Over the past few days I’ve received several enquiries regarding the number of St Johnstone fans who turned out to support the team in the club’s two previous National Cup Final appearances.
In 1998 when Saints met Rangers at Celtic Park in the Final of the Scottish League Cup the total attendance was 45,543.
Saints support is referred to by Gordon Bannerman in his match report in the Perthshire Advertiser as 11,000.
This figure is also stated in Manager Sandy Clark’s column in the next matchday programme where he writes “Probably the most pleasing aspect of the day was the backing we received from the 11,000 people who came from Perth and, indeed, all over the world, to see us in the final.
The Courier reporter states “11,000-plus who travelled”.
For the record Nick Dasovic scored Saints goal in a 2 – 1 reverse that day and the team read: – Alan Main, John McQuillan, Gary Bollan, Nick Dasovic, Darren Dods, Alan Kernaghan, Philip Scott, John O’Neil, Paul Kane, George O’Boyle, Miguel Simao. Subs: – Allan Preston, Roddy Grant, Nathan Lowndes.
Going back to 1969 when Willie Ormond’s legendary team met Celtic at Hampden Park in Saints first ever Final some 73,000 turned up to watch the two most entertaining sides in Scotland at that time.
Newspaper reports don’t give any estimates of the Perth/Perthshire support. However, in a newspaper preview it states “So it’s on to Hampden for nearly one-third of Perth’s population. Four special trains have been laid on. Buses are at a premium in the town. So much so that the club had to charter a bus from Dundee to take the players’ wives and relations to the game. With such fantastic enthusiasm says Willie Ormond, we just cannot let our supporters down.”
I should think that the population of the City of Perth at that time was around 45,000.
Although going down by the only goal of the game Saints did not deserve to lose that day. The team was: Jimmy Donaldson, John Lambie, Willie Coburn, Alex Gordon, Benny Rooney, Ian McPhee, Kenny Aird, Henry Hall, Bill McCarry, John Connolly, Fred Aitken. Sub was Gordon Whitelaw.
The programme for the next home match with Hibs expresses everyone’s disappointment and says “The many thousands of St Johnstone fans who were there”.
So unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any definitive record of how many Saints fans were actually present.
All I can say is – I was at the match and there was a huge blue and white support. If we can get the same numbers out for The Scottish Cup Final on 17th May then it will be a fantastic achievement.