12 December 1992 – St Johnstone 1 Hearts 1 – Alex Totten’s last match as Manager

On this day in 1992 St Johnstone met Hearts in the Premier League at McDiarmid Park and whilst a somewhat mediocre match ended all square, more significantly, it would prove to be Manager Alex Totten’s final match in charge of Saints.

Going into the game Saints were sitting in 8th position in the 12 team table with 18 points gathered from 21 matches played. After the successes experienced in previous Seasons, coupled with a significant spends on players over the years, the 1992/93 campaign had started disappointingly. However, from the end of October results had improved somewhat, when the team achieved a 0 – 0 draw with Celtic. This 6 game undefeated sequence came to an end the previous Saturday when the team lost 3 – 0 to Aberdeen at Pittodrie. Our visitors were in fourth position some 6 points ahead.

The Manager, selected the following team: – Andy Rhodes, Kevin McGowne, Sean McAuley, Tommy Turner, John Inglis, Paul Deas, John Davies, Gunni Torfason, Paul Wright, Vinny Arkins, Harry Curran. Subs Ian Redford, Steve Maskrey.

Hearts started the match the better team and Saints were relieved in 3 minutes when a John Robertson header came back of the crossbar.

Saints did hit back though and Paul Wright created a good chance for Tommy Turner who strangely decided to pass to John Davies rather than shooting. The midfielder blazed the ball over the bar and the chance was gone.

Hearts took the lead in 34 minutes when Ian Ferguson took advantage of a fortunate deflection off Turner to fire a low shot past Andy Rhodes. 0 – 1.

The second half again saw Hearts as the better side and Robertson watched his good header go straight at Rhodes. The Saints keeper would do even better shortly after when he stopped a great 20 yarder from Allan Preston.

Saints got back on level terms in 66 minutes when a John Inglis through pass found Paul Wright in a crowded penalty area. The striker wasted no time in firing home in fine style for his 16th goal of the season.

The attendance that day was 4,362.

From reports at the time Andy Rhodes was man of the match making many fine saves.

Two days later it was announced that, much to the surprise of the outside world, Alex Totten had been sacked. As a consequence Chairman Geoff Brown had to take a lot of flack from the press but issued a robust defence of the Directors position in coming to such a decision.

After much success and 5 years in charge, bringing Saints from the depths of the Second Division to the Premier League, Alex Totten’s Saints record was: –  P 252, W 109, D 63, L 80 F 382 A 300 giving him a win ratio of 43%.

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