When Bobby Houston was transferred from Partick Thistle to Kilmarnock in 1979 it didn’t take long for him to be due to play his former team. The match was played at Kilmarnock’s home ground, Rugby Park, Nov 17th 1979, and Houston would have been anxious to show that his former team were wrong to get rid of him.
The day of the match itself started badly for Houston. He woke up – late, had his breakfast – late. He dressed himself in jeans and a t-shirt and set off to get his hair cut in an attempt to smarten himself up, he planned to return home to dress more smartly after, before heading to the football club. The hairdresser was busy, traffic was bad, Houston was running out of time. He had to travel to the match in what he was wearing – at least his hair looked the part.
The management team at Kilmarnock were not happy with Houston’s appearance when he turned up at the stadium; they were used to their players turning up smartly dressed. It was just a coincidence that Bobby Houston was to start the match on the substitutes bench; had he not been, perhaps his casual clothes may have seen him there anyway. Either way, Houston was not having a good day and it was about to get a lot worse.
When the Partick Thistle team bus arrived at Rugby Park, Houston decided to go out and say hello to his ex team-mates. Unbeknownst to him, the Thistle players had decided to play a practical joke on Houston – they were going to ignore him. As player after player left the bus, every single one of them walked straight past Houston without saying a word to him. Houston must have thought he had lost a lot of friends quickly. It was not a good day for him.
Throughout the first half of the match, Houston sat on the bench – plenty of time to reflect on how his day was going, the anger must have been rising within him, but he was still anxious to get on the field of play. Shortly after the start of the second half, Houston got his wish; he was about to be brought on as a substitute.
As he was making his way onto the pitch, Bertie Auld, the Partick Thistle manager shouted something witty at Houston that caused a rather curt response from the ex-Thistle player. As soon as he was on the pitch, fuelled with the anger that had built up throughout his awful day, Houston attempted a crude tackle on former team-mate Brian Whittaker. It was fortunate that the tackle had not hit its target, if it had it could have resulted in a leg break. The incident caused another Thistle player, Ian Gibson, to get involved he shouted at Houston: “What are you doing?”. What happened next almost beggars belief.
Houston was enraged, he turned round and swung a punch at Gibson but it missed. This caused Gibson to laugh which infuriated Houston even more; he swung another punch (which also missed). Fortunately for everyone, the referee and one of the linesman stepped in to stop the ‘violence’ from escalating. The referee had no option but to show the red-card to Houston and send him off the pitch. His bad day had got worse but it didn’t end there. Kilmarnock fined their player a total of £40 plus a week’s wages; the SFA also banned him for two weeks. In today’s football climate, that may not sound like a lot of money but in those days it was a fair amount.
Bobby Houston may have been a rather average player but what happened to him throughout that fateful day means he will always have a place in the annals of Scottish football. He must go down as one of the only players to have been sent off without actually touching the ball. A bad day indeed.
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KILLIE FC is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.
KILLIE FC may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from 13th Jun 2018
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. To prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online and offline.
Where we collect this information
As a business we collect data for a number of sources, but our data policy applies to all of the following including personal data collected at reception, check in, exhibitions, on and off-line competitions, guest questionnaires, online bookings, online communications, digital newsletter sign ups from websites and social media, shared promotions with partners and others not listed.
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If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us [email protected] as soon as possible, at the above address. We will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.
Our Website and In House Data Collection Policy
Our email collection policy is fully consent based and in entering your details clear consent is given by the user to receive future marketing materials from ourselves. The following information makes clear our policy on use of consent based email marketing and communications.
What we collect
We may collect the following information on a consent only basis:
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What we do with the information we gather
The majority of the information we gather is required for contractual and legal purposes and to allow us to offer products and services as purchased.
When consent is given to use the information for marketing and communication purposes it is used for the following reasons:
Ã¢âÂ We may periodically send promotional emails about new products, special offers or other information which we think you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided.
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