we`ve gone full-time this season and we`ve loads of experience in the side".
Neil MacFarlane, the fourth ex Aberdeen player who played for Queens that day: "The boss has been to the final before with Dundee United so he`ll know what to expect. He`s masterminded our great cup run and I feel this is an even bigger achievement for him".
McCann: "I could hardly keep track of the score as the goals were flying in during the second half. It was like a game of Pro-Evolution Soccer on the computer as we scored then Aberdeen kept pegging us back. Some of our defending wasn`t all that great at times but we showed no fear and dug in deep. The boys are smiling so much it`s like they`ve got coat-hangers in their mouths".
Chisholm: "It was the kind of match you dream about. It had everything! There were five goals in a 12 minute spell in the second half and the punters certainly got value for money. Everyone is still buzzing and I believe it`s the same in Dumfries. I`m so proud as the spirit of our boys was fantastic. They deserve all the credit that`s going.”
Chisholm: "We have a good balance of youth and experience now. Some of our senior pros like Stevie Tosh, Jamie McQuilken and Neil MacFarlane have played in cup-ties at Hampden before. But what an experience it will be for the likes of Paul Burns and Bob Harris. The whole place will be buzzing as it`s such a big occasion. From my own personal point of view I`d put it on par with the day I led Dundee United out at Hampden as manager in the Scottish Cup final.”
In contrast to the QoS euphoria was Aberdeen Manager, Jimmy Calderwood: "I just hope my players feel as bad as I do. I take nothing away from Queen of the South. But to lose four goals to them was nothing short of disgraceful".
Thomson turned 37 nine days before the 3-2 defeat to Rangers in the final. Of that final he remarked, "Everyone talks about Rangers having played too many games but we had played too few. We had not played for four weeks and Rangers were two up at half-time as we hadn`t turned up."
JT reminisced of that special Saturday & Sunday, "Scoring that equalising goal will live with me forever. I just got in the road of a terrific ball from Bob Harris. For the next ten minutes we had Rangers rocked but they got back into things and won. The whole of the second half made me so proud of all the boys but in the end we fell that wee bit short and it hurt. Sunday itself was just amazing. It`s estimated that about 16,000 turned out for the homecoming and that`s astonishing".
“I Just got in the road of a terrific ball.” What a description of arguably the most famous goal in Queens history and what is likely to be the iconic goal for a generation of QoS fans. That ladies and gentlemen is humility. Yet he later backed this up with further comments on the importance of the team rather than the individual. “I think the final against Rangers was a bit of an anti-climax for us but the memory that will never leave me is hearing the final whistle in the semi. I scored in the final but [the semi] was incredible."
Andy Aitken gives a more accurate assessment of the goal: “Bob’s whipped in an unbelievable ball from the free kick on the right hand side and Jimmy’s rose above three defenders and he’s headed a great goal past [Neil] Alexander. That was one thing with Jimmy. He was unbelievable in the air with attacking the ball. It was an unbelievable header.”
Tosh post cup final: “So that`s that then. In the end we came so close but we just didn`t have enough to go on and beat Rangers. What an amazing journey though. What an experience".
Chief Inspector Mickey Collins: "I was invited up to Hampden by the Match Commander which I deemed a real honour. He was full of praise for both sets of fans and reported no trouble whatsoever. When I got back home I was informed that there had been a lot of good natured celebrations to mark our great performance. But to our knowledge no arrests over the entire weekend. That speaks volumes for Dumfries so well done to you all".
One of the Glasgow police remarked to a fan outside the ground, "I`ve been to dozens of games at Hampden but this is one of the best. It`s been so easy with no trouble whatsoever".
Reporter, Willie Johnston: "The performance especially in the second half was fantastic. And Jim Thomson`s equaliser must rate as my best moment in my 35 years of watching Queen of the South.”
The cherry on the cake of that extraordinary cup run was the parade around Dumfries. JT: "This is really a dream come true. This is an honour and a privilege that I could never have imagined."
After the cup final appearance came entry to the EUFA Cup. Opponents were FC Nordsjælland. JT: "An edge was taken off by moving the [first] game to Airdrie and we went down 2-1 but the whole European experience justified turning full-time."
Chisholm after the return leg in Farum where Queens gave it a real heck of a go: "They are all deflated and disappointed in the dressing room. But they can hold their heads up. They have certainly not embarrassed Scottish football. They could not have given any more and I feel that we should have progressed. We have a young team with 21-22 year olds and they will learn from this. The damage was done in the first game when we lost two bad goals. We played some good stuff and were more than holding our own. Our commitment was fantastic and we could not have made a better start when Bob Harris struck his free kick perfectly."
Chisholm added after his side conceded two late goals in an all or nothing chase for a second away goal: "Our midfield had put so much into it and there were some tired legs. In the second half we had some half chances and maybe with a bit of luck we could have won it. It was a wee bit of desperation and we sent big Jim Thomson up front and they showed their quality by punishing us."
Thomson was given a testimonial v Rangers on 18 July 2010. The visitors won 1-0 in a game in which Rangers` Neil Alexander played half the game in goals for Queens after Roddy McKenzie was seriously injured. Thomson by now was 39 but played the last 10 minutes of the game.
Jamie McAllister: “Great guy, great player. I think he could have played at a higher level. I think he had a few chances to go. When I was at Queens he had a chance to go to Hibs; because he had such a good job he didn’t want to go full time. He wanted to play part time and stay at Queens and work. Great guy, lovely guy, great laugh. Bit of a joker but serious on the park and a great leader and great to play alongside.”
Andy Aitken when interviewed for Queens Legends when asked who the best player was he played beside at QoS: “For me personally its got to be big Jimmy. When I first went to Queens, Jimmy joined in the January. I’d just made my debut but Jimmy took me under his wing. At that point I looked up to Jim and worked really hard, he was great beside at training and he would show me different things. I’ve just so much respect for Jimmy as an individual. And we complimented each other really, really well in our time there together. Aye, for me big Jimmy."
Others to hold Thomson in high regard range from Tommy Bryce to Andrew Coltart.
Since giving up playing Thomson has fulfilled his previously stated idea of going into coaching. He has coached age group teams at QoS as well as assisting with the first team. Along with his wife Victoria his other work with Queens more recently has been the commercial team. Together the Thomsons organised the first ever QoS Hall of Fame event in 2011. JT was one of the original inductees.
JT said after the first Hall of Fame event, “Writing this piece for the official site today makes me rather speechless, the overwhelming support for this event has truly amazed me. From the Queens Trust with their idea and their great sponsorship of the event, all the local businesses whom showed their support in numbers, the individuals who gave up their time to help with all aspects and of course to the supporters who came out in there numbers to attend.”
“I think most will agree with me when I say it was a very emotional evening and for me so fantastic to see these great men awarded for all they contributed to the history of Queen of the South FC. Many thanks to Bruce McKenzie who was a great host and his team at S.W. Audio who made this evening very special with their production. And to Des McKeown for his wit and charm, Queen of the South FC will be making a contribution to MacMillan Cancer Support on behalf of Des for his time.”
“It was great to see so many familiar faces from a range of different eras show up to support the Hall of Fame. With over 40 players past and present turning up for this event it reflects how Queen of the South FC captures your heart!”
Some of JT`s recollections of the best:-
Favourite goal scored: “Scottish Cup Final equaliser and gazing around our National Stadium, seeing so many QoS fans celebrating & believing that we were going to do it!!! 2nd; overhead kick at Livi.”
Best player played alongside at QoS: “Tommy Bryce & Paul Burns. Fantastic naturally gifted footballers and both Queens Legends.”
Best player alongside anywhere: “Same as above. They wore their hearts on their sleeves and gave 100% in every game.”
Best player played against anywhere: “That`s easy. Brian Laudrup. Unbelievable ability.”
To lists some of JT`s achievements:-
* 358 QoS appearances and 12 QoS goals (including 2006 goal of the season). As of May 2016 Thomson is 11th on the all time QoS appearance list
* The only man to captain QoS to a Scottish Cup semi final victory (and one of only 2 men to captain QoS in a Scottish Cup semi final at all)
* One of only two men to Captain QoS to a Scottish Cup quarter final victory
* The only man to captain QoS in a Scottish Cup Final
* One of only two men to score for QoS in a final of the Scottish Cup (Stevie Tosh is obviously the other)
* One of only three men to captain QoS to the Scottish 2nd Division title (or `B` division title as the competition was named when Queens first won it in 1951). All three titles were clinched at Station Park in Forfar
* One of only two men to Captain Queens to victory in the Scottish Challenge Cup Final. Chris Higgins is the other
* Along with Andy Aitken he was one of the first two players to earn four senior medals in Scottish football playing for QoS. Both players collected medals as 1997 Challenge Cup Final runners up, Division 2 Champions in 2003, Challenge Cup winners in 2003, Scottish Cup runners up in 2008. Derek Lyle has since matched this (Lyle done so with four winners medals)
* The only man to Captain QoS in EUFA competition
* The only man to have won a divisional Scottish title with QoS and also to have clinched a Scottish divisional title at Palmerston Park (playing for Clyde in the instance v QoS in 1993)
* The first man to Captain QoS in a live televised game (the 4-3 semi final win v Aberdeen). He also captained Queens in their 2nd and 3rd live televised games (the 3-2 final defeat v Rangers and the EUFA Cup game in Denmark)
* An original inductee into the QoS Hall of Fame in 2011
For the final word, what ex manager John Connolly said who summed up JT perfectly: "I rate Jim Thomson as one of the best signings I`ve made. When he joined us I had no hesitation in making him club captain, for he leads by example and gives 100% effort in every game."
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