St. Mirren v Motherwell in the Anglo Scottish Cup 1978

(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Motherwell, 9th January 2021)

The Anglo-Scottish Cup was a tournament for English and Scottish Clubs which ran from 1975/76 until 1980/81. St. Mirren were by far the most successful Scottish team to participate, reaching the final in 1978 and being the only one from North of the Border to win it in 1980.

Motherwell v St. Mirren 1978

Motherwell v St. Mirren 1978

For the 1978/79 edition, the sixteen English entrants were whittled down to four quarter-finalists by a series of group matches, whilst the eight Scottish clubs were paired off in four two-legged knockout ties. One of these ties involved St. Mirren and Motherwell.

The first leg took place at Fir Park on Sunday, August 6th 1978 before a crowd of 4,880. Motherwell were the better team in an entertaining first half, mainly due to the brilliant, if at times frustrating runs of Peter Marinello. The only goal of the game came after 17 minutes when a Willie Pettigrew cross found Jim Lindsay, who turned and shot low into the net. Saints came more into the game in the second half, their long balls through the middle causing some apprehension in the home defence, however they were unable to find an equaliser.

A 16-page A5-sized programme was issued for the match, printed black on amber and claret matt paper and priced at 12p. Manager Roger Hynd’s “Hyndsight” discussed the Lanarkshire team’s recent Danish tour and he anticipated a highly competitive match against the Buddies. Page four gave match details from the pre-season tour and the opposite page introduced the men in charge of the Fir Park reserve squad, one of whom was former Saints favourite Cammy Murray. More backroom staff introductions appeared on pages six and seven and were followed by two pages of pre-season training photos. Club news and supporter’s information were followed by a page on the St. Mirren squad and a fixture list and team line-ups brought the issue to a close.

For the second leg at Love Street three days later, St. Mirren issued a similar sized programme costing 15p. This was printed in black on white matt paper, with various flashes of red spot colour throughout. The cover displayed the full match details, together with an action photo from one of the previous season’s matches between the sides.

St. Mirren v Motherwell 1078

St. Mirren v Motherwell 1978

Page three gave new manager Jim Clunie the opportunity to greet the fans in his first competitive match at Love Street. He aimed to put St. Mirren on the map, not just in Scotland, but throughout the rest of the country and saw progress in the Anglo-Scottish Cup as the best way to get noticed. Two pages on the visitors detailed how they had been busy in the transfer market over the summer. This was followed by features on Frank McGarvey’s influence in the previous season’s matches against Motherwell and on Bobby Torrance’s scoring feats in the pre-season matches against Hamilton and Southampton.

The centre pages unveiled the Buddies’ team photo for the new season and this was flanked by the team line-ups for the evening encounter. The previous season’s appearance records then preceded a preview of Saints’ forthcoming league opener against Rangers at Ibrox. The full fixture list for the season completed the issue, which contained four pages of adverts.

Saints opened the match brightly and had a couple of near things before missing a golden opportunity to level the tie after 10 minutes. Motherwell’s Stuart McLaren conceded a penalty when he handled a Frank McGarvey header, but Jimmy Bone’s spot kick soared over the bar.

The breakthrough came after 18 minutes when a Billy Stark cross was missed by McGarvey but Derek Hyslop, racing in from behind, managed to clip the ball past Dave Latchford in the visitors’ goal. Twenty minutes later, McGarvey’s header from another Stark cross put Saints ahead. Arguably the best goal of the night came just two minutes later when Alex Beckett teamed up with McGarvey for a move down the right wing and the full back’s low, hard cross was touched into the net by Stark.

Motherwell were livelier in the second period, but never looked like producing a stunning comeback and indeed Saints could have extended their lead with chances for McGarvey and Hyslop. The visitors’ night was made more miserable four minutes from time, when Marinello, who had already been booked, was sent off for a foul on McGarvey.

Both programmes are fairly easy to obtain at reasonable prices.