Spotlight On Members

From time to time during the 2015 season we will be interviewing a cross section of the members with a fun 20-question quiz. The next one may be YOU, so watch out for our roving reporter!

Jim Johnston

Scottish Seniors Golfing Society: Player Profile  Jim Johnston

Jim is a regular on our circuit and a medallist in the East of Scotland Open during 2008. He travels many hundreds of miles to support our tournaments and, despite his claims to talk too much he is a very popular and supportive fellow competitor.

Name

 James Johnston

Home Club

 Northumberland

Current Handicap

Best Handicap

Year Started Golf

Place of Birth

Home Town

3.3

1

1960

Tyne mouth

Corbridge

Representative Honours

Played for Northumberland County and club

Favourite golfing achievement to date

Winning the French mid am, and the Northumberland county foursomes with my best pal. As well as all my other victories loloooloo

Most memorable golfing moment

The next time I play

What's in your Bag?

Brands, lofts, shafts, balls etc.

Lots of chewing gum put there by my pals because I talk too much,

ping driver, titleist 3/5 woods all three with aldila nv shafts regular, srixon forged irons with the nipon light weight shaft , putter well i have 365 of those.

Favourite food/drink and why?

Anything with chips, hate fish because it swims in a dirty sea, to drink? Well any Spanish red wine will do nicely

Favourite golf course and why?

St Andrews, I just love to be there and hang around

Favourite holiday destination

Mijas, only when I have no bills to pay.

Other Hobbies

Reducing my credit cards

Favourite munch on the course

I don't munch because I am too busy talking

Favourite Film

Enemy at the gates (its about a Russian sniper a must watch film)

Favourite piece of music

M People     (Heather Small)

Current swing thought(s)

This page is not big enough

All time favourite (printable) joke

TRUE STORY, my pals played a course in Spain when they came across a deep hole, they looked down it, wondered how deep it was, so they proceeded to throw a large log down it, however a rope suddenly appeared with a goat tied to it. Oopps

Charlie Brown - Water Ski Flyer!

We always knew Charlie was fairly light on his feet but were astounded to discover that his record water ski leap of 148ft pictured below got him included in the Guinness Book of records.

The 1968 Guinness Book of Records records Charlie Brown's European Water Ski Jump Record of 148 feet when winning the European Championships at Princes Water Ski Club in London. He started his water ski ing at Lochearnhead Hotel and then moved to Princes Water Ski Club when he joined the British Water Ski Team with whom he competed throughout Europe from 1967 to 1970, during the winters he skied in the Alps and was a member of the British Masters Ski Team. But now as a member of Auchterarder and Panmure Golf Clubs has turned his attentions to golf and is a regular competitor in the SSGS events.

Denis McQuade - the Laird o' Firhill

The term legend is overworked, particularly in football parlance, but few, if any have moved the long term Firhill faithful to misty eyed nostalgia as much as our man Denis.

Here's the Glenbervie man's contribution together with a brilliant piece by journalist Robert Philip which catches his X Factor perfectly.

Gordon asked me, as you did, at Dumfries if I could provide some background on my football career with a photo if possible. Here are a few facts which you can supplement (depending on how much space you want to fill) from a funny article which appeared in the Daily Telegraph many years ago. It was written by Robert Philip on the 25th anniversary of our league cup final win.

Signed as a winger for Partick Thistle from 1970-1978 making over 300 apppearances and scoring 88 goals
Made my Thistle debut on the same day as Alan Rough and played alongside him in the 4-1 Scottish League Cup final win against Celtic in 1971
Scored for Scotland at Under 23 level and again for the Scottish League against the English League in 1972
Selected by Tommy Docherty for the full Scottish squad alongside my hero Denis Law, Billy Bremner, Asa Hartford, George Graham for the Independence Cup in Brazil in 1972. Substitute against Yugoslavia and Brazil in the Maracana stadium (we lost 1-0 to a late Jairzinho header), though didn't play.
Moved to Hearts under Willie Ormond then on to Hamilton for a year before taking up a job in Bermuda and concentrating on my career in computers and financial software
After spells working in London and Sydney (where I played in an amateur over-35 league) I finally stopped playing at the age of 52

Partick's master of mazy dribble still shines brightly in memory

By Robert Philip

TO DESCRIBE Denis McQuade as a dribbler is to dismiss Nijinsky as a hoofer. You think Matthews, Best and Garrincha could trip the light fantastic? Dribbling The Denis Way was to see Gene Kelly using a football instead of a brolly as a prop; a shimmy, a twist, a double-shuffle, a somersault and he was off on another meandering run across three counties pursued by a chorus-line of incandescent defenders.

When he became bored with dribbling past the opposition, Denis would begin to take on his own Partick Thistle team-mates. One foggy December day, against Rangers, he dribbled past all 21 players (the majority of them at least twice), nut-megged the referee, left both sets of managers, physios and substitutes for dead, rounded six ballboys, 15 stewards, 27 programme sellers, five mounted policemen and was last seen dribbling through the crowds of Christmas shoppers in Sauchiehall Street.

Friend and foe alike accepted the futility of trying to fathom Denis's intentions; all gangly knees and elbows, his feet operated independently of his brain and consequently of each other.

"I worked on the theory that if I never knew what I was going to do, then no-one else would either," says Denis, attempting to explain the inexplicable. "How could anyone possibly guess which way I was going when I didn't know myself?" He might have been the greatest footballer on earth save for one minor - but calamitous - flaw; from one Saturday to the next, Denis never knew whether he would wake up and think he was Pele or put his foot on the ball and discover he was Basil Fawlty. "That first touch told me. And when I was bad, I was bloody murder."

Mazy dribbles followed by 35-yard shots, which would dip, bend, swerve and hum Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds were commonplace. So, too, was the missed open goal from 24 inches, which would inevitably result in Denis lying on his backside gazing up at a circle of colleagues doubled-over in hysterics.

Thistle fans took to phoning Firhill Stadium on match days. "Is 'Daft Denis' playing?" they would enquire of secretary Molly Stallon. A 'yes' could add thousands to the attendance, though a goodly proportion turned up merely to harangue our capricious hero. The holder of a degree in maths and French, he was routinely referred to as 'Daft' Denis.

Robert Reid, the club's historian, in his wondrously evocative book Red & Yellow Forever! A Lifetime With Partick Thistle, recalled: "I remember sitting in the stand listening to a fan giving Denis real stick - which was slightly surprising since he had left the club a year or so before.

"I leaned over and pointed out that the winger in question was not Denis, to which the fan replied: 'Look, if I want to shout at McQuade I will'."

At 45, Denis, is dribbling a football still; grey-haired, Armani-suited, a rising star in international banking software, but resplendent in the familiar No 11 shirt, he is even yet plying his idiosyncratic genius in a London amateur league, where most of those around him are in their twenties.

He is too modest to tell them, but when Denis was in his twenties, he warmed up in the Maracana Stadium alongside Billy Bremner and Denis Law, preparing to meet a Brazilian international side containing Rivelino, Jairzinho and Tostao.

On Grandstand that Saturday afternoon of Oct 23, 1971, Sam Leitch observed: " . . . north of the border, it is League Cup final day. Celtic meet Partick Thistle who have no chance."

When not at home in Stirling or London, he spends much of his life in airports. In August he made what was his ninth visit of the year to Johannesburg, last week he was in Florence for a banking conference, next week in Vienna . . . interrupted by a brief return to Glasgow for the 25th anniversary celebrations of the day Denis and his beloved Jags stunned the world and, more enduringly, themselves.

On Grandstand that Saturday afternoon of Oct 23, 1971, Sam Leitch observed: " . . . north of the border, it is League Cup final day. Celtic meet Partick Thistle who have no chance." Newly-promoted from the second division and with an average age of just under 22, Thistle had not won a trophy in half a century.

Known as the thinking man's team in a city divided by football passions, they were renowned for their unpredictability, eccentric goalkeepers and crazy wingers. Celtic, in the midst of a reign which would bring them nine successive league championships, and managed by Jock Stein, arrived at Hampden Park bristling with talents such as Dalglish, Macari, Johnstone, Hay, Murdoch and Gemmill.

CELTIC had won the European Cup in 1967 and reached the final again in 1970 after trouncing Don Revie's Leeds United in a semi-final billed 'the championship of Britain'. No chance, indeed. After 34 minutes, the scoreline read Partick Thistle 4, Celtic 0.

They tell me Kenny Dalglish scored near the end, but who cares? I watched the entire second half through a veil of tears, my red and yellow woollen scarf sodden with sniffles. "Magic time," sighed Denis, who scored one and could have had a hat-trick. "Thistle actually had three wingers in the squad at the time. Bobby Lawrie, who was as fast as Gento, Johnny Gibson, who had the skills but not the temperament to become an all-time great, and me.

"I scored twice in the semi against Falkirk - complete with Alex Ferguson at centre-forward - when Gibby was injured, so there was no way the manager could drop me for the final.

"Every time we scored we expected Celtic to come back at us. Even at 4-0 we were frightened we'd lose 5-4 or something. The entire game had a dream-like quality about it.

"We kept waiting for the avalanche to hit us and it never came. I know people hark on about Sunderland-Leeds and Berwick Rangers-Glasgow Rangers, but that result - particularly because of the manner in which it was achieved - must rank with the greatest upsets in world football.

"We could and should have won 6-1 or 7-1, which reinforces the cliche that anything can happen in football. Even if you're 100/1, you have to remember you still have that one chance. Celtic gubbed us 5-1 in the league a couple of weeks later, but who remembers that?

"We played an attacking 4-2-4 formation, so it was a triumph for youthful enthusiasm. It was an example to anyone in any walk of life. I've often told my kids (Lauren, 18 and Dean, 14) that when you're really up against it - and Celtic were one of the most powerful teams ever assembled in those days - you can overcome any odds if your attitude is right.

"Never give up before the start. If you're going to get beaten you might as well lose 9-1 as 1-0. We beat Motherwell 8-3 that season and lost 7-2 at Aberdeen. The fans loved it, because, as you know, Thistle fans are unique.

"It's common to find two university professors sitting between two shipyard workers on one side and a couple of hippies who've been in a time warp since the Sixties on the other. Thistle fans don't expect trophies. But they do expect to be entertained, to expect the unexpected if you like."

"You could say I was inspired by the foot of God rather than the hand of God."

One of five children born in the Gorbals, Denis was the archetypal football-mad schoolboy. He even entered a seminary and trained for the priesthood after hearing tales of how the students played four games a week.

"You could say I was inspired by the foot of God rather than the hand of God." Sadly for the church - verily, the thought of a berobed Cardinal McQuade running run rings round the street urchins in St Peter's Square is a beguiling one - he opted for a dual career in football and computers.

"It was a brilliant education because there's no way my parents could have afforded to send me to a private school. I could have gone to the Scots' College in Rome but, to be honest, deep down I knew a priest's life wasn't for me."

And so Denis wowed the faithful on the left touchline at Firhill. A typical goal would involve a 50-yard dribble, a handful of stumbles, a couple of forward rolls, an impromptu exhibition in ball-juggling, then a back-heel into the corner of the net.

"The danger zone for me was when I had an open goal, the 'keeper was stranded by the corner flag, and the entire defence was strung out across the halfway line. The more time I had to think the worse I got. No wonder the fans got exasperated. Heaven knows, I was exasperated."

A PELE-STYLE overhead kick against Kilmarnock brought Denis to the attention of then Scotland manager Tommy Docherty and he became one of six Thistle players from that 1971 side - along with Alan Rough, John Hansen, Alex Forsyth, Ronnie Glavin and Jimmy Bone - to gain international recognition.

He made his debut in the under-23 side against Wales and scored direct from a corner. "I don't think I meant it, though you never know. I was always looking to score, but I was never the architect of my own moves."

There were rumours Arsenal were interested, then Celtic, but he followed his heart and stayed where he was. "I was always a part-time player, because of my career in computers, so there's no telling how good I might have been.

"I see a lot of myself in Steve McManaman - though he's a far better player (that is your opinion, Denis) - someone prepared to try something a little bit different. But football's changed. Coaches and directors have forgotten we're supposed to entertain audiences.

"I always enjoyed playing, now it's all about results and success, profit and loss columns. It's a pity there aren't as many characters about, maybe that's why in people's memories I've become a better player every year since I retired."

The word whimsical might have been invented specially for Denis. "It's in the genes. My wife Linda finds it hilarious that I travel all over the world, yet every Saturday morning when I pick up my pal Roy for a game of golf, I take the same wrong turning at the same roundabout in Stirling.

"Two years I've been trying to negotiate that ruddy roundabout, and every week I shoot off down the wrong exit road. I've never known where I'm going. . ."

David A Millar

Born - Greenock, 1st March 1945

Brought up in Glasgow near to Hampden Park. Attended (some of the time) Queens Park Secondary School

Age 65 (Super Senior and thankful for it)

Married to Muriel (Aberdonian without attitude) with a family of two sons Neil and Alan (both married) and five grandchildren, three of whom live at Drumoig near St Andrews.

Golf Clubs: Learned to play at Kings Park and Linn Park, the Glasgow public courses, stealing golf balls from the players when they went out of sight. Joined Williamwood GC as a junior slightly before the eventual emergence of Ian Carslaw. Played very little amateur golf in my 20s and early 30s when work, football and a young family took all my time. I resumed in my mid 30s as a 7/8 handicapper at Strathaven GC where I played for 25years eventually serving on committee as Finance Convener and Chairman of the club. Moved to St Andrews in 2003 and joined The New Club and the Dukes. Currently a member of the New Club formed relatively recently in 1902 and The Thistle Club of St Andrews that was formed in 1817.

Football:

School and Youth Internationalist 1962/63

Amateur Internationalist 1963/64

Olympic Trialist for the GB team of 1964 - Tokyo (shame- didn't make the final GB squad -no Scottish player was selected- questions were asked!!)

Played In Kenya in 1963 for Scotland against the home country and Uganda and Tanganika as part of the "UHURU" (Freedom) celebrations when Kenya received its Independence from the UK. Met Jomo Kenyatta, Prime Minister, and his cohorts and played to crowds of over 50000. The home players had been instructed by FIFA to wear boots and not play in their usual bare feet! It was the custom for the witch doctor to appear on the pitch before the match. Two promising young players in the Scottish Amateur party were Tommy McLean of Kilmarnock and Peter Lorimer of Leeds who were still under 16 and yet to sign professional forms with their clubs.

Played in Nigeria in 1964 as part of a touring Queens Park team. Played in Kano and Kaduna two of Northern Nigeria's principal towns. I realise now that I was probably too young to fully appreciate the experience of travelling in Africa when such opportunities then were so rare. Exotic travel in those days required a flight on BOAC - remember them? The QP team in those days included the gentlemen players Bert Cromar, a wonderful man who chastised me for turning professional and "taking the Queen's shilling" Junior Omand and Bill Neil all of whom were good enough to be professionals but choose to remain amateur.

Turned professional with Aberdeen in 1964 for the princely sum of £20 per week and a £4 appearance bonus for first team football - win bonuses were £8. This was really good money at the time and I considered myself rather well paid! My father gave me permission to turn pro on the clear understanding that I completed my accountancy studies that had embarked on. He must have known how good I was!!!

Eddie Turnbull had been my mentor at Hampden with Queens Park and when he got the Aberdeen job he signed Bobby Clark and me. Eddie was a coach apart. He had, unusually in those days, gone abroad to widen his knowledge of modern football and was a new breed of coach/manager with a wider appreciation than most of the developing modern game especially ball retention and the use of raiding full back play which was still very new then.

I had the pleasure of playing with West Coast escapees, Tom McMillan and Chalky Whyte, young local stars Martin Buchan and Ian Taylor, The Danes Jens Petersen, Jorgen Rahn and Lief Mortensen, big daft Frank Munro, hard man Shewan, mad Davie Robb, ex Third Lanark's John McCormack, ex Dunfermline's Harry Melrose, the studious Billy Little and the dancing feet of wee Jimmy Wilson who had more clubs than Ian Stewart at Kinross. Tommy Craig and Jimmy Smith were also star turns who made decent careers in England.

My full-time football career was short lived. I found it difficult to combine studies and full commitment to football especially when it became clear that I wasn't the next Jim Baxter. My studies soon came first and when I reluctantly pulled out of a trip to Washington DC to play in a US competition preferring to sit my final accountancy exams Eddie decided my commitments lay elsewhere and he sold me to Raith Rovers managed by the great Tommy Walker. I played there for three years as a part-timer helping them avoid relegation from the old First Division. We had a hard working team including Gordon Wallace, Willie Polland, Jim Gillespie and Davie Sneddon who had played for the good Kilmarnock team that won the league in the early sixties. I trained at Tynecastle with Hearts in the evenings after my day job in the capital and met up with Jock Wallace and John Cumming for evening training. Having escaped relegation on three occasions with RR fate eventually caught up with us and we were relegated. However I was fortunate to be signed by Wilson Humphries of St Mirren before the new season started and had another few years as a part-timer in the top flight playing with a very young Gordon McQueen, the classy Ian Munro, the unfortunate Bobby McKean who fell asleep in his car in a garage with the engine on and accidently killed himself, Ally MacLeod who eventually landed up at Easter Road and a promising youngster called Tony Fitzpatrick before my career gently wound down to an undramatic end when Eric Caldow persuaded me to join him for one more year at Stranraer to "look after his young players".

Playing highlights were two League Cup semis with Aberdeen and St Mirren both lost to the Old Firm, nomination for under twenty three cap, Captained Raith Rovers and St Mirren, beating Rangers 0-4 at Ibrox in a league cup match for St Mirren, playing the great Celtic team of the mid sixties but never beating them, beating Morton in a league cup quarter final and receiving a bonus of £100 - that was big! Transfer fees in general but especially the QP move to Aberdeen gave me a financial start in life not available to many youngsters of that age.

With my requisite coaching qualifications in place it was my intention to continue in the game after playing but with career ambitions towards general management I was invited in 1975 to return to University by my employer British Steel to study for an MBA. This was the event that took me away from football and in a different direction from my peers such as Andy Roxburgh and Craig Brown who was already managing Clyde by that time.

My Football inspiration came from the great Hungarians of the fifties, Puskas and Hidiguti, whom I read about avidly as a young teenager and the great Real Madrid teams of international players, including Di Stefano, Puskas and Ghento, that dominated the early years of the European Cup. I was in the Hampden crowd that evening in 1960 to see that Final between Real and Eintracht Frankfurt . It is now recognised as one of the greatest matches of all time. Football is art and we all recognise the artists when we see them. The current Barcelona team brings tears to my eyes. How Johan Cruyff would have enjoyed playing with them!

I have two grandsons Ryan and Euan. Ryan is a terrific wee chap but he's not a footballer. Two year old Euan is my last hope. With the current state of the game in Scotland maybe I should persuade them both to concentrate on their golf!!!

The camaraderie and the competition of the SSGS has been and is a very important part of my current sporting life. Long may it continue. Without you guys it just wouldn't be the same. It's true what they say - the SSGS is the most fun you can have with your trousers on.

On looking out an old photo to attach to this mini biopic I was reminded of the motto of my first club Queens Park -" Ludere causa Ludendi" - it means "play for the sake of playing" and it seems to me to appropriately reflect the essence of the SSGS.

Thanks to you all for your warm friendship but especially Gordon, Hutch, Keith, John, Jim and Peter, Bill and Dorothy and the others who have done so much to make the SSGS the great success it is

Scottish Seniors Golfing Society

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