St Johnstone v Cowdenbeath in the Scottish Cup

The forthcoming Scottish Cup match between Cowdenbeath and St Johnstone will be only the 3rd time these old adversaries have been drawn against each other in this particular competition. On both previous occasions the first match at Central Park has been drawn resulting in a replay being required.

The first meeting was back in Season 1930/31 when the Fifers were in the First Division and Saints in the Second League. A blizzard had caused postponement of the Second Round match due to be played at the end of January and the game got underway on the following Wednesday 4th February. Some 5,500 spectators ( paying £196 ) turned up to watch their favourites play on a hard, snow covered pitch, with the lines being swept.

Match reports at the time indicate this was very much a game of 2 halves with the home team having the upper hand in the first half and taking the lead in 12 minutes through former Saints player Jim Paterson. Poor finishing and some brilliant goalkeeping by Sandy McLaren kept the scoreline to 1 – 0 at half time. However the second period was a completely different affair with Saints very much in the ascendancy. A John Cameron header after 67 minutes put Saints back on level terms and whilst both teams went all out for the winner the match ended in a 1 – 1 draw.

Saints team that day was : – McLaren, Steele, Hogg, Ferguson, Pryde, McBain, Nicholson, Deuchar, Cameron, Miller, Tierney.

In addition to Jim Paterson the Cowdenbeath side also included former Saints players, Tim Glancy and Jimmy Black.

The replay took place the following Wednesday on a muddy Muirton Park before a crowd of 5,358. Whilst the 4 – 0 scoreline may have been a bit flattering to Cowdenbeath there is no doubt they were the better team on the day and that they fully deserved their win.

Manager David Taylor made some changes to his team including an old Saint coming back on loan from Dundee for this match. As a youngster Jock Whyte had been with Saints in the 1920’s before playing for both Everton and Blackburn Rovers. However, his experience was not enough to make the difference the Manager had been hoping for.

The game itself was of exciting end to end play until Jim Paterson put the visitors ahead just before half time. A similar trend followed in the second half with both sets of forwards trying strenuously to score. However, a rather fortunate ricochet off of Hamill’s legs saw the ball rebound into the Saints net and the game was effectively over. Further goals on the break from Higgins and Hamill made the final score more emphatic than it might have been.

Saints team : – McLaren, Steele, Hogg, Whyte, Bain, McBain, Deuchar, Nicholson, Cameron, Ferguson, Tierney.

In 1965/66 the Scottish draw again produced a Second Round tie. This time Saints were the First Division team with Cowdenbeath in the Second Division.

Cowden, had required 2 replays to see off Arbroath in the 2nd Preliminary round before causing a major upset by defeating First Leaguers St Mirren
1 – 0 in the first round proper. The Paisley men had won the cup only seven years earlier.

On the other hand a struggling Saints team had needed a second half equalizer from Gordon Whitelaw in the First Round tie at Somerset Park to earn a replay against Second Division Ayr United. Arctic weather had a firm grip on Scotland at the time and a group of volunteers were required to sweep snow from the Muirton pitch ( no undersoil heating in those days ) to enable the replay to go ahead. 3,900 hardy souls saw a second minute Bobby Kemp goal enable Saints to progress on a treacherous pitch on a very cold February night.

The severe weather had continued and after many postponements the match at Central Park eventually got underway in front of 3,328 fans on Monday 28 February. Saints were 3 – 1 up with 10 minutes to go after goals from Bobby Kemp and 2 from Jim Kerray had effectively put them on easy street. However, two goals in 2 minutes by Clark and Millar brought equality and 6 nervous minutes for Manager Bobby Brown and his team.

The Saints team that evening was : – McVittie, Michie, Coburn, McCarry, Miller, Renton, Cowan, Whitelaw, Kerray, Duffy, Kemp.

The replay was held at Muirton the following evening when goals from Bobby Kemp, Willie Renton and Gordon Whitelaw saw Saints progress 3 – 0 in what was a somewhat tousy match.

The only team change for the replay was Ron McKinven coming in for George Miller who had made his Saints debut the night before.

The Quarter finals then paired Saints with Rangers at Ibrox on the Saturday where a single Alex Willoughby goal brought an end to that Season’s Scottish Cup campaign.

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Premier League – HOME Goal 300 Coming UP

Dave Mackay’s goal in the recent 1 – 1 draw with Ross County at McDiarmid Park was the 298th goal scored at home by a St Johnstone player in the Premier League.

With Wednesday night’s match against Hibernian it is quite possible that they will score 2 goals and hit the 300th landmark.

From the record books, the first Premier League home goal was scored by John Muir in a 1 – 0 win over Dundee United at Muirton Park on 31 August 1975.

It was not until the 12 December 1992 before Paul Wright notched the 100th goal. This time at McDiarmid Park in a 1 – 1 draw against Hearts.

The 200th was Momo Sylla’s superb winner against Rangers in a 2 – 1 on 22 October 2000.

Which of the present team will make history and score number 300?

Liam Craig – 200th Game Coming Up

Should Liam Craig appear for St Johnstone against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday it will be his 200th appearance for the Saints.

In summary his appearances and goals by Season are: –

Season Starts Subs Goals

2007/08 Div 1 24 0 4
2008/09 Div 1 34 4 6
2009/10 SPL 28 9 10
2010/11 SPL 35 6 6
2011/12 SPL 41 0 7
2012/13 SPL 17 1 3

Totals 179 20 36

When Derek McInnes became Manager of Saints in November 2007, following Owen Coyle’s moved to Burnley, Liam was one of Derek’s first signings. Initially he joined from Falkirk on a 1 month loan basis but was quickly offered a contract until the end of the 2007/08 Season. Since then he has become a fixture in the first team being part of the promotion winning squad in 2009 and helping to consolidate the team’s Premier League position.

St Johnstone first entered the Scottish League in 1911 and since then only 39 players have achieved over 200 appearances so Liam will join a prestigious club. Of the current squad only Steven Anderson has more with 213 starts plus 26 subs and 5 goals.

Whilst Liam has a bit to go to reach Alan Main’s record of 361 appearances he will join such famous names as John O’Neil ( 224 ) Paul Sheerin ( 231 ) Alex Rennie ( 254 ) and Willie Coburn ( 324 ).

His record of 36 goals including 12 penalties is impressive for a player who has played mainly in midfield but has also filled the left full back position on numerous occasions. He was top scorer in 2008/09 and joint top scorer with Kenny Deuchar in 2009/10.

Perhaps his best and most valuable goal was at East End Park in 2008 when Saints won 2 – 1 against title rivals Dunfermline Athletic.

He is very much a key player in Steve Lomas current squad and in this time of players moving frequently he is to be congratulated on both his achievement and his club loyalty.