Few Partick Thistle supporters will forget the 2012/13 campaign in a hurry – and soon, they will have the opportunity to relive those heady days.

It was a good season to be a Thistle fan. Manager Jackie McNamara and his predecessor Ian McCall had assembled an ambitious playing squad packed to the brim with up-and-coming players who were hungry for more. Some had been plucked from the obscurity of Junior football, others had a point to prove after being released from bigger clubs – but they all shared a steely determination to return Thistle to Scotland’s top tier.

The football was thrilling; results were superb. There was even some mid-season drama when McNamara departed for Dundee United – something that would become a well-trod path in the coming years as players swapped Firhill for Tannadice on a seemingly annual basis – but Alan Archibald was there to pick up the baton and get the team’s title tilt over the line.

It was a special time to be a Jag and naturally, it’s a period many recall fondly. And the good news for supporters keen on a trip down memory lane is that they can do just that at an event at Drygate Brewery in Glasgow’s East End later this month.

Jags For Good, the supporters’ group that organises fundraising efforts for social causes, will be marking the 10-year anniversary of the occasion in style. Most of the players that comprise the class of 2013 will be coming along for the celebration, where fans will get the opportunity to interact with their heroes on an afternoon of chatting, comedy and music – with all the money raised going to the Partick Thistle Charitable Trust.

“The players are really up for it,” says comedian Ray Bradshaw, who is hosting the festivities. “We have got most of the stalwarts of that season confirmed already and we are trying to get as many as possible.

“That season, as a Thistle fan – it was absolutely class. Everyone talks about their highlight being James Craigen’s goal against Morton but the highlight for me came when we spanked Dunfermline 5-1 and Ross Forbes scored an absolute screamer right at the end. It was like ‘we’re good at football’, which is something you rarely feel as a Thistle fan!

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“So we are just trying to get the band back together off the back of the last thing we did [the comedy gig]. That raised a lot of money for a really good cause but it was a feel-good event and I think for a club like Thistle, feel-good events sometimes can be worth more than getting a good result on the park. It keeps the fanbase in touch with the players.

“Some of the current players who were part of the squad will be coming down, former players and guys that maybe didn’t get the send-off that they should have done. Like Chris Erskine, who was punted away by Gary Caldwell but came back during the Covid season and got injured. It would be nice to show a bit of recognition to guys that have done so well for the club.

“The team was a throwback to the early noughties when we had a good defence and exciting full-backs – because [Stephen] O’Donnell and [Aaron] Taylor-Sinclair were superb that year, absolutely superb. They contributed to everything.

“My biggest memory of that season is the Challenge Cup final. It was so, so fun. There were other little things – there was the game at Cowdenbeath that got abandoned because of the fog. They were winning then we played them like a month later and beat them 3-0. We got away with it so much!

“And then the cup final was just such a good day out, even though we lost. Aaron Muirhead missing the penalty, getting sent off then Dools scoring from the corner a minute later is maybe the most Partick Thistle moment of my life! Everything was encompassed in that. It was one of the most likable teams, too.”

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Bradshaw touches on an important point. Scottish football, particularly outside the Premiership, is about as far removed from the ultra-sanitised game south of the border as you can get. There are no armies of press officers or legions of overbearing administrators keeping impeccably media-trained players at an arm’s length from the public, and the result is that fans feel a lot more connected to the club.

Our game is far more down to earth and that is reflected in the relationship between a team and its fans. There were no preening prima donnas in the title-winning side of 2012/13 and Bradshaw believes that supporters were able to see something of themselves in the playing squad.

“There are stories about Sean Welsh and Conrad Balatoni bringing the trophy down to [local pub] the Star and Garter after we won the league, players were going along to fan events – there was a party at Jumpin’ Jacks or something like that and I’m sure the players turned up to meet the fans,” Bradshaw recalled with a grin.

“But you also have guys like Stephen O’Donnell, who went on to play at a high level. Aaron Muirhead has had a couple of spells at the club, Balatoni always gave his all. Guys like Banzo [Stuart Bannigan] and [Steven] Lawless, they’ve probably played something like 600 times combined for Thistle.

“You’ve got people like [Kris] Doolan and [Chris] Erskine, where if you speak to people of my generation, they are the most memorable players of the last 15-20 years easily. They were both signed from the Juniors, you hadn’t heard of either of them and you weren’t really sure of them at first but they both went on to become club legends. I don’t know what more you could ask for.

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“James Craigen we signed from a uni team, Christie Elliot was signed from the sixth division in England or something like that. These guys came in and became a huge part of the team and they were relatable. It’s not like when we signed George Cadete out of Portuguese Big Brother, guys where you thought ‘that could never be me’. These were just run-of-the-mill guys who gave everything for the club – and then signed a pre-contract with Dundee United!”

A few members of the title-winning team are back in Maryhill. Muirhead and Lawless both returned in the summer, Bannigan never left and, of course, a certain someone occupies the home dugout at Firhill these days. Bradshaw reckons this is further evidence of that special connection that some players have with the club – and serves as an explanation as to why they made such a big impression on the fanbase.

“I think it’s great and it shows that people want to come back,” he observed. “I don’t work in football but I work a lot around football and I think that sometimes players just feel at home at certain clubs.

“Look at Lawless, for example – he had a really good time at Livi, then he went to Burton and was doing really well there. He came back for family reasons I think, went to Motherwell where it didn’t really click and he has ended up back with us. There were Dunfermline fans at the start of the season saying ‘I can’t believe you’ve signed Stevie Lawless, he was rotten last year’ but he has been unbelievable this year – and it’s just because he’s home, I think.

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“You look at players like Doolan, who I know had lots of offers to leave the club at numerous different times but always took ‘the grass isn’t always greener’ approach. He turned down more money because his family life was more content and he didn’t need to up sticks.

“Thistle is the kind of club – and I think lots of clubs our size are the same – where the players buy into Thistle and vice-versa. The fans know that the players will always give 100 per cent, and the players know the fans will give them as much love as they can so long as they give their all.

“That kind of connection matters. My dad is a Stranraer fan and there are players there that have had three or four spells at the club but they have always played their best football there. It just clicks. And don’t forget, we lost our manager halfway through the season.”

There will be plenty of time for everyone to reminisce about that thrilling campaign at the Jags For Good event. Bradshaw, in the middle of a UK-wide stand-up tour, is volunteering his time to emcee the event and it isn’t the first time he has got involved with the group.

Bradshaw previously helped the group to organise a fundraiser at The Stand comedy club, roping in fellow Glaswegian comics such as Fred MacAulay and Frankie Boyle into performing at the event, as supporters raised thousands of pounds to tackle food poverty.

This time, the money raised will be going to the Partick Thistle Charitable Trust and Bradshaw is happy to help in any way he can. He stresses that it is those who regularly donate their time that deserve the lion’s share of the credit for the good work being done but he is proud to play his part, even if it can occasionally lead to a rather hectic schedule. After all, he says, such initiatives are the very essence of the community that lies at the heart of a football club.

He explained: “I’m doing a tour show in Southampton, driving to Gatwick Airport and then flying home at 7am to do this – because the Jags For Good campaign is everything that I think a football club should be about just now.

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“In a time where we are in a cost-of-living crisis, where people are struggling left, right and centre, you have got people at Jags For Good who are giving up their time to go out and make other people’s lives better through football. I think if you are a supporter of the club then it is something that we should all be really proud of.

“I am lucky that I am in a position where I can arrange these things – because this takes up a little bit of my time but it’s not much. But for everyone who organises it, it is weekly and it is a huge commitment for them.

“The stuff they do makes me proud to be a Thistle fan. Whether it’s The Jags Foundation donating pin money to them, whether it is fans turning up in huge numbers to bring toys for disadvantaged kids at Christmas, food bank stuff…

“When I turned up to donate some stuff to the Christmas toy appeal I saw one of the players go up and hand his own cash over, so there is that connection there as well. I just think everything they do is brilliant and I’m a big fan. Why not try and organise some things and keep the money rolling in? This time they don’t even want the money – they noticed that the Charitable Trust lost all their funding so the money is going there.

“The Charitable Trust do some brilliant things. You could even see recently on the [teachers’] strike days, kids might not go to school but they might not have parental care either. They organised two training days in Springbrurn and they had about 100 kids there.

“Everything they did during lockdown, handing out food parcels and things like that. I went into the club one day and I was astounded at the amount of work they are doing. So I keep supporting the team but I also support the causes around it because you can’t have one without the other.”

Jags For Good’s 2012/13 Champions: 10th Anniversary Reunion is being held at Dyrgate Brewery from 2pm on Sunday 26 March. Tickets are available for £15 and all proceeds will be donated to the Partick Thistle Charitable Trust. You can find out more here.