First Programme issues for Saints v Saints – 1960/61
(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v St. Johnstone, 29th August 2021)
St. Mirren v St. Johnstone 1960
It’s hard to believe that St. Mirren and St. Johnstone did not meet in a competitive post-war fixture until the 1960/61 season. The Clubs had managed to avoid each other in Cup competitions and the Perth Saints only gained promotion to the First Division in 1960. In fact, the sides had only met twice in friendlies since 1939, both of them at Muirton Park in 1949 and 1950.
Thus, on 19th November 1960, the sides met at Love Street in a First Division match and saw the issue of the first known programme between the sides. The twelve-page issue, number 226, was the standard publication of the late 1950s and 1960s. The front cover carried the full match details below a photo of “Cairter’s Corner” and advertised the next home match at Love Street, a Reserve League clash against Ayr United.
Page two was dominated by adverts, but carried a small note to promote the sale of Development Fund tickets. The Club Notes on pages three and four bemoaned Saints’ position at the bottom of the table and commented that this was largely due to the loss of early goals in matches. It was irrelevant how gallantly the side played after that – the damage had been done and points were inevitably dropped. However, the stated intention was to leave nothing undone to give the supporters the sort of team and entertaining football that they deserved, sentiments which were echoed by Manager Willie Reid in his “From The Manager’s Desk” column.
The centre pages displayed the team lines, surrounded by adverts. These were produced too early to include Saints’ new signing from Kilmarnock, goalkeeper Jimmy Brown, in place of Bobby Williamson and the inclusion of Jim Thomson at left-half, replacing John Frye. The Perth side published was the one that took the field.
Page seven listed the fixtures for the season, above a paragraph of Supporters’ Club News. John Frye and Tommy Bryceland were pictured on page eight, above a piece which discussed their contrasting styles in attacking play. The half-time scoreboard on page eleven provided the only other content, the remainder of the issue being devoted to adverts.
A crowd of 10,000 witnessed a rather unsatisfactory affair, where one observer noted that the goalkeepers saw plenty of the ball, but mainly for goal-kicks, and the match finished goalless.
St. Johnstone v St. Mirren 1961
The St. Johnstone programme for the return fixture at Muirton Park on 25th March 1961 was an eight-page issue, slightly larger than A5 size, and printed blue on white matt paper. This style and format of this programme would be retained until the mid-1970s and, to the frustration of collectors, omitted the year from the front cover match details. “Notes and Comments”, covering page 3 and parts of pages 6 and 7, focussed on the Perth side’s relegation battle with Clyde, Ayr United and Raith Rovers. It was hoped that they could atone for their heavy defeat to Dunfermline on the previous Saturday and test their resolve against St. Mirren, deemed “probably the most improved team in the First Division”. It was safe to say that the main aim of the Muirton side was to retain their new found status in the top flight.
In common with the Love Street programme, the team line-ups occupied the centre pages. The St. Mirren team fielded two changes from that listed, Jim McFadzean and Don Kerrigan replacing Jim Rodger and Bert Henderson. The home side showed no fewer than four changes. The back page displayed the half-time scoreboard, featuring sixteen fixtures from the First and Second Division matches.
Whilst the Love Street programme is relatively easy to obtain, the issue from Perth is somewhat harder to find and, as a consequence, will command a higher price tag.
A crowd of 8,000 saw St. Mirren come to the fore in the first half of the match, with Tommy Bryceland the driving force in the attack which always seemed to have the home defence on edge. In the 49th minute, McFadyen brought down Alistair Miller in the penalty box and Jim Clunie netted from the resultant spot kick. Only a minute later, the sides were level when another penalty was awarded for Ian Riddell’s handball during a St. Johnstone attack and Joe Carr placed the spot kick well out of Jimmy Brown’s reach. Despite an improved performance from the home side, St. Mirren held on for a 1-1 draw.