St. Mirren come from behind to defeat Celtic 1983
(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Celtic, 12th August 2020)
St. Mirren welcomed Celtic to Love Street on 19th November 1983, hoping to extend a promising home record which had seen them bang in eight goals in the previous three matches, including a 3-0 win over Rangers. Going into this match, Saints were in the lower half of the Premier League on nine points (one place above Rangers), while Celtic had amassed double that tally and were only a point behind leaders Aberdeen. A crowd of 13,062 were to witness one of Saints’ finest performances of the season.
Stevie Clarke opens Saints' account
Celtic took the lead in the ninth minute when Tommy Burns turned at the edge of the box to send a low right foot shot past Billy Thomson. Ten minutes later, Danny McGrain crossed for Roy Aitken to send a powerful header into the net to make it 2-0. By this time the home crowd was in despair and the Celtic fans were rubbing their hands in anticipation of a big score. The big score came, but not as they expected.
After 26 minutes, Stevie Clarke brought St. Mirren back into the game with a 20-yarder which went in off the crossbar. Six minutes later, a raking shot from John McCormack gave Pat Bonnar no chance and the sides were now level at 2-2. Just before the interval, St. Mirren’s two Franks combined to put the home side in front when McAvennie’s cross was headed home by McDougall. In the second half Celtic pressed for the equaliser, but without ever looking convincing. The best goal of the match came with just two minutes to go. Aitken stopped McDougall in his tracks outside the penalty area and the ball broke upfield to Ian Scanlon. The winger didn’t hesitate, taking the ball in his stride, and cracked it high into the net from 35 yards past a startled Bonnar to make the final score 4-2.
St. Mirren v Celtic 1983
The 20-page match programme, priced 40p, was the standard Saints issue for season 1983/84. The predominately red cover was overprinted with the match details and, apart from the first four issues of the season which featured a black and white photo, the remainder of the season’s issues used one of two colour action photos from matches against Aberdeen and Dundee United. The only other use of colour was on the back-page advert.
Inside, the programme was packed with information and features. Page two listed the St. Mirren officials and honours, and newly-appointed manager Alex Miller presented his A. M. Report on page three. A page of action photos from the previous week’s 2-1 victory over Hibs was followed by John Byrne’s “In The Past” feature on previous Saints v Celtic encounters. “Paisley Past”, looking at the Buddies’ fortunes in season 1906/07, and a selection of topical facts and figures, bookended three short quizzes for Home, Away and Younger fans alike.
A full line up of player sponsors occupied the “Sponsor A Saint” page and “Saints Centenary” focussed on St. Mirren’s Scottish Cup win over Celtic in 1926. Three pages were then devoted to the visiting team players and included a full-page team photo. The current season stats page was followed by “Buddies Talk” and Ian Scanlon was the subject of that issue’s “Saints Profile”. The team line-ups and Half Time Board drew the issue to a close.
With so much varied current and historical content and only a quarter of the programme set aside for adverts, it was no surprise that the issue won the “Most Improved Programme” and “Best Cover” categories in Programme Monthly’s Programme of the Year awards for season 1983/84.