St. Mirren v Rangers 2007/08

(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Rangers, 30th December 2020)

St. Mirren v Rangers 2007

St. Mirren v Rangers 2007 (original ticket)

The fixture list for the 2007/08 season was published on June 14th 2007 and determined that St. Mirren would meet Rangers only once at Love Street during the first 33 matches. However, the date of the fixture changed no fewer than four times throughout the season, causing confusion and mystery all along the way.

Three weeks after the fixture launch, TV broadcaster Setanta Sports announced details of their first sixteen live matches, causing a number of date and time changes. Included was the St. Mirren v Rangers match, which moved from Saturday 10th to Sunday 11th November with a 2pm kick off. The revised date was included in the fixtures page of the Saints’ programme, however the news was overlooked by the Rangers match programme, which continued to list the original date in all of their issues up until mid-October.

The Premier League fixtures had made provision for three blank Saturdays between September and November 2007 to accommodate the Scottish international team’s attempt to reach the EURO 2008 Finals. With qualification dependant on the outcome of the final match at home to Italy on 17th November, an additional request was granted to postpone the St. Mirren v Rangers clash to allow more time for those involved in the international to prepare, despite the fact that tickets had already been sold for the Paisley game.

The match was rescheduled for Tuesday 8th January, again for a TV audience. However, heavy rain throughout the day in Paisley cast doubt on the proceedings. Referee Stewart Dougal confirmed the worst after a pitch inspection only a couple of hours before kick-off, prompting complaints from fans already on their way to the match. However, the decision had the support of both managers, who had the players' safety uppermost in their minds.

St. Mirren v Rangers 2008

St. Mirren v Rangers 2008

The January match saw issue number 13 of the 48-page Saints programme for the season. Gus MacPherson’s notes were followed by the SPL Round-Up for week 18 of the campaign. “View from the North Bank” focussed on recent acquisition Franco Miranda, and photo action from the Ibrox encounter in August preceded stats and pen pictures of the Rangers squad. “The Wright Angle” discussed the introduction of Junior teams into the 2008 Scottish Cup and Jim Hamilton’s “It Happened This Day” looked at matches played on or around the 11th November, so it had clearly been prepared for the unpublished programme on the original fixture date! “Last Time Out” reported on the December clash between Saints and Dundee United and the centre page spread contained an action photo of the aforementioned Argentinian, Miranda. “The Love Street Years” used the recently announced plans for the new stadium at Greenhill Road to recall the ground developments at the Love Street site in 1921. Part 8 of “Joy and Despair” featured Saints’ fortunes in 1987, while “Hall of Fame” looked at the career of Mark Yardley. Photo action from the recent home match against Aberdeen, along with stats, kit sponsors and team listings completed the £2.50 programme.

St. Mirren v Rangers 2008

St. Mirren v Rangers 2008
(wraparound cover)

The international breaks and incredibly bad weather, together with the untimely passing of Motherwell captain Phil O’Donnell in December had already contributed to a general fixture backlog, and Rangers’ continued progress in domestic Cup tournaments and that season’s UEFA Cup competition made rescheduling the Paisley match a real problem.

In the end, the SPL granted a four-day extension to the league season and the match was eventually scheduled for Monday 19th May. This was St. Mirren’s last match of the season, whilst Rangers had one more league match and a Scottish Cup Final to follow within the week. Boyd scored from close range for Rangers after four minutes and Stephen O’Donnell’s defensive slip allowed Darcheville in for a second goal before half time. The Frenchman latched on to a Ferguson through ball in the second half to make the final score 3-0 to the visitors and bring a close to St. Mirren’s final full season at Love Street.

The match saw the re-issue of the January programme with an eight-page wraparound cover. This featured updated Love Street news, a Matchday Gallery from the visit of Gretna on 10th May, a two-page review of Rangers’ 2007/08 season, and a page of stats, focussing on the Reserve and Under-19 team fixtures and results. The cover bore no issue number or price.

The original programme can be found on dealer’s lists from time to time, but at a higher than cover price, whilst the wraparound cover for the May fixture is a much rarer item and collectors would expect to pay a high price for it if, and when, one does appear.