Saints survive a Thunderstorm to beat Dundee - 1983

(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Dundee, 30th October 2021)

St. Mirren v Dundee 1983

St. Mirren v Dundee 1983

Dundee visited St. Mirren at a rain-soaked Love Street on Saturday, 7th May 1983 for both Clubs’ penultimate match of the League season. Saints were still hoping to secure a top five place in the Premier League and possible qualification for the following season’s UEFA Cup.

The St. Mirren programme was a sixteen-page, B5-sized issue, printed black on white gloss paper throughout and featured a colour photo of goalkeeper Billy Thomson on the cover, along with the match details and cover price of 30p.

Inside, two pages were devoted to Skipper Mark Fulton’s end of season message to the fans. He urged them to forget the disappointments of the season just ending and to look forward to 1983/84, remarking that it showed how much the Club had progressed when a League Cup quarter final, a Scottish Cup semi-final and a fifth-place finish in the League were regarded as a failure.

“Paisley Past”, sponsored by Cowan’s Manshops, focussed on the 1958 Paisley Charity Cup match in which Saints defeated Brentford 4-1 at Love Street. The opposite page provided the present-day team pools and officials, together with a checklist of the other Scottish League fixtures being played.

Page 7 featured photos of Saints’ players Ian Scanlon and Tony Fitzpatrick, alongside details of the previous eleven meetings between St. Mirren and Dundee since their first Premier League meeting in 1979/80.

The centre page spread was devoted to the visitors, displaying a team photo above a comprehensive look at the Dundee playing squad. A mixture of news items followed, and were interspersed with the current League tables and scorers for both the first team and Reserves. A detailed “Reserve Review” from coach Eddie McDonald highlighted the progress of some players who would soon become regulars in the first team including Campbell Money, a photo of whom was included in the feature.

Love Street favourite Doug Somner was the subject of “Star Saint” and listed the striker’s replies to a series of general questions. It was no surprise to learn that his favourite colours were black and white and that his most difficult opponent was Willie Miller of Aberdeen.

The issue, which contained five pages of adverts, was rounded off with a list of St. Mirren’s fixtures, team line-ups and scorers for the season.

A crowd of 2,322 saw Dundee take the lead through a wonderful strike from Cammy Fraser after 15 minutes. However, the match only survived another seven minutes of play before Referee Alistair Huett of Edinburgh called a halt to the proceedings amid a thunderstorm and a flooding pitch.

The Paisley Directors decided to grant free admission for the rearranged game on Monday 9th May and this gesture, combined with a dry sunny evening, attracted an enlarged crowd of 6,000. Saints took the lead in 14 minutes through Alan Logan, but substitute Peter Mackie equalised for the Dens Park men in 77 minutes. Despite a late onslaught by the visitors, Frank McDougall secured the points and a fifth-place League finish for St. Mirren with a last-minute winner.

The original programme was re-issued for the rearranged match without any update. Incidentally, the St. Mirren programme won the “Best Cover” section of the “Programme of the Year” awards run by “Programme Monthly” magazine, and was also well placed in the overall category, won by Dundee’s publication.

Two days later, victory for Aberdeen in the European Cup Winners Cup Final in Gothenburg against Real Madrid gave Scotland an additional European place, to be taken by St. Mirren in the UEFA Cup of 1983/84.