St. Mirren Complete a Tannadice Double - 1989

(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Dundee U., 11th September 2022)

Dundee United v St. Mirren 1989

Dundee United v St. Mirren 1989

St. Mirren travelled to Tannadice on Saturday 11th March 1989 looking to complete their first away double in the Premier League over Dundee United, having won 1-0 at the same ground in the previous October. The Buddies’ League form had been inconsistent at best, but they were still within striking distance of Hibernian in the chase for UEFA Cup qualification.

Dundee United issued a compact 32-page programme, predominately printed black on white gloss paper with orange spot colour inside and packed with club news, features and a wealth of statistics and match reports. The focus was understandably Tayside-biased, but the issue suffered a little from a lack of coverage on the visiting team.

The full colour cover featured the full match details below photos of the team and venue, and also included the Match Sponsor for the day, Radio Tay. “Scene Setter” remarked on how United’s away form (which had included three victories at Love Street) could not be matched by their results at home. Despite this, Saints had been the last team to beat United domestically and they were now on an undefeated run of 15 matches - a fact not lost on Manager Jim McLean in his Manager’s notes. With UEFA Cup places up for grabs, he conceded that both sides still had a lot to play for.

Two pages of “Tannadice Topics” highlighted an upturn in attendances at Reserve matches, due to the recent good form of the youngsters in League and Cup matches. Photo action from United’s recent Scottish Cup-Tie with Aberdeen was followed by an interview with Tannadice groundsman Jimmy Fox. Match reports of United’s previous two home matches were headlined by images of the programme covers and full season statistics completed the first half of the issue.

The centre pages provided the only real content of interest to St. Mirren fans. In the team line-ups, David Winnie took the field instead of the listed Peter Godfrey and there were two changes from the proposed home team. Following a welcome to the visitors, there was a review of Saints’ season and results to date, together with a list of previous Premier League results between the Clubs.

More photo action from the Aberdeen Cup tie was followed by a review of European Competition quarter-final matches in “European Scene”. “Pictorial Archives” featured a photo from Saints’ first ever Premier League visit to Tannadice in August 1977 and the subject of “Spotlight” was United’s Yugoslav midfielder Miodrag Krivokapic. “Reserve Review” covered United’s recent win against a strong Hearts side and listed the fixtures and results for the season, whilst “On This Day” looked back on previous years’ events on 11th March, none of which appeared to involve St. Mirren.

George Shaw nets Saints' second goal

George Shaw nets Saints' second goal

The match itself attracted a crowd of 8,320 and turned out to be, in Tony Fitzpatrick’s words “one of the most satisfying performances since my appointment as Manager”. The Buddies took the lead within 50 seconds when Paul Hegarty tried to clear an awkward George Shaw cross, but succeeded only in heading past his own ‘keeper, former Paisley custodian Billy Thomson. The Tangerines levelled midway through the first half when Maurice Malpas scrambled the ball home after good work from Paul Sturrock on the left. A Paul Lambert goal-line clearance and a Paul Chalmers strike off the outside of the post were notable first-half incidents.

In the second half, St. Mirren really took control of the match. In 51 minutes, a slack clearance from Thomson found George Shaw on the halfway line and he surged forward unchallenged to fire home from 25 yards. Another Shaw foray in 74 minutes led to interplay between Ian Cameron and Paul Chalmers with the latter scoring Saints’ third. Five minutes later, a swift counter-attack released Frank McGarvey on the right and his cut-back was hammered home from 12 yards by Keith Walker to make the final score 4-1 to St. Mirren.