St. Mirren hit Kilmarnock for six - 1980

(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Kilmarnock, 26th September 2020)

The Buddies travelled down to Ayrshire on 4th October 1980 to meet Kilmarnock in a Premier League match on a wave of optimism. Despite a slow start to the League campaign, they were fresh from their midweek UEFA Cup aggregate win over Swedish side Elfsborg and were looking forward to a glamour tie against French outfit St. Etienne in the next round. Kilmarnock were in their own international tournament, being in the middle of a two-legged Anglo-Scottish Cup quarter final tie against Blackpool, but they were struggling badly at the bottom of the Premier League and had shipped eight goals against Rangers in their last home outing in an 8-1 scoreline.

Kilmarnock v St. Mirren 1980

Kilmarnock v St. Mirren 1980

The contrast between the teams was to grow more painfully obvious during the course of the afternoon. When Doug Somner was brought down in the box by Paul Clarke in the ninth minute, he himself sent the resultant penalty in at ‘keeper Jim Brown’s right-hand post to open the scoring. He then followed this up in 24 minutes with a header from a Frank McDougall cross for Saints’ second. Billy Abercromby made it 3-0 in 26 minutes with a spectacular 25 yarder and initiated an exodus of the Killie fans in the 3,897 attendance. Billy Stark rammed home the message when he got St. Mirren’s fourth in 31 minutes and the remaining home support began to contemplate a repeat of the Rangers drubbing from two weeks earlier.

The home side managed to get the ball in the net at the start of the second half, but Bobby Houston’s effort was ruled out for a handball. Shortly afterwards, George Maxwell did his team no favours by being sent off for a second bookable offence. Somner completed his hat-trick with another header from an Iain Munro cross in 50 minutes and six minutes later Frank McDougall took a pass from Peter Weir to make it 6-0. Gordon Cramond’s close range consolation goal for the home side in 67 minutes did little to affect the situation and the match ended 6-1 to St. Mirren.

Kilmarnock’s programme was a 16 page, A5 issue, printed blue and black on white gloss paper. The front page design was used throughout the 1980/81 season and was overprinted with the match details. The cover also featured an action photo, the one for the Saints issue being that of a rare Killie attack on the Rangers goal during the recent heavy defeat at Rugby Park. Page three featured the Kilmarnock Club details, above that of the team line ups and match officials. “What the Papers Say” and “What We Say” collated a handful of contrasting comments on Kilmarnock’s away defeat at Airdrie seven days earlier. There followed a page devoted to the Reserve side, something unique amongst programmes of the time. The Ayrshire Club have, however, always been at the forefront in terms of Reserve coverage and programme production. The centre pages provided First Team statistics, together with “Behind the Scenes” news.

Into the second half of the programme, and there were photos and features on pre-war Killie ‘keeper Johnny Hunter and current youngster James Cockburn. Of most interest to Saints’ fans, page 12 complimented St. Mirren’s season to date and the following page covered the close associations between the Clubs over the years. This included the story of how Saints’ Tommy Bryceland was loaned to the Ayrshire Club to deputise for the injured Bertie Black in the first U.S. invitational tourney in 1960, which featured teams from the U.S., Britain, South America and the Continent. A quiz and Half Time Scoreboard brought the programme to a close.

This issue is not too difficult to obtain, although nowadays it sells for slightly more than the original 20p cover price.