When St Johnstone meet Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup at Kirkcaldy on Saturday it will be the 6th time that the teams have been paired together in the competition. In the previous 5 encounters Saints have progressed to the next round on 4 occasions and Rovers once.
The first time that the teams met on Scottish Cup business was back in 1936 in the 1st Round when Tommy Muirhead’s team overcame a plucky Rovers side by 4 – 2 at Stark’s Park. On a difficult pitch 3 goals from Jimmy Tennant and a single from Jimmy Caskie saw Saints prevail over their Second Division opponents.
Saints team that day was: – Bob Wylie, Bill Taylor, Willie Clark, Harry Ferguson, Jimmy Littlejohn, Percy Dickie, Jimmy Tennant, Hugh Adam, Jimmy Beattie, Andy McCall, Jimmy Caskie.
As can happen in cup competitions the teams were again drawn against each other the following season, again in the first round at Kirkcaldy. Manager Muirhead had moved on to Preston North End and David Rutherford was now in charge of Saints. A crowd of 5,500 turned up, generating gate receipts of £230, ( how times have changed! ) would see Saints survive an early Rovers onslaught before eventually running out comfortable winners by 5 – 0. Scorers were Tennant (2), Caskie, Beattie and McCall.
Saints team was: – Bob Wylie, Johnny Welsh, Bill Taylor, George Mason, Frank Moulds, Percy Dickie, Jimmy Tennant, ? McLaren, Jimmy Beattie, Andy McCall, Jimmy Caskie.
When the teams next met in 1971 Willie Ormond’s team were going really well in the First Division and were fully expected to progress to the next round. Things seemed to be going according to plan, in the only tie to be played at Muirton Park, when Jim Pearson and Kenny Aird put a dominant Saints 2 – 0 ahead shortly after half time. However Saints became complacent and 2 goals in 2 minutes by Innes and substitute Cooper late in the game earned Raith a replay. A major upset was only avoided when Cooper had another goal cancelled out for offside.
A crowd of 8,438 made their way to Stark’s Park for the replay on a cold January night and saw an inspired Rovers deservedly win a famous victory by 4 goals to 3. To put this in perspective Rovers finished the season in mid table in Division 2 with Saints finishing third in the First division, qualifying for the following season’s UEFA Cup.
Saints team that night was: – Jimmy Donaldson, John Lambie, Jim Argue, Alex Gordon, Alex Rennie, Benny Rooney, Kenny Aird, Henry Hall, Bill McCarry, Ian McPhee, John Connolly. Sub: Gordon Whitelaw. Saints scorers were – Rooney, Connolly and Hall.
The teams were again drawn together at Kirkcaldy in 1992 when goals from Paul Wright and Allan Moore eased Alex Totten’s Saints through to a meeting with Inverness Caledonian in the 4th round.
The team was: – Lindsay Hamilton, Gary McGinnis, Paul Deas, Paul Cherry, John Inglis, John Davies, Allan Moore, Tommy Turner, Vinny Arkins, Harry Curran. Subs: Roddy Grant, Ray Stewart.
The most recent meeting was a 4th Round tie on 15 January 2008 at McDiarmid Park where goals from Andy Jackson, Steven Milne and a Paul Sheerin penalty saw Saints progress into the next round. Graham Weir got a late consolation for Raith Rovers with the game ending 3 – 1.
The team that Tuesday evening was – Alan Main, Gary Irvine, Goran Stanic, Kevin Moon, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Stuart McCaffrey, Peter MacDonald, Liam Craig, Andy Jackson, Steven Milne, Paul Sheerin. Subs; Kevin Cuthbert, Allan McManus, Steven Anderson, David Weatherston, Dyron Daal.
In the next round Saints would go on to defeat Ross County 1 – 0 and then at the quarter final stage St Mirren 3 – 1 at Paisley in a replay after a 1 – 1 draw at McDiarmid Park. In the semi-final at Hampden Derek McInnes team was most unfortunate to lose 4 – 3 on penalties to Rangers after the match had ended 1 – 1 after extra time.
Let’s hope that this year can be Saints year and that the team can put together a winning run that takes them all the way to the final for the first time in the Club’s history.