A Victorious Trip to Douglas Park 1953
(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Hamilton, 1st May 2021)
Hamilton v St. Mirren 1953
On Boxing Day 1953, St. Mirren travelled to Douglas Park to take on Hamilton in a Division “A” match. Saints were sitting comfortably in mid-table, but were hoping for an upturn in the fortunes that had seen them lose their previous two matches to Celtic and Aberdeen, shipping eight goals in the process. Despite their bottom of the league placing, Accies had started to recover from a miserable start to the season to win their last two matches against Aberdeen and Raith Rovers, and were still within striking distance of Falkirk and Airdrie in the places above them.
Hamilton produced an 8 page, A5 programme, printed red on white throughout on matt paper and costing threepence. The front cover showed an action picture, sandwiched between the roll-call of Directors and Officials and the full match details, including the 2.15pm kick-off time in these pre-floodlight days.
Page two carried the team line-ups in the contemporary 2-3-5 formation of the day. Whilst the home team was as published, there were changes in the St. Mirren line-up, with Mallan taking over Telfer’s position at centre-half and Blyth, Telfer and Liddell replacing Stewart, McGill and McGuigan in the forward line.
Supporters’ Club Notes occupied page three and included news that, just prior to kick-off, the home Club would be presented with the Division “B” runners-up flag attained in the previous season. It was also noted that their Annual Dance was being postponed until February, as the players would be unable to attend due to the heavy programme of December fixtures.
The centre pages displayed the mandatory Half-Time Scoreboard for the other fifteen Scottish League games being played that day and was surrounded by adverts from local patrons.
Pages six and seven featured “From the Editor’s Desk”, in which Hamilton’s recently appointed Manager Jackie Cox (later to manage Saints) gave his introductory message to the fans. There was also a welcome to St. Mirren, who were making their return to Douglas Park for the first time in over seven years. The bottom of page seven displayed the Division “A” and “B” League tables, whilst the back page listed Accies’ fixtures and results for the season so far.
Hamilton opened the match strongly, with Young and Cunning continually causing problems for Bob Park in the Saints goal. In a first half dominated by the home side, the only respite for Saints came when Tommy Gemmell was fouled on his way through to goal and Davie Lapsley fired the resultant free-kick narrowly past the post.
It was all change in the second half, with Saints immediately going on the attack. Eddie Blyth dashed through to fire a vicious shot, but Houston did well to save. After 50 minutes, St. Mirren made the breakthrough in fortunate circumstances. Jackie Neilson sent in a high lob from the wing which Houston could only turn on to the post. Gemmell, lying handy, prodded home the rebound.
Hamilton immediately retaliated, and for several minutes laid siege to the Saints goal. However, after 61 minutes, St. Mirren doubled their lead and again there was an element of fortune about it. Willie Telfer miskicked in front of goal, but the ball fell to the unmarked Gemmell, who promptly drove the ball into the net.
The home side thought their luck had changed when they were awarded a late penalty, but Park easily stopped Brown’s effort from the spot and the score remained Hamilton 0 St. Mirren 2.