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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
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
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

SEN Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you that teacher who c...

SEN Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you that teacher who c...

IT Auditor

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: IT Auditor , Information Governance, NHS...

Process Improvement Analyst (Testing)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform