Scotland: On this day in history on Sunday, 15 May 1994, in front of almost 9,000 football spectators, Largs Thistle Football Club won the Scottish Junior Cup at Ibrox Park, Glasgow, against hot favourites Glenafton Athletic, 1-0, with the winning goal being scored by Pat McCurdy.
The winning team consisted of Kenny Barnstaple, Frank Morrison, Andy Elliot, Barclay Feeney, Jimmy Murray, David Elliot, Adam Russell, Alan Rodgers, Pat McCurdy, Archie Halley and Stephen Quigg. The substitutes were Stephen Phairs and George Wall. The team wore their brand new black and gold football strip with Fry-Fare emblazoned across them, presented by their sponsor Giancarlo Bertozzi, owner of the Fry-Fare Restaurant in Nelson Street, Largs.
The pubs organised buses in Largs to transport the club’s supporters to Ibrox Park. Organisations such as the Boys Brigade and the Largs Golf Club also arranged buses. On the day of the match, The Smugglers Bar and Flannigan’s Bar organised face-painting events in the club colours from noon until the buses left at 1.15 pm. Flannigan’s Bar sold over 1,000 specially printed helium balloons at £1 each, with the proceeds being donated to Largs Thistle.
Around 20 buses left Largs with supporters, plus additional buses left from Cumbrae, Skelmorlie, Fairlie, West Kilbride, Kilbirnie and Greenock. The Largs shops draped their windows in the new team colours of black and gold, and football paraphernalia was sold throughout the town.
At Ibrox Park, Largs Thistle was given the Rangers dressing room, although their supporters were seated at the Celtic end of the field. STV televised the football game. The team were led onto the Ibrox football field by their mascot, nine-year-old David Cunningham of Largs, who was kitted out in a replica kit. David had won the chance to be their mascot out of many applicants. Along with his parents, he was treated to a special lunch at Love Street, Paisley and met the Largs Thistle Football team before the match.
In the second half of the game, four red cards were issued to Kennedy, Murray, Gray and Andy Elliot of Largs Thistle, resulting in the Largs Thistle Football Club being fined £1,500. To help pay the costs, Labour MP Brian Wilson held a lottery for a bottle of House of Commons Whisky, which was signed by the Largs Thistle team.
The Largs Thistle team returned to a triumphant welcome around 7 pm, with the residents of Largs packing the streets. The team carried the Scottish Junior Cup Trophy into the bars as they made their way to ‘The Fiddlers’, where the official celebration disco was being held. Along the way, the team posed for photographs with their supporters.
The Largs pubs organised several forms of entertainment and applied for late licences enabling them to stay open until 2 am. The Overdraught Bar (now Sharps) managed a barbecue and buffet; Flannigan’s Bar hosted an evening of live Scottish and Irish music, and the Clachan Bar employed a DJ. The partying continued into the night as the townsfolk of Largs celebrated Largs Thistle’s most significant win.
Following the disco at The Fiddlers, the Thistle team and their wives and partners stayed at ‘The Queens Hotel’, Largs (which was demolished in 2021). On 16 June 1994, Cunninghame District Council held a civic reception at the Inverclyde National Sports Centre to honour the Largs Thistle team. Thistle team manager, John Crawford, was awarded the Manager of the Year trophy. At Nardini’s restaurant, a gala dinner was held to honour the Largs Thistle football club on Friday, 01 July 1994.
A full breakdown of the football game can be found in the Largs & Millport Weekly News archives held at the Irvine Townhouse.
Largs Thistle has since reached the Scottish Junior Cup final twice. In 2010, Linlithgow Rose won 1-0, and again in 2019, Auchinleck Talbot won 2-0.