The Net Bulges for the Last Time at Love Street (2008)

(first published in the double-issue match programme for St. Mirren v Kilmarnock 27th December 2023 and St. Mirren v Celtic, 2nd January 2024)

St. Mirren v Hamilton Accies 2008

St. Mirren v Hamilton Accies 2008

On 27th December 2008, as time ticked away on the last days at Love Street, St. Mirren welcomed Hamilton Accies for a Premier League match. Saints were on a three-game winning run which had taken them from bottom spot up to eighth place in the league, four points ahead of the bottom four teams all on 17 points. Hamilton now propped up the division with the poorest of the goal differences.

The St. Mirren publication for the first half of the 2008/09 season was a full colour 56-page issue measuring around 24cm by 17cm. The front cover displayed the sponsorship and match details and featured a different player for each game, issue no. 11 for the Hamilton game being Andy Dorman.

Dorman was singled out for praise in Gus MacPherson's notes on page 3, where he reviewed the team's performances in the previous two matches against Inverness Caley Thistle and Kilmarnock. He commented on the tightness of the current league standings and emphasised how vital it was to take points from every team, all of whom were capable of beating each other.

After providing an update on the team's injury situation, the Manager welcomed Billy Reid and his Hamilton side to St. Mirren Park and wished all fans a Happy New Year.

Jim Hamilton's "It Happened This Day" covered home draws against Queen of the South in 1958 and Hearts in 1968, a defeat at Ibrox in 1978 and a goalless draw against Accies in 1998, played at Firhill Park. Meanwhile in "Football Bloody Hell", Alan Gallacher discussed the reaction to players returning to their former clubs.

Photo action from Saints' recent 2-0 victory over Inverness preceded a three-page review of the visiting team and Campbell Kennedy's "St. Mirren Corporate" page.

Brian Wright's "Wright Angle" allowed him to depart from the usual topics and run riot with his imagination concerning the St. Mirren Christmas Party.

Coming back to reality, David Grier's "A View from the North Bank" - soon to seek a new name - looked forward to the forthcoming trip to Brechin in the Scottish Cup while Jim Crawford's "Attic Attack" focussed on issues from various Five-A-Side and Youth Tournaments from the past, many of which had fed the conveyor belt of talent into the First Team.

Following a centre-page image of Garry Brady competing against opponents from Inverness, Brian Wright returned to footballing topics with his "Love Street Years" piece and the Supporter's Trust provided various snippets of news directly impacting the fans.

"And Another Thing" by Stewart Gillespie looked at technology and mentioned the forthcoming introduction of the Referee's spray for use at free-kicks. The bulk of the article looked at the debate surrounding video replays and, fifteen years on, it is very interesting to compare and contrast the perceived issues then and what we know now.

Craig Dargo nets the last goal to be scored at Love Street

Craig Dargo nets the last goal to be scored at Love Street

"Friends Reunited" discussed the recent visit of six fans from Belgian side KV Mechelen, who were Saints' opponents in the 1987 European Cup Winners' Cup, and the continuing ties between the two Clubs.

Images from Saints recent visit to Rugby Park and from the hospitality presentations following the Inverness match preceded the usual pages of statistics, appearances, kit sponsorship and Team Lines. There were twenty-one pages of adverts.

A crowd of 4,794 saw St Mirren almost take the lead inside two minutes but Dennis Wyness saw his effort blocked by Tomas Cerny and then Andy Dorman headed over the bar. The hosts increased the pressure throughout the first half, first when Franco Miranda struck narrowly wide from a Garry Brady corner, then when Brady himself had a shot cleared after Stephen McGinn's cross was headed on by Jim Hamilton.

However, Accies could have taken a surprise lead when an Anthony Stevenson free-kick on the right was headed on to the far post and reached Chris Swailes, but he just failed to divert it into the net.

The St. Mirren players celebrate Dargo's goal

The St. Mirren players celebrate Dargo's goal

Immediately following the restart, the visitors' Richard Offiong tried his luck with a powerful drive from outside the box but it flew narrowly wide of the right post.

Andy Dorman was unfortunate not to put St Mirren ahead on the hour when he cut inside from the left and unleashed a powerful drive, but Cerny tipped it away.

Ten minutes after replacing Dennis Wyness, substitute Craig Dargo finally put the Paisley side in front. Andy Dorman broke free and threaded a pass to Jack Ross who crossed in for Dargo to coolly fire home from close range for the only goal of the match.

The following week saw a goal-less draw with Motherwell and this meant that Dargo's strike was the last goal ever to be scored at Love Street in its 115-year history.