Firhill for Thrills

I used to write up stadium guides for the Kerrydale Street forum. Some of the things I wrote up are still on the Celtic Wiki today thanks to the sadly missed Auldbhoy. But it occurs to me they’re probably out of date, so it’s time I rebooted the franchise. Hey, if Hollywood can do it, so can I. So, first up, a quick write up of my experience of Firhill from the recent ARR Craib tournament.

Partick Thistle’s home for over 100 years now may not be the best stadium in Glasgow, but it’s one of the better places to go and watch football in my opinion. For one thing, the leg room behind the goal and in the Jackie Husband stands is better than at some SPL grounds. For someone of my height, that’s key.

As you can see from the photo, Firhill is your standard shoebox style stadium. Well, three sides are. Behind one of the goals is what used to be a terracing but is now more an overgrown (but well kept) grassy knoll. It seems a shame for that to go to waste, but Firhill is never full enough to justify building anything there so it remains empty. Behind the other goal is usually given to the away support, and that’s pretty generous of them given that it’s got an unobstructed view. While the Jackie Husband stand has similar, the main stand is older and has pillars blocking the view. Either the Thistle fans know this and tend to favour the Jackie Husband stand, or possibly there’s something wrong with the main stand as there were quite a large block of seats covered up. The fact there were several people in the main stand behind the dugouts suggests it’s just a poor stand to sit in.

The turnout for the tournament was quite low sadly, so the atmosphere is hard to judge. I’m hoping to go back next month when Celtic are state-side, so maybe it will be improved for a proper SFL game. I certainly hope so, as what I saw in the tournament suggests Thistle will be quite entertaining to watch.

The prices aren’t bad. A regular pie will set you back £1.70 while a steak pie is still only £2. They also had a very curious thing called a skinny pie, which they claimed had all the taste but 40% reduced fat! I didn’t try one, mainly because I’m currently on a diet and didn’t want to guess! Does anyone know what it would be 40% less of exactly? How much fat is in a pie?

I did have a Bovril though which was very hot and almost to the point of tongue burning. Not quite though, which is how I like it. Especially in July in Scotland where it still managed to be cold. After two games in one day I went back to the car and put the heating on. Ridiculous. Tea and coffee was the same price, so again that’s fairly reasonable for Scottish Football. Soft drinks were also £1.60 – or £1.90 for a larger one – but reports of those weren’t great. Indeed, Rhebelrhebel tweeted that they were rotten and to be avoided if possible.

Google Maps link

Transport to Firhill isn’t too bad. It’s a reasonable length walk from St George’s Cross underground station up Maryhill Road. Don’t get the train to Maryhill, it’s miles away! If you’re driving, there’s a long street where student accommodation has been built called Murano Street. The flats all have off street parking, and a lot of students don’t have cars. You can generally get parked on that street and it’s the close to the entrance to the away end. I’d guess on busier days it will be harder to park on, but I seem to remember parking on it even when Thistle were in the SPL a few years back.

Overall, Firhill’s a pretty decent stadium. It’s not modern so it still has a soul, unlike so many others around Scotland now. It’s not exactly what it used to be, with two of the three stands built in the last 20 years, but with that overgrown terrace and an older main stand you can still get a feel for it. Celtic are due to play their under-20 matches at the stadium, so there’s a good chance I’ll be going along to Firhill a few times this season.

Maybe at some point I’ll even brave a skinny pie!

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