Largs Thistle were Ayrshire Second Division champs 20 years ago.

On May 11 2002, Thistle overcame Troon 1-0 in a Monday night fixture at Barrfields Park.

Thistle made their fans wait and sweat it out for 80 minutes but finally came good...from the penalty spot. 

Michael Hart lashed the ball into the net to confirm Largs as champions of the Stagecoach Western 2nd Division. 

As battle-worn followers of the team expected, the crucial match with a determined Troon was to be a roller-coaster ride of ifs and buts before the celebrations could begin. 

 The longer the match went at Barrfields Park the more concern there was on the terracing and the field that Troon would snatch a goal that would have kept the title outcome on tenterhooks. As it was, flying machine Alan Blaikie, who was always the ace up the sleeve, was scythed down in the box for a penalty with ten minutes to go. Despite continuing bad luck in front of goal young striker Hart had the confidence to send the keeper the wrong way to score. 

 We almost had an amazing opening goal in eight minutes when keeper Kenny Meechan’s kick beat everyone, including Troon keeper Strain but just missed the target. In 12 minutes Robert Wraith’s header was held under the bar by the keeper under pressure from Alan Colsh. Troon, fighting for promotion points, suddenly caught out Largs and Harvey hooked the ball over the bar from six yards. As usual Stephen Quigg was the home forward who hassled the defence and he laid off a chance for Hart whose shot was saved. 

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Michael Hart in action in early 2000sMichael Hart in action in early 2000s

 It looked as though it was going to be one of those nights when Hart could only nick the ball inches wide from another move by Quigg who also had a header whizzing over the bar. 

To add to the tension Troon posed danger. A Havlin freekick was smothered on the line by Meechan. Thistle’s passing was deteriorating and out of six attempts to find speed king Blaikie on the left wing only one ball reached him in the first 45 minutes. Into the second half and Quigg headed over and Hart sent a spectacular overhead kick sky-high and still Troon looked threatening at the other end. 

Supporters could hardly believe it when a brilliant Quigg freekick rebounded from the bar and a Hart header into the net was ruled offside. Then Colsh who had been strong in midfield found Blaikie on the left and the penalty came to Largs’ great relief.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Q for Quality - Stephen Quigg had a fantastic season at Thistle which culminated in league titleQ for Quality - Stephen Quigg had a fantastic season at Thistle which culminated in league title

There was further drama when Troon keeper Adam Strain was red-carded for abusive language towards the referee with five minutes left, and Thistle manager Frank Lovering had the luxury of using substitutes Gordon Smith, Billy Davidson and Gordon Graham. Meechan, Sheridan, McWatters and Wraith were solid performers all night, Colsh the best of the midfield and Quigg an inspiration as always. However the squad has made it all possible throughout the season and were applauded off the park by the fans.


One of the last Ayrshire championship flags would fly at Barrfields the following season during the changeover to the West of Scotland superleague.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

 Largs: Meechan, Sheridan, Boland, McWatters, Wraith; Brown, Colsh, Donaghy; Hart, Quigg, Blaikie. subs - Smith, Davidson, Graham, Raeburn