29 July 1972 – St Johnstone 3 Newcastle United 7

On this day in 1972 St Johnstone met Newcastle United at Muirton Park, Perth in a pre season Friendly match.

I doubt whether many of the 4,600 fans who turned up to watch would have expected such a goals bonanza.

Willie Ormond’s starting team was; – Derek Robertson, Billy McManus, Jim Argue, Alex Rennie, Dave Cochrane, Gordon Whitelaw, Benny Rooney, John Muir, Jim Pearson, Henry Hall, Fred Aitken. Subs were Jimmy Donaldson, John Lambie, Kenny Aird, Ian McPhee, Ian Macdonald.

Newcastle lined up – McFaul, Craig, Clark, Gibb, Howard, Bobby Moncur, Barraclough, Tony Green, Malcolm Macdonald, John Tudor, Hibbitt. Subs were Reid, Jimmy Smith, Young.

The match got off to a sensational start with Malcolm Macdonald scoring for the visitors in just 4 SECONDS, and embarrassing Saints keeper Derek Robertson in the process. When Newcastle kicked off Robertson was stretching at the edge of his penalty area. Tudor tapped the ball forward to “Super Mac” who leathered it 50 yards downfield and the ball sailed over the keepers’ head into the unguarded net. Manager Ormond substituted him at half time with Saints 4 – 1 down and the keeper’s confidence clearly affected. During that first period Hibbitt had scored a second goal before Gordon Whitelaw pulled one back on the 20 minute mark. Further goals from Macdonald and Tudor had put “The Geordies” out of sight.

The second half saw Donaldson take over from Robertson and youngsters McManus and Cochrane replaced by Lambie and Macdonald with Aird and McPhee also coming on for Muir and Whitelaw respectively.

Jim Pearson scored shortly after the restart but the Macdonald – Tudor combination were unstoppable and each scored again to restore the visitors advantage. Henry Hall and Tudor completed the scoring.





St Johnstone – European Goalscorers

Following Steven MacLean’s goal in Luzern last week Saints have now scored 19 goals in the 17 matches played in both the UEFA Cup and Europa League competitions.

European nights have always been special occasions and with a few exceptions ( eg John Lambie / Jimmy Donaldson in Budapest and Alan Main in Monaco ) goalscorers always grab the headlines in the morning papers. In this article I shall retrace each of the 14 different players who have helped to make St Johnstone’s European nights such memorable occasions.

Top of the list is Jim Pearson who scored Saints first ever European goal. All 3 of his goals were scored during the 1971 campaign under the management of the great Willie Ormond.

In the first round Saints had been drawn against SV Hamburg with the first leg in Germany. At that time Hamburg were a top European club, reaching the 1968 European Cup Winners Cup Final before losing 2 – 0 to Italian giants AC Milan. They had two genuine World class players in their ranks in Willie Schulz and Uwe Seeler. Both men had played for West Germany in the 1962, 1966 and 1970 World Cup Finals.

Prior to the first leg the German coach had watched Saints and identified “Pearie” as the danger man. His concern would prove to be well founded as Jim scored in both matches. In the first game a highly contentious offside decision had given Hamburg an early lead before Jim equalised with 53 minutes on the clock. Hamburg finally won 2 – 1 but Saints had a precious away goal to provide optimism for the return match two weeks later.

The young Jim had come in for a lot of rough treatment in the away leg and had not fully recovered from a bad knee injury for the second leg at Muirton Park, so could only made the substitutes bench. However, early in the second half he came on to replace the injured Henry Hall and scored Saints second goal to effectively kill off the tie. A pulsating match finally ended 3 – 0 providing the 12,000 crowd with an unforgettable night.

Saints 2nd round opponents were Vasas Budapest with the first leg at Muirton. Jim Pearson’s aerial ability had caused the visitors problems all night and 5 minutes from time he rose to head a Kenny Aird corner into the net and give Saints a hard earned 2 – 0 victory.

John Connolly is next up with 2 goals. John was a special talent who combined his unquestionable ability with pace – a combination that scared opposing defenders. His first European goal was a 12th minute penalty in the 2 – 0 home win over Vasas Budapest. His second, also at Muirton, was a late winner in a 1 – 0 win over an extremely physical Zeljeznicar Sarajevo side which defended resolutely throughout.

Also with 2 goals is Miguel Simao who came off the bench with just 10 minutes remaining in the first European match to be staged at McDiarmid Park in 1999. “Super sub” Miguel replaced Nathan Lowndes to score two late late goals as Sandy Clark’s team finally overcame the stubborn resistance of Finnish side VPS Vaasa.

As mentioned earlier Steven MacLean’s strike in Luzern last week was his second in the Europa League. “Macca” is re-writing the history books as he has now scored in two successive away Europa League ties. His first goal was the only goal of the game when Saints overcame FC Minsk last year in the 3rd Qualifying Round first leg tie played at Grodno, Belarus. He followed this up with his great strike from a tight angle in Luzern in the 1 – 1 draw a week ago.

The following have each scored once.

Henry Hall who in 2013 was fittingly inducted into the St Johnstone Hall of Fame also scored in the 3 – 0 win over SV Hamburg in 1971. After 15 minutes and from around 10 yards out the little maestro slid home the opening goal converting a defence splitting pass from Ian McPhee.

Later in the Hamburg match that great clubman Gordon Whitelaw scored with a stunning shot from just inside the penalty area to put the proverbial icing on the cake that evening.

Benny Rooney was Saints inspirational captain in that legendry 1971 side. Previous Manager Bobby Brown had signed him from Dundee United as a centre forward but then converted him to a centre half. Benny went from strength to strength and was an integral part of Willie Ormond’s team. Despite featuring in midfield he hadn’t lost the art of scoring goals and his sole European goal came in Sarajevo after just 6 minutes. Unfortunately, Saints were already 2 – 0 down by that time and went on to lose 5 – 1 to exit the competition.

Saints first tie in the 1999 UEFA Cup was a trip to Finland to meet VPS Vaasa. Manager Sandy Clark’s team had made a poor start to the domestic season and were struggling against their less fashionable opponents. 1 – 0 down with only 20 minutes remaining after squandering half a dozen or so chances Nathan Lowndes replaced Miguel Simao. Six minutes later he had levelled the tie when he side footed a John McQuillan cross into the net from six yards for 1 – 1.

Although Nick Dasovic scored only 6 goals during his Saints career he seemed to have the knack of scoring in big matches. His goal in the 3 – 3 draw with the millionaires of AS Monaco was one these and earned him a “Man of the Match” award. Nick scored the second goal that night when, with the aid of a slight deflection, he fired his shot past French World Cup winning goalkeeper Fabian Barthez to make it 2 – 2 at half time.

John O’Neil registered Saints 3rd goal that night at McDiarmid when he was in the right place to thrash the ball home from close range after Danny Griffin’s shot from Kieran McAnespie’s corner kick had ricocheted to him off a defender.

As well as Barthez, the Monaco team also included Marquez, Legwinski, Riise, Prso, and Simone with Trezeguet and Giuly coming on as subs. A Philippe Leonard own goal opened the scoring for Saints in 5 minutes.

It would be a further 13 years before Saints would qualify for Europe again. Although finishing in 6th place in the SPL, by virtue of a catalogue of bizarre circumstances, Manager Steve Lomas’ team had qualified for the 2012/13 Europa League. The 2nd Qualifying Round had paired Saints with Eskisehirspor and the first leg, away, had seen a deflected goal and an own goal give the Turkish side a 2 – 0 advantage. However, hopes remained that the team could overcome this set back in the home leg. This belief was re-inforced when Gregory Tade put “the blues” ahead with a spectacular shot in 35 minutes. Unfortunately, it was not to be as the visitors equalised in the second half and the away goal effectively made the task too great for the courageous Perth team.

The following season saw Saints finish in 3rd position in the SPL and the Europa League 2nd Qualifying round draw produced a trip to Norway to meet Rosenborg BK. This was regarded as a tough draw as our opponents had a long European history including in 1998 beating the mighty Real Madrid 2 – 0 in the Champions League. So when Frazer Wright scored from a David Wotherspoon corner in the Lerkendal stadium to give Saints a 1 – 0 win, he was writing his name in the history books as a member of the first St Johnstone team to win an away match in Europe.

The final goalscorer on our list is Stevie May. The youngster had been an unused substitute in Trondheim but started the 2nd leg match at McDiarmid. After Rosenborg had taken a 4th minute lead the youngster vindicated Manager Tommy Wright’s confidence in him as he equalised midway through the first half with a superb lob over the goalkeeper. Saints probably should have won that evening but the 1 – 1 draw was enough to progress 2 – 1 on aggregate to the next round where they met FC Minsk.

So lets hope that Steven MacLean or Stevie May can join ( or go ahead of ) Jim Pearson to top the scorers list with a goal or more tonight.

24 July 2004 – St Johnstone 0 Leicester City 2

On this day in 2004 Saints met Leicester City in a pre season friendly at McDiarmid Park.

This was the first time the visitors had appeared at McDiarmid Park but the clubs had met in friendlies on 3 previous occasions.

The first meeting was in 1934 at Filbert Street and then twice more at Muirton Park in 1983 and 1988. “The Foxes” won all three matches by the same scoreline of 2 – 1.

New Manager John Connolly was trying to mould his team after taking over from Billy Stark towards the end of the 2003/04 season.

Saints team that day was: – Kevin Cuthbert, Jordan Tait, Ross Forsyth, David Hannah, ? McLeod, Ian Maxwell, Colin Marshall, Martyn Fotheringham, Steven McConalogue, Michael Moore, Eddie Malone.

Subs were: – Craig Nelson and Sean Webb ( neither used ). Ryan Stevenson ( for Marshall ), Steven Fraser ( for Fotheringham ), Chris Hay ( for McConalogue ), Mark Baxter ( for Malone ).

Leicester City Manager Micky Adams selected the following team: – Ian Walker, Chris Makin, Jason Wilcox, Jordan Stewart, Matt Heath, Gareth Williams, Keith Gillespie, Lilian Nalis, Dion Dublin, David Connolly, James Scowcroft.

Subs were: – Kevin Pressman ( for Walker ), Richard Stearman ( for Heath ), Scott Gemmell ( for Nalis ), Trevor Benjamin ( for Dublin ), Lee Morris ( for Connolly ). Not used – Aarron Butcher, Chris O’Grady, Tommy Wright ( not our Tommy! ), Stephen Dawson.

Goals from Scowcroft and Dublin gave the visitors a 2 – 0 win in front of 1,733 spectators.

19 July 2012 – Eskisehirspor 2 St Johnstone 0

On this day in 2012 St Johnstone travelled to Turkey to meet Eskisehirspor in the 1st leg of the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Europa League.

It had been 13 years since Saints last appeared in European competition when they lost 6 – 3 on aggregate ( a, 0 – 3 and h, 3 – 3 ) to French giants AS Monaco in the old UEFA Cup.

Around 350 Saints fans made their way by plane, road and train to the attractive University city in the north west region of the country.

Before the match the respective sets of fans enjoyed their opponents company, particularly in Bar Street, which helped forge a quite unique and lasting bond between the clubs.

The home fans in the 18,000 crowd within the Ataturk Stadium were helping to create a fantastic atmosphere singing noisely for at least an hour prior to kick off time on what was a very warm evening.

Manager Steve Lomas selected the following team: – Alan Mannus, Gary Miller, Callum Davidson, David McCracken, Frazer Wright, Paddy Cregg, Murray Davidson, Jamie Adams, Chris Millar, Sean Higgins, Liam Craig.

Substitutes were Jonathon Tuffey, Steven Anderson, Nigel Hasselbaink ( for Higgins ), Kevin Moon ( for Cregg ), Stevie May ( for Adams ) Tom Scobbie, David Robertson.

It was mostly a backs to the wall performance in the first half with Sean Higgins doing well as the lone front man and holding up play until midfield runners could get up to support. Just when it looked like Saints would reach the interval break with their goal intact, a shot from outside the penalty area took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Liam Craig leaving Alan Mannus helpless and the hosts with a 1 – 0 lead. The second period followed a similar pattern with Es-Es doubling their advantage midway through the half when a fierce cross into the six yard box hit the unlucky Frazer Wright and the ball ricocheted into the defender’s own goal.

Despite the quality in the Eskisehirspor ranks, at 2 – 0 down, there was still a strong belief that Saints could turn the tie around at McDiarmid Park the following week.










18 July 2013 – Rosenborg 0 St Johnstone 1

This day 12 months ago was a great day to be a St Johnstone fan as the team recorded a famous 1 – 0 victory over Rosenborg in a Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round 1st leg match at the Lerkendal Stadium in Trondheim. In what was Manager Tommy Wright’s first match in charge of Saints this narrow victory over a club with previous Champions League pedigree was the first time that St Johnstone had won an away game in European competitions. Previous matches in the UEFA Cup, in 1971 against SV Hamburg, Vasas Budapest and Zel Sarajevo, in 1999 against VPS Vaasa and AS Monaco, and in the 2012 Europa League against Eskisherspor, had all seen our favourites return home without a win. Indeed the 1 – 1 draw in Finland with VPS Vaasa was the only occasion the team had avoided defeat. So Frazer Wright’s 18th minute goal, when he turned in a David Wotherspoon corner kick from 6 yards, was a historic moment. The 500 or so Saints fans in the 5,952 attendance were ecstatic, cheering the team throughout the whole of the match ( and well into the wee sma’ hours of the following day! ). The team in which every player was outstanding that evening was : Alan Mannus, Dave Mackay, Tom Scobbie, Paddy Cregg, Frazer Wright, Steven Anderson, Chris Millar, Gary McDonald, Steven MacLean, David Wotherspoon, Nigel Hasselbaink. Subs – Steve Banks, Gwion Edwards ( for Hasselbaink ), Liam Caddis, Stevie May, Gary Miller ( for Wotherspoon ), Brian Easton, Rory Fallon. The second leg match at McDiarmid Park one week later ended in a 1 – 1 draw meaning that Saints progressed to the next round 2 – 1 on aggregate.

17 July 1999 – St Johnstone 1 – Wigan Athletic 1 ( 3 – 5 pens )

On this day in 1999 Manager Sandy Clark continued his pre season preparations by sending a squad to participate in the 4 team Livingston Tournament which also included the hosts, Partick Thistle and Wigan Athletic.

During the previous week Saints had completed a short tour of Ireland engaging in friendly matches with St Patrick’s Athletic ( lost 0 – 2 ), Bray Wanderers ( draw 0 – 0 ) and Shamrock Rovers ( draw 1 – 1 ).

In the Livingston tournament Saints first match was against Wigan Athletic who the previous season had finished 6th in League Division 2 before losing to Manchester City 1 – 2 on aggregate in the two-leg  semi final playoffs.

Saints team was : – Alan Main, John McQuillan, Gary Bollan, Nick Dasovic, Darren Dods, Danny Griffin, Martin Lauchlan, Kieran McAnespie, Paul Kane, Nathan Lowndes, Miguel Simao.

Subs were Jim Weir for McAnespie, George O’Boyle for Lowndes, John-Paul McBride for Lauchlan.

The Wigan team was; – Stillie, Bradshaw, Elliott, McGibbon, De Zeeuw, Sheridan, Kilford, Haworth, Barlow, McLaughlin, O’Neill.

( Not 100% certain but think it is Darren Sheridan, Brian McLaughlin and Michael O’Neill who all played for Saints later in their careers ).

A crowd of 2,000 saw Saints struggle to find any rhythm and it took a late Gary Bollan strike to equalise an earlier Simon Haworth goal.

A penalty shoot out saw the English team progress 5 – 3 to meet Livingston in the following day’s “Final”.

A mainly reserve team defeated Partick Thistle the following day thanks to a Jim Weir header.

16 July 2005 – Inverurie Loco Works 0 St Johnstone 2

On this day in 2005 Manager Owen Coyle commenced his first season in charge of St Johnstone with a pre season friendly match at Harlaw Park against Inverurie Loco Works.

After releasing a significant number of his predecessor John Connolly’s squad Coyle had been busy during the summer months bringing in a number of new signings.

This match was the first of five warm up matches prior to the season proper starting two weeks later.

The Saints team that day was: – Kevin Cuthbert, Simon Mensing, Kieran McAnespie, Scott Paterson, Mark Campbell, Kevin Rutkievicz, Ryan McCann, Paul Sheerin, Owen Coyle, Steven Milne, John Henry.

Subs were Mark Baxter for Mensing, Steven Anderson for Paterson, Neil Janczyk for Campbell, David Hannah for McCann, Ryan Stevenson for Henry, Andy Jackson for Milne, Willie Dyer for McAnespie. Robert Sloan and Stevie McManus were not used.

Goals from Simon Mensing and Steven Milne gave Saints a comfortable victory.