13 November 1996 – St Johnstone 3 East Fife 0 – Dasovic debut

On this day in 1996 St Johnstone met East Fife in a re-arranged Division 1 match at McDiarmid Park.

The previous Sunday Saints had lost the Challenge Cup Final when a Danny Griffin own goal had given Stranraer a somewhat unexpected 1 – 0 victory.

So it was back to League business as Saints went into their game in hand hurting from that defeat. The league table showed Saints in 3rd position just one point behind joint leaders Airdrie and Dundee.

Manager Paul Sturrock made a couple of changes from the Cup Final side with youngsters Callum Davidson and Charlie King replacing Allan Preston and Ian Ferguson.

Canadian internationalist Nick Dasovic made his debut after signing from Swedish side Trelleborg on a 2 year contract. Without question one of Paul Sturrock’s finest signings.

So the team that lined up that Wednesday evening against East Fife was: – Alan Main, John McQuillan, Callum Davidson, Atilla Sekerlioglu, Jim Weir, Danny Griffin, Nick Dasovic, John O’Neil, Roddy Grant, Charlie King, Leigh Jenkinson. Subs: – Allan Preston, Steven Tosh, George O’Boyle.

A crowd of 2,517 were soon off their seats as Saints scored the opening goal in just 4 minutes. It came as a result of a Jenkinson free kick being headed powerfully at goal by Atilla. However the ball rebounded from the post to Jim Weir who was on hand to knock home his first goal for Saints.

There were 8 minutes on the clock when Jenkinson took the ball to the by-line and placed his cross onto the head of the on-rushing Roddy Grant for Saints second.

This flying start clearly knocked the stuffing out of the visitors and reports suggest that had former Saints keeper Lindsay Hamilton not been in superb form then the game would have been well and truly over by half time.

As it was it took a special George O’Boyle goal 10 minutes from time to give the scoreline a more realistic view of Saints dominance.

At the end of the match Saints would return to the top of the League, a position they would retain for the remainder of the Season.

They next 9 league matches were all won and in 7 of these games the team did not loss a single goal.

Nick Dasovic would go on to be a St Johnstone legend. He gained 26 of his 62 international caps whilst with Saints and scored in the 1999 League Cup Final against Rangers. He also scored against Monaco in the 3 – 3 draw at McDiarmid.


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