Saints in a scoring mood against the Jags - 1959

(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Partick Thistle, 25th July 2021)

St. Mirren v Partick T. 1959

St. Mirren v Partick T. 1959

With St. Mirren and Partick Thistle both receiving byes in the First Round of the 1958/59 Scottish Cup on 31st January 1959, the Clubs agreed to use the free day to bring forward their Love Street League clash from later in the season. As fate would have it, the match suffered a late call-off due to heavy frost.

The Buddies had already produced the usual eight-page programme for the match, priced threepence, and the front cover of issue 191 carried the full match details, together with information on the next home fixture against Rangers, scheduled for the following Saturday.

The “Club Notes” welcomed the men from Maryhill and predicted an exciting game, as Thistle had improved throughout the season and were currently sitting in sixth place in the table. Meanwhile, the Saints were gradually overcoming their main bogey in matches against the Glasgow teams and had achieved good results against Clyde, Celtic and Third Lanark earlier in the season. The continuation of this run with the forthcoming visits of Partick Thistle and Rangers would really give them something to shout about.

There was disappointment that the previous Wednesday evening’s League match against Motherwell had been postponed within an hour of kick-off due to fog, as it would have seen the first match at Love Street under the new floodlights. There was also disappointing news for Bobby Holmes, who had waited 21 months to make his comeback from injury in the recent match against Clyde – and promptly picked up another muscle strain!

The centre pages displayed the proposed team lines, surrounded by adverts, and the only other content consisted of the half-time scoreboard for that day’s Scottish Cup ties.

Curiously - for programme collectors at least - there are two different versions of this particular issue. In the first, the content followed the usual order with the “Club Notes” on pages 3 and 6, the team line-ups on pages 4 and 5, and the half-time scoreboard on page 7. The second version reversed the order of pages 2, 3, 6 and 7, whilst retaining the original content of these pages. Clearly something strange occurred during the printing process, as these issues were usually produced as one sheet and then cut and folded as necessary.

With the postponement of the match, the fixture reverted to its original scheduled date of April 4th, 1959. However, St. Mirren’s successful progress in the Scottish Cup caused the match to be postponed again. Followers of the Club history will have already spotted the significance of this as the date of Saints’ famous 4-0 humiliation of Celtic in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final.

A crowd of 8,000 turned up at Love Street on Tuesday, April 8th to hail the newly-installed Cup Finalists. Neither side could claim the ascendancy in the early stages, although Saints did have two promising attacks halted by offside decisions. In the 12th minute however, McParland latched on to a Dunlevy pass to find his way through a static St. Mirren defence and open the scoring for Thistle. Jags’ goalkeeper Ledgerwood then gifted Saints the equaliser within a minute when he failed to clear his lines and presented Baker with the easiest of tasks to net. Davie Laird put the home side ahead five minutes later when he benefitted from Alistair Miller's persistence to shoot home. However, on the half hour, Wilson gained parity for the visitors following good midfield work by McParland and MacKenzie.

The second half saw some more end-to-end play and both goalkeepers displayed good form. However, Ledgerwood was beaten in the 61st minute when Don Kerrigan shot strongly from Laird’s pass and Laird himself scored St. Mirren’s fourth goal five minutes from time. Smith gave Thistle some consolation with the best goal of the match in the 89th minute to make the final score 4-3 to Saints.

Unfortunately, no programme exists bearing the details of the rearranged match.