St Johnstone Player Profile – Derek Robertson


Goalkeeper Derek Robertson has the distinction of being the first player to be signed by Willie Ormond for St Johnstone after his appointment as Manager in the spring of 1967. Robertson was playing for Petershill Juniors in Glasgow having previously won a Scottish Juvenile cap whilst with Possilpark YMCA. Two weeks after signing for Saints, on Wednesday 26 April 1967, he made his debut in a 3 – 0 win over Ayr United in front of 2,500 fans at Muirton Park.

The Saints team that evening was: – Derek Robertson, George Miller, Willie Coburn, Bill McCarry, Benny Rooney, Ian McPhee, Bruce Munro, Jim Townsend, Tom Wilson, Gordon Whitelaw, Fred Aitken. Sub: Alex MacDonald. Scorers were McPhee and Whitelaw (2).

Little would anyone present that evening have thought that this promising young goalkeeper would go on to spend 13 seasons at Perth during which time he would make 265 first team…

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21 August 1982 – John Brogan Scores 5 goals in St Johnstone’s 6 – 1 win at Falkirk

As it says in the headline, on this day in 1982 John Brogan scored FIVE goals as Saints demolished Falkirk 6 – 1 in a League Cup match at Brockville.

After finishing the previous League campaign in 5th position, during the summer of 1982, Manager Alex Rennie used some of the £400,000 transfer fee Saints had received from Sunderland for Ally McCoist to bolster the squad with a view to gaining promotion to the Premier League. A record £55,000 was paid to Hearts for Derek Addison with a further £15,000 being spent bringing central defender John Kennedy to Muirton Park from Stirling Albion.

The League Cup campaign had started the previous Saturday at Tannadice where Premier League side Dundee United registered a relatively comfortable 3 – 0 win over their First Division opponents.

In midweek Raith Rovers were the visitors to Muirton and were blown away as Saints fired in 5 without reply. A second minute Derek Addison goal paved the way with “Brogie” scoring a hat trick and Jim Morton completing the rout with a late goal.

There was a sizeable Perth support in the 1,372 crowd on a wet day at Brockville and they did not have long to wait for the first excitement. With just over a minute on the clock Brogan latched on to a poor passback, drew the keeper ( George Watson ), went round him and slid the ball into the empty net for 1 – 0 .

The midfield of Beedie, Addison and Morton, had taken control of the game and it was no surprise when Saints went two ahead on 17 minutes. Addison took a quick free kick and the quicksilver Brogan raced down the wing before giving Watson no chance with a fierce shot.

Six minutes later and Brogan was the provider for Jim Morton to make it 3 – 0. This time John crossed from the right wing and Derek Addison dummied the ball allowing Jimmy to crash the ball home.

Saints continued to control the game and 4 minutes after the interval Brogan completed his hat trick. This time he out-paced Hoggan and cutting in from the right wing beat the keeper all ends up.

“The Bairns” cause was not helped around the hour mark when referee Andrew Waddell showed Perry a second yellow card followed by red.

The Beedie-Brogan combination worked again for his fourth goal and Saints 5th. Beedie again fed him the ball on the right wing and similar to his first goal he went round the ‘keeper. However, this time it was a much tighter angle, but such was his confidence, he again slid the ball into the net making it look easy. It was not.

With the game well and truly won Falkirk got something of a consolation goal with Wilson converting from the penalty spot.

This riled Saints a bit and two minutes from time they stormed downfield with Brogan making it 6 – 1 with a trademark finish.

After the match he was presented with the match ball as a momento of a very special occasion.

The Saints team that day was – George Tulloch, Alex Caldwell, Tom McNeil, Stuart Beedie, John Kennedy, Drew Rutherford, Derek Addison, John Brogan, John Pelosi, Jim Morton, George Fleming. Subs, Andy Brannigan and John Mackay

At the end of the 1982/83 Season Saints achieved their ambition when they were promoted to the Premier League as Champions. The 55 points gained was one more than runners up Hearts.

During his St Johnstone career, John Brogan made 276 starts plus 9 sub appearances and scored a record 140 goals.


19 August 1911 and 1989 – Two Memorable Days in the History of St Johnstone

On this day in 1911 St Johnstone played their first ever match in Division 2 of the Scottish Football League.

Also on this day in 1989 Saints played their first match in their new McDiarmid Park stadium against Clydebank.

The 1911 fixture saw Saints meet  Arthurlie ( from Barrhead ) at the Recreation Grounds in Perth with Saints winning by 4 goals to 1.

The Recreation Grounds are no longer there but were situated at the foot of the South Inch opposite Perth Prison and behind the present Shell garage.

The previous 1910/11 Season had been a particularly successful campaign for Saints winning both local competitions – the Perthshire Cup and the Dewar Shield. However, of much greater prestige was their success in winning the Scottish Consolation Cup ( a competition for teams knocked out of the Scottish Cup proper before the 4th round ) by defeating Second Division champions Dumbarton 2 – 1 in the final at Ibrox. Saints came back from a one goal half time deficit with goals by Albert Cunningham ( who was on loan from Rangers for the match ) and George Mackay bringing the cup to Perth. Press reports at the time state that the £143 “gate” was a record for the Consolation Cup final. On their way to this success they also overcome strong Second Division opponents in Ayr United, and Cowdenbeath. Of equally significant importance, Saints fans had turned up in large numbers to Central League and Cup matches, both at home and away.

So when the opportunity presented itself during the close season to join the Scottish League their application was supported by strong credentials both on and off the park. Confirmation of their acceptance was received on 6 June 1911 resulting in much activity to improve the pitch, the supporters facilities and the team for the new season.

During the summer period the trainer John McVean along with a number of players sought to improve their financial rewards and unfortunately two of Saints all time greats, Bert Sampson ( a centre back ) and Johnny Cameron  ( a midfield player who had been with Saints for over 13 years ) had a slight difference with the Directors regarding terms. Although they were to resolve matters shortly thereafter, regrettably, they did not appear in the historic opening fixture against Arthurlie, instead their places being taken by new recruits William Macpherson who had signed from local junior club, St Leonard’s and Alex Stewart who was previously with Dundee Stobswell juniors.

From the Consolation Cup winning team 3 notable players had departed. Full back John Ferguson joined Dundee, George Bennett had gone to England with George Mackay moving to Kilmarnock. “The real mackay” as supporters affectionately called him had proved to be a prolific scorer during that Season with over 20 goals in League and Cup matches.

Goalkeeper Robert Aitken, Tom Jackson ( a former Scottish internationalist with 6 caps whilst at St Mirren ), Willie Wilson, George Steven, and Henry Brown had all remained. Added to the squad were Alex Page from Rangers, Walter Anderson from Montrose and Arthur McGowan, a soldier from the local barracks.

In an attempt to replace Mackay’s goals and to be prepared for stiffer opposition Saints paid Hearts, for what was then, a substantial fee of £20, for the transfer of Bail Colombo.

Accordingly, the team that turned out before a large attendance that auspicious day was : – Aitken, Jackson, McGowan, Anderson Macpherson, Stewart, Wilson, Page, Colombo, Steven, Brown.

The local press were somewhat disappointed with the standard of play on show with one reporter suggesting that there had been a better standard in both the Central League and the Northern League. However Perth fans were soon celebrating Saints first ever League goal when Alex Stewart fired the homesters ahead in the first half. Stevenson equalised for the visitors with a free kick from outside the box which went straight through the Saints defence and past Aitken into the net. So at half time the match was all square at 1 goal each. On resumption George Steven put Saints in front quickly followed by a Colombo header. This effectively ended the contest before Willie Wilson scored late on to give Saints a comfortable 4 – 1 win and both points.

New striker Colombo was unfortunate to be injured twice in the early stages of the match and was very much a passenger for a large part of the game. His first accident took place immediately from kick off and after treatment he resumed only to receive another kick on the same knee. This effectively rendered him a passenger. The Perthshire Constitutional reporter was clearly unimpressed with the new man and suggested that “it would be no surprise to learn that this was his first and last game for the Saints.” Colombo then missed a couple of matches and Saints Directors decided to get expert medical advice on their big money signing. Accordingly, they paid for the player to see an Edinburgh specialist whose report on the player’s injured knee proved favourable. However, from match reports it was clear that Colombo’s performances were still very much below par. The Saints Directors were not slow to take action and when it appeared that our old friend Mackay had not settled in Ayrshire he was brought back to Perth where he again showed his eye for goal by scoring winning goals against both Dundee Hibs in the league and Cowdenbeath in the Scottish Qualifying Cup.

The second historic day came in 1989 with the first match to be played at McDiarmid Park.

Saints had moved from the Recreation Ground to Muirton Park in 1924 but in the late 1980’s it was clear that following the Bradford Fire disaster and the Taylor report on football grounds that the Dunkeld Road stadium was in need of substantial refurbishment. Chairman Geoff Brown succeeded in negotiating a wonderful deal with Asda which involved the sale of Muirton Park ( and the Ice Rink next door ) to the superstore group with St Johnstone moving to a new purpose built stadium on the Crieff Road.

Clydebank were the first visitors to the new ground and a crowd of 7,267 turned up to see Saints win 2 – 1.

The kick off was delayed to let the large numbers of spectators gain entrance. However, when the game did get underway the flow of the game did not follow the pre match “script”, as the Bankies caused a shock when they opened the scoring in just 7 minutes through Jim Hughes.

Harry Curran soon levelled matters and ten minutes from full time Don McVicar scored from the penalty spot to ensure that the points remained at home.

The Saints team that day was: – John Balavage, Paul Cherry, Don McVicar, Kenny Thomson, Keith Nicolson, Sammy Johnston, Allan Moore, Harry Curran, Roddy Grant, Grant Jenkins, Ian Heddle. Subs Gary Thompson, Stuart Sorbie.

McDiarmid Park is now in it’s 26th year and has hosted 551 competitive matches in which Saints have scored 804 goals.


18 August 1973 – St Johnstone 5 Partick Thistle 1 – League Cup

On this day in 1973 St Johnstone met Partick Thistle at Muirton Park in a sectional tie of the Scottish League Cup.

Jackie Stewart had been appointed Manager in January 1973 after the great Willie Ormond had moved to be Manager of the Scotland International team.

The legendary team of the early 1970’s was now breaking up with John Connolly moving to Everton, Kenny Aird to Hearts and great servants like Willie Coburn, Ian McPhee and Gordon Whitelaw moving on to pastures new.

Manager Stewart was trying to replace such established players with youngsters, Gordon Smith, John Hotson, John McQuade and local lad Dave Cochrane.

Saints had been drawn in a group containing Dundee, Hearts and Partick Thistle ( who had caused a sensation in 1971 by winning the cup by defeating Celtic 4 – 1 in the Hampden Final).

The opening fixture of this campaign had seen Saints go down by a single goal at Dens but the team had bounced back to beat Hearts 2 – 1 at Muirton in the next match.

For the Partick Thistle game the Saints team was : – Jimmy Donaldson, John Lambie, Jim Argue, Alex Rennie, Ian Macdonald, Billy Ritchie, Henry Hall, Gordon Smith, Jim Pearson, John, McQuade, Fred Aitken. Subs – John Muir and Dave Cochrane.

The Partick Thistle team included the likes of Alan Rough, Ronnie Glavin, Joe Craig and Alex Rae.

The first half gave little hint of the excitement that lay ahead in the second period. The Jags had opened the scoring in 21 minutes through Tommy Rae but Fred Aitken equalised 6 minutes before the interval.

The second half saw Saints hit top form scoring four goals in a 25 minute purple patch with John McQuade playing a starring role.

Ace goalscorer Henry Hall got things going just 30 seconds after the restart when typically he fired the ball past Rough from inside the penalty area after McQuade had dribbled his way past a packed defence.

Jim Pearson was next up when McQuade and Hall combined to allow “Pearie” to stab the ball home from close range for 3 – 1.

McQuade was having a fabulous game and it was his header from an Ian Macdonald free kick which increased Saints advantage on 68 minutes.

One minute later and Hall had made it 5 – 1. However, Henry probably wouldn’t include this one in his all time “best goals” list.

Fred Aitken had sent in a cross from the left wing and Pearson dummied it allowing Henry the opportunity. As he set himself to blast it into the net he mishit the shot, completely foxing Rough, and the ball trundled into the opposite corner of the net. Game over.

The attendance was 2,900.

Saints finished in second position ( behind Dundee ) in the final table and in the second round went out to Kilmarnock by 3 – 2 after extra time in the two legged stage.

Unfortunately, John McQuade never fulfilled the potential he revealed in this match and he made only 15 plus 6 sub appearances for Saints scoring 3 goals in two seasons before being released in April 1975.

On the other hand Henry Hall with 114 goals ( all at the top level ) from 253 starts plus 3 subs remains St Johnstone’s 3rd highest goalscorer.




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.