10 December 1983 – St Mirren 1 St Johnstone 2

On this day 30 years ago St Johnstone travelled to Paisley to meet St Mirren in a Premier League match.

Saints had been promoted as Division 1 Champions in the summer but were finding life in the higher league extremely difficult. In their previous 15 matches the team had registered only two wins, firstly at Motherwell in October when a John Brogan goal had been enough to gain full points. The following week St Mirren were defeated 3 – 2 at Muirton in a thrilling match. This had meant that Saints were holding up the rest of the table with just 4 points to their credit whilst their opponents were comfortably in mid table some 10 points further ahead.

Manager Alex Rennie selected the following team for the Love Street encounter : – Roy Baines, Rab Kilgour, Don McVicar, Derek Addison, John Kennedy, Drew Rutherford, Ian Gibson, Raymond Blair, Andy Brannigan, Alan Lyons, Stuart Beedie. Subs: Kevin Hoggan, Doug Barron.

The other Saints started the better team and were creating and, thankfully, missing chances. Saints began to find their feet and Kennedy found himself with the opportunity to put his side ahead but his shot hit Thomson in the “Buddies” goal and rebounded out for a corner.

The first goal came in 13 minutes and the home fans in the 3,399 crowd were shocked when Beedie put the Perth Saints ahead. Blair swung over a delightful corner to the far post and the midfield man was perfectly placed to volley the ball into the net from six yards out. 1 – 0.

The second came along on 33 minutes and it was something of a gift. A St Mirren defender gave the ball away to Blair on the edge of the penalty area who fired in a fierce shot which hit the foot of the post and rebounded straight to Lyons. The little midfielder did not hesitate in slotting the ball into the net for his first Saints goal and 2 – 0.

In the second half St Mirren tried to get back into the game and a McDougall effort hit the bar and came back out. On a heavy pitch legs began to tire and Saints conceded a goal two minutes from full time to give them a nervous end to the match. They did, however, manage to hang on and secured two valuable points. This triggered a mini winning run as Motherwell 3 – 1 at Muirton and Dundee 1 – 0 at Dens lifted them off the bottom spot.

In a season when there were few highlights this was definitely one.

Despite their strenuous Saints were unable to avoid the drop finishing the 1983/84 season in second bottom position with 23 points.

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