Joe Carr was signed by Saints Manager Johnny Pattillo in 1953 from Dunipace Juniors. He had previously played for Kilsyth St Pats and Bonnybridge Rose.
Joe made his debut on the 17th October of that year against Ayr United at Somerset Park in a match that Saints won 4 – 3. The goalscorers that day were Doug Newlands and Ian Rodger who hit a hat trick.
Saints team was: – Roy MacLaren, Jimmy Woodcock, Jimmy Cairns, Davie Mackie, Bill Riddick, Archie Baird, Doug Newlands, Ernie Ewen, Ian Rodger, Jackie Landles and Joe Carr.
Joe went on to make a total of 229 appearances for Saints which places him as 30th equal alongwith Ernie Ewen in the all time appearances list.
His 70 goals puts him 8th equal in the all time goalscorers list with Harry Ferguson ( pre War ) and Gordon Whitelaw (1965 – 1973 ).
One of the highlights of his career was scoring the first goal in a Second Division match at Shieldfield Park, Berwick on 26 April 1960, when Bobby Brown’s team won 2 – 0 to gain promotion to the First Division.
Saints team that day was: – Billy Taylor, Charlie McFadyen, Billy Hawthorne, Jimmy Walker, Bobby Brown, John Docherty, Ian Gardiner, Norrie Innes, Johnny Liddell, Willie Haughey, Joe Carr.
The following week Saints were crowned Champions finishing the Season on 53 points 3 ahead of runners up Dundee United.
St Johnstone were Joe’s only senior club and during his time at Muirton Park he played with many fine players including, as well as those mentioned above, Billy Hodgson ( who went on to Sheffield United ) , George Whitelaw ( who moved to Sunderland ), and a latterly a young Alex Ferguson.
Joe also took penalties. One particular story that sticks in my mind was that in early 1961, during a midweek match at Easter Road, Saints were one goal down, and nearing half time. Doug Newlands was fouled in the box and the ref awarded a penalty. Hibs goalie Ronnie Simpson had a routine at penalties when he would stand a couple of steps to the side of the centre of his goal inviting the taker to aim for the “big” gap. He would then leap across goal to save. Joe stepped up and took the spot kick slamming the ball into the “small” space and at the same time watching Simpson dive the wrong way. This was the first time that Simpson had been beaten by a spot kick in seven penalties.
I don’t know if they had mind games in those days, but if they did, then Joe won that contest hands down.
As a thank you for his many years of loyal service Joe received a benefit match in 1962 when Falkirk provided the opposition.
A nice touch that evening was that Charlie McFadyen held back the rest of the team to allow Joe to take the ovation of the 4,000 crowd.
Saints team that night was : – Billy Taylor, Charlie McFadyen, Jim Lachlan, Jimmy Walker, Jim Ferguson, Ron McKinven, Jim Menzies, Ronnie Wright, Bob Gilfillan, John Bell, Joe Carr. Subs were Bobby Grant and Matt McVittie. Bobby Grant is, of course, Roddy Grant’s father. Merely for the record Saints won 2 – 1.
After his retirement he joined the Club’s coaching staff.
Joe was inducted into the St Johnstone Hall of Fame on Saturday night, an award that he richly deserves. Now in his 80’s, unfortunately, he was unable to attend in person but his son ( also ) Joe accepted the award on his behalf.