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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions