Previous Cup Encounters With Livingston

Tomorrow’s match with Livingston is the sixth time Saints have met their opponents in Cup competitions. The previous five meetings in the Scottish and League Cups have resulted in Saints winning 2 and our visitors coming out on top on 3 occasions.

The first meeting between the teams was in the 2nd Round of the Coca Cola sponsored League Cup at McDiarmid Park on 19 August 1995. On a hot Saturday afternoon a crowd of 2,226 watched as a 38th minute George O’Boyle strike levelled matters after Bailey had put “Livi” ahead with only 8 minutes on the clock. In the second half Saints piled on the pressure but chance after chance was scorned. There seemed more danger to the fans in the stand behind the goal rather than see the net bulging. At the end of the match a jubilant Jim Leishman saw his newly formed Third Division team create a major upset when they won 4 – 2 on penalties after extra time. Not a good day at the office for Paul Sturrock.

Saints team that day was: – Main, McQuillan, Preston, Griffin, Irons, McGowne, Scott, Grant, Twaddle, O’Boyle, Farquhar. Subs: – Cherry, O’Neil, McLean.

Saints fared much better in the next meeting – a Scottish Cup 4th round tie at Almondvale on 13 February 1999. Saints host were now riding high in the Second Division and had knocked out Premier League side Aberdeen in the previous round at Pittodrie. A record crowd of 5,771 turned out in anticipation of another shock. However, this would not be the case as Sandy Clark’s Saints turned in a professional performance and comfortably eased their way into the quarter finals. Two goals from Roddy Grant  and a Philip Scott strike had the visitors 3 up before John Robertson notched a late consolation for the home team.

The team was: – Main, McQuillan, Bollan, Dasovic, Dods, Kernaghan, Scott, O’Neil, Kane, Grant, Lowndes. Subs: – McMahon, Griffin, Simao.

The third drawing together was in the 3rd round of the CIS League Cup. Livingston were now in the Premier League with Billy Stark’s St Johnstone team trying to restore Saints fortunes and regain their top flight status. Fog had caused the abandonment of a goalless match the previous week at McDiarmid Park. So the teams met again on 5 November 2002 and whilst Saints played well that evening a goal from Dadi on the hour mark would give Livingston a 1 – 0 passage into the next round. Saints had been the better side in the first half but could not turn chances into goals and after taking the lead “Livi” were content to hold onto their advantage.

Saints team was: – Main, J.Robertson, Murray, McCann, Dods, Maxwell, Hay, Reilly, Hartley, Connolly, Parker. Subs: – Cuthbert, McCulloch, Ferry, Stevenson, McClune.

On 26 August 2008 the teams met again at Livingston this time in the Co-op Insurance League Cup. Earlier in the month Saints had won the league game between the teams at McDiarmid by 2 – 0. However, successive league defeats by Dunfermline ( 0 – 3 ) and Partick Thistle ( 0 – 4 ) had taken the wind out of the team’s sails. Derek McInnes rung the changes for this match but despite a spirited performance Saints went down 2 – 1 after extra time.

Liam Craig had put Saints ahead in the second half but a Leigh Griffiths equaliser had take the match into extra time. Cuenca scored to take the Almondvale team through. Only 979 fans bothered to turn up for this match.

Saints team: – Main, Irvine, Morgan, McKoy, Anderson, McCaffrey, Millar, Hardie, Jackson, Holmes, Sheerin. Subs: – McLean, Milne, Swankie, Samuel, Craig.

The most recent occasion was 24 August 2011 in the Scottish Communities League Cup 2nd round. Derek McInnes team cruised to a 3 – 0 victory at McDiarmid Park thanks to goals from Frazer Wright and two from Fran Sandaza in the first 25 minutes.

Saints team: – Enkelman, Mackay, Craig, Wright, Anderson, Morris, M. Davidson, Adams, Sheridan, Sandaza, Gibson. Subs: – Mannus, Maybury, Robertson, Higgins, Haber.

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28 November 1987 – Stirling Albion 0 St Johnstone 6

On this day in 1987 St Johnstone made the short trip to Stirling to meet the Albion at Annfield in a League Division 2 fixture.

Alex Totten’s team were chasing Ayr United at the top of the table and faced what appeared to be a tricky match on the new artificial surface.

However, any pre-match anxieties were quickly dispelled when in 3 minutes Tommy Coyle put Saints ahead from the penalty spot. Steve Maskrey had been fouled in the box and Coyle sent the keeper the wrong way as he calmly stroked the ball home.

Five minutes later it was 2 – 0 as Alan McKillop fired home after a Willie Watters shot had rebounded from the crossbar.

Things got even better as it was 3 – 0 with only 13 minutes on the clock. This time it was Ian Heddle who got his name on the scoresheet when he fired in a rocket shot from the edge of the box, giving the keeper no chance.

It seemed a long wait until the fourth goal came along! It was just after the half hour mark when Danny Powell was on the end of a fine Maskrey cross to drill the ball into the bottom corner.

On the resumption former Saint John Brogan ( playing for Albion ) tried to breath life back into the home side as they tried manfully to get some respectability back into the scoreline. John Balavage and his defence, however, stood firm.

Ian Heddle made it 5 – 0 in the 80th minute and substitute Steve Gavin competed the rout with number six just four minutes from time.

A crowd of 1,100 watched.

Saints team was: – Balavage, Thomson, Smith, Barron, McKillop, Johnston, Maskrey, Coyle, Powell, Watters, Heddle. Subs McGurn and Gavin.

27 November 1937 – Third Lanark 0 St Johnstone 5

On this day in 1937 St Johnstone travelled to Glasgow to meet Third Lanark in a First Division fixture at Cathkin.

Going into the match Saints had won their previous two matches at Muirton Park defeating Hibs 2 – 0 and St Mirren 3 – 0. This had lifted them into a comfortable mid table position just one point behind their opponents.

Manager, David Rutherford, selected the following team: – Bob Wylie, Johnny Welsh, Bill Taylor, George Mason, Frank Moulds, Bob Smellie, Jimmy Tennant, McLaren, George Meechan, Andy McCall, Jimmy Caskie.

Saints took control of the match straight from the start and it was no great surprise when Jimmy Caskie put Saints ahead in 11 minutes. The goal was something of a tap in for the winger after “The Warriors” keeper had saved but couldn’t hold a fierce shot from Tennant.

Thirds tried to get back into the match but Mason and McCall were on top of the midfield and in 24 minutes Caskie turned provider for the second goal. Driving down the wing he sent over a superb cross which was partially cleared to Mason who fired home from  around 10 yards range.

It was 3 – 0 in 40 minutes. After some pressure from the home team Caskie broke away and won a corner on the left. When his flag kick came over Meechan out-jumped the full back to head powerfully into the net.

The second half saw Third Lanark try hard but Saints were on top form and the only surprise was that it took until 85 minutes before the fourth goal was scored. Caskie was again the provider. This time he went past the right back and passed to McLaren whose close range shot was perfectly placed to make it 4 – 0.

The fifth goal came with virtually the last kick of the match when Meechan hit a screamer to put the icing on the proverbial cake.

The result meant Saints moved up to 7th position in the league. They would finish the Season in 8th position on 39 points.

Jimmy Caskie was signed by Manager Tommy Muirhead in June 1933 from Ashfield Juniors. He made 110 appearances for St Johnstone scoring 16 goals.

His fine form in that 1937/38 season had earned him a League International cap against the English League in a 1 – 0 win at Ibrox. He would gain a second League cap the following season against the Irish League.

On 16 March 1939 Caskie was transferred to Everton for a fee reported as £3,500. This is equivalent of £200,000 in today’s values.

 

22 November 1980 – Jim Morton scores direct from a corner

On this day in 1980 St Johnstone met Falkirk in a League Division 1 match at Brockville.

Manager Alex Rennie had started to mould together a team that he hoped would challenge for promotion back to the Premier League. Strangely, Saints form had been better away from home than at home and going into this match they were sitting in 5th position in the league.

Although Falkirk were close to the bottom of the table a tough match was anticipated and the following team was selected: – George Tulloch, John Mackay, Rab Kilgour, John Weir, Drew Rutherford, Alex Caldwell, Andy Brannigan, Ally McCoist, Jim Docherty, Jim Morton, George Fleming. Subs: – Alex Gilchrist and Alan Salisbury.

Saints started well and the undoubted highlight of the match was the opening goal scored by Jim Morton.

A Falkirk correspondent writing for the P.A. states “St Johnstone had most of the early play and took a deserved lead after 25 minutes, albeit by virtue of a rather bizarre goal. Jim Morton swung in a corner kick left footed from the right side of the field and the vicious curl of the ball completely deceived keeper George Watson. Gary Thompson on the goal line headed the ball into the net in an attempt to clear but it was clearly over the line before he made contact so the credit goes to Morton.”

The Sporting Post reporter describes it so – ” In 25 minutes St Johnstone took the lead and it was a peach of a goal. They were awarded a corner which was taken by inside left JIM MORTON. From the flag kick his shot landed in the Falkirk net to put the Saints ahead”.

The shame was that there were only 2,000 fans there to witness a very special goal.

In the second half Jim Docherty added two further goals to give Saints a comfortable 3 – 0 victory.

Hibernian and Dundee were promoted that season with Saints finishing in 3rd position just one point behind their local rivals.

Top scorers were McCoist with 23 goals, Docherty 13, Brogan 11 and Morton on 10.

21 November 1987 – Willie Watters Hits Three in 3 – 1 Win

On this day in 1987 St Johnstone met East Stirling in a League Division 2 match at Muirton Park.

After the dark days of the mid 1980’s Alex Totten had started on the job of restoring Saints to the higher echelons of the Scottish game.

After a good start to the campaign, including a 3 – 0 win over promotion rivals Ayr United at Somerset Park, progress had stuttered over the previous two weeks with defeats suffered at home to Cowdenbeath 0 – 1 and away to Brechin City 1 – 2.

In an attempt to add more fire power the manager had signed Willie Watters from Clyde and on his debut at Glebe Park the striker scored Saints goal.

It was important to get back on winning ways and the following team was selected for this match.

John Balavage, Kenny Thomson, Don McVicar, Doug Barron, Alan McKillop, Sammy Johnston, Steve Maskrey, Tommy Coyle, Danny Powell, Willie Watters, Ian Heddle. Subs Joe McGurn and Steve Gavin.

Shire fielded 5 former St Johnstone players in their team. Gilchrist, Harvey, Woods, Ward and O’Brien,

Saints started well with Johnston and Powell ( twice ) coming close to opening the scoring before Watters scored his first in 20 minutes. Coyle had won the ball out on the wing and when his cross arrived in the penalty area Watters lobbed the keeper from 15 yards out. 1 – 0.

However, there was a shock for the Saints fans in the 1,390 crowd as the visitors equalised after Balavage had fumbled a cross allowing Murray to score from close range.

“Sammy” almost puts Saints ahead again just before the interval but the half ended with the score still 1 – 1.

Straight from the kick off Saints were back on the attack and the keeper made a great save from a powerful Watters shot. From the resultant corner there was a scramble on the line before the ball was eventually cleared.

Saints continued the pressure and when the keeper missed a Heddle cross Watters was on hand to fire the ball home. 2 – 1 after 57 minutes.

Seven minutes later and it’s 3 – 1 with Watters completing his hat trick. This time he took a free kick and from 20 yards out curled it up and over the wall and into the net with the keeper helpless. A wonderful goal and game over.

This win triggered a run of 8 consecutive League wins.

Saints achieved the aim of promotion finishing the season in second top position 2 points behind Ayr United.

Willie Watters was Saints top scorer with 18 goals from 22 starts and 5 substitute appearances.

20 November 1993 – Dundee 0 St Johnstone 1 – Paul Sturrock’s First Match

On this day 20 years ago Saints visited Dundee at Dens Park in a Premier League fixture.

The previous week had seen the departure of Manager John McClelland after a miserable run of results culminating with a 3 – 1 loss in a “must win” game against Partick Thistle at McDiarmid Park.

Chairman Geoff Brown did not waste any time in securing Paul Sturrock from Dundee United where he had been coaching since his retirement from the playing side of his career some 4 years earlier.

Whilst this was his first Managerial role Sturrock came with a glittering CV as both a player and a coach. With the Terrors he had gained 20 Scottish caps at full International level, and been part of a fantastic team that won the Premier League in 1983 before reaching the semi finals of the European Cup the following Season. The Chairman expressed the view that ” he was the only man for the job”.

Saints had not registered a win during their 7 previous matches and his first game in charge could not have been more difficult. A derby against local rivals Dundee at Dens Park.

He selected the following team: – Andy Rhodes, Kevin McGowne, Sean McAuley, Gary McGinnis, John Inglis, Paul Cherry, Allan Moore, Tommy Turner, Guni Torfason, Harry Curran, John Davies. Subs : John Donegan, Paul Deas, Martin Buglione.

A large Perth support made the short trip down the Tay and swelled the crowd to 4,864. The fans played a major role in encouraging the team during the home team’s second half onslaught.

An Allan Moore strike in 16 minutes would see Saints win 1 – 0. Torfason should have scored earlier but missed something of “a sitter”. Then came Moore’s goal when he latched on to a short back header to shoot past the advancing keeper. Buoyed by this success the little winger nearly made it two but watched in anguish as a header was cleared of the line. Saints defence looked stronger than in previous matches and with something to hold on to Cherry, in a man marking role, and McGinnis were outstanding. Behind them keeper Rhodes was in inspirational form. A save from a Billy Dodds shot was particularly memorable. Late in the match Saints were hitting on the break and substitute Buglione hit the Dundee post with a shot following a corner.

This was was a real team performance with all 12 players giving their all. It was also Saints first away victory since January – some 17 matches previous.

Despite the later purchase ( in January 1994 ) of Billy Dodds for a record fee of £400,000 and a fighting finale to the Season, unfortunately, Sturrock could not save Saints from the dreaded drop into the First Division. Three teams went down that year and whilst Saints finished on the same points as Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle they had an inferior goal difference. It would take a further 4 years before Sturrock managed to get the Club back into their rightful place in the Premier League.

Paul Sturrock’s managerial record was Played 208, Won 96, Drew 56, Lost 56. Goals for 314, against 212. Win Ratio of 46%.

19 November 2011 – Steve Lomas First Match v Rangers 0 – 0

It seems hard to believe that it is only two years ago that new St Johnstone Manager Steve Lomas took charge of his first match in a Premier League game against Rangers at Ibrox.

Steve’s predecessor, Derek McInnes, had moved to Bristol City a few weeks earlier and Chairmen Geoff and Steve Brown had interviewed a number of high quality candidates before announcing the new appointment.

Steve Lomas had enjoyed a first class playing career. As a midfield player he had won 45 International caps for his country, Northern Ireland, whilst playing in the Premier League for Manchester City and West Ham United. At Upton Park he had played with many quality players such as Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick to name but a few. Later he would move to Queens Park Rangers and finally Gillingham. When his playing career was over he moved into coaching at Norwich City before taking up a management role at non League side St Neot’s. He also had a spell back at West Ham as reserve team manager.

His first St Johnstone team selection for the Rangers match was: – Peter Enkelman, Dave Mackay, Callum Davidson, Jody Morris, Frazer Wright, Steven Anderson, Chris Millar, Murray Davidson, Liam Craig, Kevin Moon, Fran Sandaza. Subs: – Alan Mannus, Carl Finnigan, Alan Maybury, Marcus Haber, Mark Durnan, Stevie May, Ricky McIntosh.

Saints were the better team on the day and deserved better than the 0 – 0 draw.

In his first season in charge Lomas guided Saints to 6th place in the League which brought with it European football to McDiarmid Park for the first time since 1999.

The following Season was even better as the team finished 3rd in the League meaning Europe for the second season running. A feat that had not been achieved before.

Steve Lomas was awarded the Clydesdale Bank manager of the Month for September 2012.

At the end of the 2012/13 Season he moved to Championship side Millwall.

His St Johnstone record in all competitions was: – Played 72, Won 26, Drawn 20, Lost 26, with goals scored 85 and lost 98. His win ratio was 36%.