League Cup clashes with the Jags in Paisley
(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Partick Thistle, 7th October 2020)
St. Mirren v Partick T. 1952
St. Mirren have hosted Partick Thistle three times in the League Cup and can boast an undefeated record.
The first of these games was in a sectional match on 16th August 1952, when Saints triumphed by five goals to one. The home side led 1-0 at half time through a George Stewart goal and, despite Alex Stott netting an equaliser for Thistle in the first minute of the second half, further goals from Duncan McGill (2), another from Stewart and one from Sammy Wilson made the points safe. However, both teams failed to progress from the section which was won by Hibernian, with Celtic in second place.
The eight-page programme, issue number 79, was Saints’ standard issue for the season. The match details were on the cover together with a reminder of the next home match against Hibernian (incorrectly termed as a League match). Page two gave the fixture list for the season, whilst pages three and six featured “Club Notes”, discussing the opening tie at home to Celtic on the previous Saturday. The centre page spread displayed the team line ups in 2-3-5 formation which, in the days of smaller squads, were unsurprisingly accurate when compared to the players who actually played. Page seven provided the Half-Time Score Board and the remainder of the programme was occupied by adverts.
Both this issue and the issue for the opening home tie against Celtic the week before are particularly difficult to obtain.
St. Mirren v Partick T. 1957
Five years later, the two teams were paired together at the same stage in the competition, meeting in Paisley on 17th August 1957 before a crowd of 13,000. Saints prevailed once again, but only by a single goal scored from the penalty spot by Willie Telfer in the first minute. Once again, St. Mirren finished third and Partick Thistle bottom in a section where Rangers progressed to the quarter finals and Raith Rovers finished second.
The programme was of the format used by St. Mirren between 1953 and 1965 and consisted of eight pages for a price of threepence. The front cover carried the full match details with the familiar photograph of “Cairter’s Corner”. The Club Notes on page three and six lamented the heavy defeat at Ibrox on the previous weekend, but took heart from the midweek Cup victory over Raith Rovers and also from two reserve team victories against the same two clubs. The centre pages accurately listed the players who took the field and the Half-Time Score Board displayed the corresponding League Cup fixtures for that day.
The most recent clash at Paisley was in the 1980/81 season, by which time the League Cup was being run on a home and away knockout basis. The sides met in the Third Round, Second Leg at Love Street on 24th September, with Thistle holding a 2-0 advantage from the first match. In a somewhat bad tempered affair, Saints tried hard but didn’t look good enough to overturn the deficit and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
St. Mirren v Partick T. 1980
A sixteen-page A5-sized programme was produced for the match, printed black and red on white gloss paper and costing 25p. The St. Mirren match programme was in a state of transition at this time, and this format survived for only twelve issues between August and November 1980.
The front cover provided the match details over an action photo from the League match against Airdrie earlier in the month. Page three also carried a series of photos from recent games. Jim Clunie’s “Team Talk” on page 5 discussed the difficult task facing the team, but took heart from the fact that the side had played well and had created more chances in the recent League match with Thistle. If they were to play as well again, he believed that they could come out on top.
Following some snippets of local news in “Street Scene” on page seven, the centre spread set out the team line-ups and officials. A short feature on Thistle’s League Cup pedigree noted that Jimmy Bone was out to dump his old Firhill team mates, having won the trophy with them in 1971, and John Lapsley, son of Saints’ former captain Davie, was hoping to feature for the Jags. Page eleven presented the local sponsor’s Super Saint Interview with defender John McCormack, together with a number of Halt-Time Teasers and answers.
A message from League Cup sponsors, Bell’s, set out the prize money available to Clubs for each round of the tournament and this was followed by a look back at Saints’ corresponding match in 1979, when they defeated Hamilton Accies 3-1 in a Third Round First Leg tie at Douglas Park. The back page displayed a team photo of the men from Firhill, whilst the remainder of the programme consisted of adverts.