Jim Patterson: 'The Goal King of Queen of the South'

 

With an appropriate mixture of affection, respect and something approaching reverence, Jim Patterson was dubbed "The Goal King of Queen of the South" – and, even in death, there's no chance that he'll be deposed from his throne any time soon.

The strapping, rumbustious centre-forward, the Doonhamers' spearhead for nearly a decade and a half in the middle years of the 20th century, totalled 251 goals for his only senior club. That's more than the next two men on the list of Palmerston Park sharpshooters put together – they are Patterson's old comrade Bobby Black, who died last summer, and modern marksman Andy Thomson – so the record is safe for the foreseeable future.

For all that he was a gentle, unassuming character away from the action, the Perthshire-born Patterson was a dauntingly formidable opponent for the men whose job it was to mark him. His speed, power and fearlessness were the stuff of local legend, but that told only half the story. He was blessed with the goalscorer's most priceless knack: a near-uncanny instinct for being in the right place to convert the opportunities created by his team-mates, who understood his strengths and played to them.

This was never more apparent than in the mid-1950s, when he was at the van of an exhilarating attack which also included wingers Black and Jackie Oakes and inside-forwards Jimmy McGill and Walter Rothera.

Patterson had been closely monitored by Queen of the South manager Jimmy McKinnell Jr before he was signed in 1949, yet the Doonhamers almost lost him to Manchester City. The Scottish club intended to recruit him when he had finished his national service, but then he went on trial to Maine Road and there seemed every likelihood that his future lay with the English giants.

However, he decided to remain north of the border, and he made his senior debut in a home League encounter with Dundee in November 1949. The season ended in despair, as Queen of the South dropped out of the top flight, where they had been ensconced since 1933; though there was some consolation in reaching the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup for the first time. They lost to Rangers at Hampden Park, but only after a replay, in which the underdogs perished courageously after a valiant struggle.

At this point, Patterson was operating as an inside-forward, with Billy Houliston wearing the No 9 shirt, and the pair were hugely influential as the Doonhamers bounced back at the first attempt, winning the Division B title on goal average – the preposterously complicated predecessor to goal difference as a means of splitting clubs on the same number of points – ahead of Stirling Albion. That season, too, they reached the last four of the Scottish League Cup before losing to League champions-elect, Hibernian.

For the next five seasons, Patterson scored heavily, particularly in 1955/56, when he registered 26 goals in 31 games as the Doonhamers led the table for a spell before subsiding to finish in sixth place. That proved a high point, with the Dumfries side declining to demotion in 1958-59; but thereafter, though by now in his thirties, Patterson remained a potent performer, gelling exhilaratingly with the thoroughbred English international schemer Ivor Broadis as promotion was missed by a point in 1959-60. Another League Cup semi- final defeat followed a year later.

However, the veteran was not finished; he formed a terrific frontline partnership with Neil Martin, which saw Queen of the South return to the top tier as runners-up to Clyde in the Second Division title race of 1961-62. A personal highlight of that campaign was his double hat-trick in a 7-1 annihilation of Cowdenbeath at Palmerston Park, and there were still goals in him as he helped the team to narrowly retain its status in 1962-63, his farewell season.

His admirers' only regret when Patterson retired that spring after 462 appearances was that he had never won a full Scottish cap, the nearest being an outing for his country against the Army in 1953. He had proved unable to unseat stars such as Hibernian's Lawrie Reilly and Willie Bauld of Hearts, but his stirring deeds over 14 years made his induction into the Doonhamers' Hall of Fame the merest of formalities.

James Patterson, footballer: born Luncarty, Perthshire 1928; played for Queen of the South 1949-63; died Dumfries 16 December 2012.

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
News
i100
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Web developer (C#, MVC4, HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, Jquery)

£30000 - £44000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Web deve...

Senior Automation QA Engineer (Java, Selenium WebDriver, Agile)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Senior A...

Web developer (C#.NET, ASP.NET, MVC3/4, HTML5, CSS3, JAVASCRIPT

£35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Web deve...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment