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Retro Saints; St.mirren 2 Celtic 3 Aet 1980

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  • Aberdeen and St Mirren would certainly struggle to match the 1959 crowd at Hampden taking into account the present capacity of Hampden. However, Aberdeen under Ferguson were probably playing in front of bigger crowds then than they were about 20 years previously when we met them in the 1959 cup final.
  • If Saints could produce a team of similar quality to that of the late 70s and early 80s I am confident that the 2020 stadium would be a sell-out.
  • Yes life has changed - St Mirren have not produced a team anything like the one featured in the video ever since - that's not to say that we will be in chronic decline for ever more.

As things stand with TV coverage, gate prices and the economic climate, while I would love to see a really good St Mirren side playing good football in the top half of the SPFL I don't think we would see the Paisley 2021 Stadium sold out. Any manager who got us top 6 would be lured to a bigger club before the January window opened as would any matchwinning decent players and we'd soon be left with the average players the bigger clubs didn't want.

When this game was broadcast on TV I think BBC and Scotsport on STV did highlights of 1 game each week - usually the Old Firm matches and they also had to follow Aberdeen and Dundee Utd regularly since they were often winning the league or challenging for the title. In those days you might only see a very good St Mirren team on the telly 7 or 8 times a season and it was a big deal to arrive at the ground and see the big cherry pcker with the TV camera hovering above the Love St end and know our game was going to be "the" TV game that weekend. These days we have a rubbish team, its expensive to go, and if you want to see St Mirren you can see highlights or the goals from every game via BBC or St Mirren TV's online highlights. In the 'old days' if you wanted to see St Mirren you had to go and turn up at the ground they were playing at.

The finance in the 80's meant St Mirren and Aberdeen could outbid Celtic and Rangers for top up and coming players and players would choose non-OF teams when offered a choice of who to sign for - unimaginable now I am afraid.

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Aberdeen are a pretty successful and decent side but I think if they played St.Mirren in a Scottish Cup final in the next couple of years we would still struggle to repeat the 108,591 crowd who watched the two teams compete for the 1959 Scottish Cup.

If Saints were playing electrifying football and competing in the top half of the Premiership our home support would probably still not top 5,000 most weeks.

Life has changed, society has changed. The game has changed. C'est La Vie.

To counter that, gates in Scottish football in the 70s and early 80s were at their lowest point.

Gates today are better than they were back then...

Big gates like this were still possible back then however. Possibly a throw back to an earlier era. The Scottish Cup still had magic. Premiership football on Sky TV didn't exist. Entry was cheap. Games were not all ticket.

A myriad of factors meant that a big gate was still possible.

But you are right. Its not going to happen again.

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  • Aberdeen and St Mirren would certainly struggle to match the 1959 crowd at Hampden taking into account the present capacity of Hampden. However, Aberdeen under Ferguson were probably playing in front of bigger crowds then than they were about 20 years previously when we met them in the 1959 cup final.
  • If Saints could produce a team of similar quality to that of the late 70s and early 80s I am confident that the 2020 stadium would be a sell-out.
  • Yes life has changed - St Mirren have not produced a team anything like the one featured in the video ever since - that's not to say that we will be in chronic decline for ever more.

Not sure that's true.

St. Mirren's average home gates in the 50s were around the 15,000 mark.

But the likes of Hearts, Hibs, Dundee & Aberdeen were getting bigger average gates.

I'll dig out some stats over the weekend.

The gates in the 50s were quite incredible. Indeed, there seasons when Hearts topped the average attendance table, above both halves of the OF.

Celtic regularly failed to make the top 3, never mind the top 2. I think there is even a season where Celtic were ranked 7th and didn't even make the top 2 for Glasgow!

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Just looked at this season's European stats.

Scotland's top flight this season has the 12th highest top flight average in Europe. And that's without The Rangers & Hibs.

Puts us above the likes of Poland, Turkey, Austria, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Denmark, Norway.

If The Rangers gates are included, Scotland is ranked 7th in Europe.

Only Germany, England, Spain, Italy, France and Holland are bigger.

We are above the likes of Russia, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland.

The Scottish Championship this season has a higher average gate than top flight in Denmark, Norway, Austria, Ukraine, Czech Rep, Greece, Croatia, etc. Better than the second tier in Italy, France & Holland.

Even if you exclude Rangers attendances, the Scottish Championship has a higher average gate than the top flights in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Finland and Bulgaria. And better than the second tier in Holland, Russia and Turkey.

Even the Scottish League One has a higher average gate than a number of European top flights including places like Georgia, Macedonia, Lithuania, Northern Ireland. And is better than the second tier in Czech Rep, Hungary and Croatia.

The idea that Scottish football is dying just ain't true!

Edited by nosferatu

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Right, got son stats on Aberdeen.

None of Fergie's seasons at Aberdeen make the top 10 of Aberdeen's highest average gates since ww2.

All bar one of the top 10 are pre 1959. The exception is season 71/72 which saw an average of 18,014 compared with 17,138 in 83/84.

Season 82/83, which saw Aberdeen win the ECWC is beaten by seasons 2 other seasons in the 70s.

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With regard to St. Mirren, our top 16 best post ww2 seasons are all 1957 and earlier.

Season 78/79 is ranked 17th with an average of 10,694. This compares with an average of 14,942 over our 10 best seasons.

Season 49/50 is top with 17,333.

Season 79/80, the subject of this thread, saw an average of 10,342, which ranks 19th since ww2.

Our worst seasons are predictably in the early 70s and during the 90s and early 00s.

Seasons 73/74 and 74/75 rank as our 2 worst with 93/94 next.

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Thanks for the stats nosferatu - these are illuminating to say the least.

My point was merely that with a 1979/80 standard of team the crowds would return to the 2020 stadium.

Who could have foreseen in the 1950s that attendances would have fallen to the present level?

By the same yardstick you can't discount the possibility that circumstances will change again and that the crowds will come flocking back - one day!

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Thanks for the stats nosferatu - these are illuminating to say the least.

My point was merely that with a 1979/80 standard of team the crowds would return to the 2020 stadium.

Who could have foreseen in the 1950s that attendances would have fallen to the present level?

By the same yardstick you can't discount the possibility that circumstances will change again and that the crowds will come flocking back - one day!

Its an interesting topic.

Is it possible for us ever to have a 79/80 standard of team again?

Back then there was no Bosman and the disparity on wages between rich and poor did not exist. That allowed us to keep quality players for a number of years.

In addition, due to the lack of disparity between rich and poor, we were able to outbid Celtic to break the Scottish transfer record to sign Frank McDougall. Indeed, we also signed Doug Somner that summer for the 3rd highest fee in Scottish transfer history.

There is also the issue that Scotland in general just does not produce that same quality of player anymore. Probably the same in most European countries... But that is another topic!

So, IMO, I think its impossible for us to have the same quality of side ever again, just as Aberdeen & Dundee United will never replicate the early 80s and indeed, Celtic will never replicate the late 60s.

And then there is also the point that even if we did have the same standard of side, could we actually realistically challenge the Old Firm?

Back in 79/80, there wasn't the same gulf between us and the Old Firm in terms of finances and crowds. Back in 79/80 Saints fans actually dreamed of winning the league and the cup as realistic prospects. Celtic actually saw us as genuine challengers... Hence the large attendance at this match.

And that brings me to my final point. Part of the attraction of that game wasn't the quality of the sides... It was the fact that there was genuine competition.

We wont ever have genuine competition unless we get shot of the Old Firm!

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Its an interesting topic.

Is it possible for us ever to have a 79/80 standard of team again?

Back then there was no Bosman and the disparity on wages between rich and poor did not exist. That allowed us to keep quality players for a number of years.

In addition, due to the lack of disparity between rich and poor, we were able to outbid Celtic to break the Scottish transfer record to sign Frank McDougall. Indeed, we also signed Doug Somner that summer for the 3rd highest fee in Scottish transfer history.

There is also the issue that Scotland in general just does not produce that same quality of player anymore. Probably the same in most European countries... But that is another topic!

So, IMO, I think its impossible for us to have the same quality of side ever again, just as Aberdeen & Dundee United will never replicate the early 80s and indeed, Celtic will never replicate the late 60s.

And then there is also the point that even if we did have the same standard of side, could we actually realistically challenge the Old Firm?

Back in 79/80, there wasn't the same gulf between us and the Old Firm in terms of finances and crowds. Back in 79/80 Saints fans actually dreamed of winning the league and the cup as realistic prospects. Celtic actually saw us as genuine challengers... Hence the large attendance at this match.

And that brings me to my final point. Part of the attraction of that game wasn't the quality of the sides... It was the fact that there was genuine competition.

We wont ever have genuine competition unless we get shot of the Old Firm!

Did you really ever thought we could win the league back then?

It was a cup myself and imo we should have done a wee bit better in that regard

Meaning that team was far better than the teams of 1987 and 2013

Regarding the league i thought we were always 2 or 3 players short of the standard to win a league

These players were in defence,Young,Beckett and Dunlop were average and if we strengthen that area we would have been even closer

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Did you really ever thought we could win the league back then?

It was a cup myself and imo we should have done a wee bit better in that regard

Meaning that team was far better than the teams of 1987 and 2013

Regarding the league i thought we were always 2 or 3 players short of the standard to win a league

These players were in defence,Young,Beckett and Dunlop were average and if we strengthen that area we would have been even closer

I was only 10 back then so I don't have a clear recollection

I do remember going into the game at Pittodrie with 4 games to go and if we had won that then it was game on.

With hindsight, I look back at Dundee Utd winning the league and Hearts coming close in 86 and, as you say, if we'd had better quality in defence then things may have been different.

Should point out that Andy Dunlop was actually replaced by Mark Fulton early in the season and results began to pick up after the introduction of both him and Peter Weir.

Maybe if Weir & Fulton had been in from the start the we'd have had a better start to the season?

And the of course, we lost McDougall and Lex Richardson for the run in through injury.

These guys could have made a crucial difference.

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Celtic and Newco are likely to have a big influence on any future league set up including TV rights and other commercial benefits.

However, even they must now realise that they need a competitive league set up in Scotland to attract the TV companies and that is unlikely to be a top league of 10 clubs playing each other a minimum of 4 times a season which suited the former old firm.

I may be naïve but whilst Celtic and Newco are big fish in a small pool they need a set up which distributes resources more equitably and fairly than the present system and should this happen the chances of seeing a 1979/80 quality St Mirren team would not be all that far fetched.

I agree though that that would be unlikely with the current status quo in place, in which case we are not going to see the Saints or Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs or Dundee United etc making a realistic challenge for the top spot in the foreseeable future..

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The 4 games a season is another interesting subject!

It was introduced in order to create competition and it certainly did that in the 80s with Aberdeen & Dundee Utd winning the league and Hearts (and St.Mirren coming close).

As I pointed out earlier, average gates in Scotland are the 7th highest in Europe in absolute terms and the highest in terms of population. Since the introduction of the SPL gates have been at their highest since the 50s.

You wouldn't think it going by the way folk talk about Scottish football... But in terms of attendances compared with the rest of Europe, Scottish football is a rip roaring success.

Scottish football will never ever go back to an enlarged league playing each other twice a season.

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Cracking picture mcd,where did you find that?Particularly like the wee car trying to get thru the crowds!!!

Taxi for Agnew!

Just looked at this season's European stats.

Scotland's top flight this season has the 12th highest top flight average in Europe. And that's without The Rangers & Hibs.

Puts us above the likes of Poland, Turkey, Austria, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Denmark, Norway.

If The Rangers gates are included, Scotland is ranked 7th in Europe.

Only Germany, England, Spain, Italy, France and Holland are bigger.

We are above the likes of Russia, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland.

The Scottish Championship this season has a higher average gate than top flight in Denmark, Norway, Austria, Ukraine, Czech Rep, Greece, Croatia, etc. Better than the second tier in Italy, France & Holland.

Even if you exclude Rangers attendances, the Scottish Championship has a higher average gate than the top flights in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Finland and Bulgaria. And better than the second tier in Holland, Russia and Turkey.

Even the Scottish League One has a higher average gate than a number of European top flights including places like Georgia, Macedonia, Lithuania, Northern Ireland. And is better than the second tier in Czech Rep, Hungary and Croatia.

The idea that Scottish football is dying just ain't true!

With regard to St. Mirren, our top 16 best post ww2 seasons are all 1957 and earlier.

Season 78/79 is ranked 17th with an average of 10,694. This compares with an average of 14,942 over our 10 best seasons.

Season 49/50 is top with 17,333.

Season 79/80, the subject of this thread, saw an average of 10,342, which ranks 19th since ww2.

Our worst seasons are predictably in the early 70s and during the 90s and early 00s.

Seasons 73/74 and 74/75 rank as our 2 worst with 93/94 next.

All interesting stats and I enjoyed your other posts on this thread too, but knowing how much you LURV your stats... you must have been creaming yoursef for h o u r s ... "Look at his face, just look at his face!!"

Edited by Vambo57

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The 4 games a season is another interesting subject!

It was introduced in order to create competition and it certainly did that in the 80s with Aberdeen & Dundee Utd winning the league and Hearts (and St.Mirren coming close).

As I pointed out earlier, average gates in Scotland are the 7th highest in Europe in absolute terms and the highest in terms of population. Since the introduction of the SPL gates have been at their highest since the 50s.

You wouldn't think it going by the way folk talk about Scottish football... But in terms of attendances compared with the rest of Europe, Scottish football is a rip roaring success.

Scottish football will never ever go back to an enlarged league playing each other twice a season.

Rip roaring success

We are doing so well in Europe and the National team is a rip roaring success

We are moaning at the standard of our fitba

The attendances are up because certain 2 teams still get large crowds

Large % of that is nowt to do with fitba

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Were you not in attendance at the "Gilshan" Rangers game , big chap ? Over 42k official !

Naw Billy,I was too young for OF games then.Remember you have a few years on me.......tongue.png

My 1st game against "them" would have been this one.......

http://stmirrenprogrammes.co.uk/StMirren/STM_Match_Details.php?Season=1969&GameID=1258

And my 1st game against the other "them" would be this one......

http://stmirrenprogrammes.co.uk/StMirren/STM_Match_Details.php?Season=1970&GameID=1319

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One of the most exciting and scary nights at Love St...queues were so long we were 1 up as my Dad punted me over the turnstyle of the Main Stand. They place was going berserk as we legged it up stairs on the way in.
The scenes during the McAdam sending off were some of the worst I've encountered (Rangers terracing invasion similar period was probably slightly worse as I was a very little lad on the terracing my Dad fearing for our safety even taking to the track to avoid the hail of beer cans, bottles and coins being hurled at us that day).
As McAdam walked off a glass beer bottle went a few yards over our heads smashing against the wall of the little enclosure at the front of the main stand (heaven knows how it missed everyone with it so crowded) and an old bearded fellow, with horrible teeth as I recall, just stood there about a dozen rows behind screaming "You'll never beat ra sellik!" I don't think he was even lifted.
Over on the far side I don't think to this day I've seen more beer cans and bottles come out of a crowd than were thrown at that linesman in the minutes after the red card...took an age to get started again. The commentary mentions it as it starts but they then follow McAdam as he walks off and cut to the next action. (was more the norm then I guess)
There's no great memory tricks here either as a kid I used to diary trips to games and that's pretty much word for word what I've scribbled.
I look back at stomach knotting incredible exciting nights like that and feel sorry for our young fans these days but on the other hand at least they are a whole lot safer.

Edited by WirralSaint

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The attached link is quite simply, the worst I've ever felt after a Saints game. The only game I ever took my girlfriend of the time to and what a big mistake. I was obviously in a foul mood leaving the stadium and she uttered the immortal words "AW FFS it's only a game!" to which there really is only one response. "Fukoff you stupid cow. You're dumped" (obvs I went crawling back the next day and thankfully for me she understood my pain and forgave me).

Horrible night though. I might get into trouble here for even mentioning it, but here you go.....

http://stmirrenprogrammes.co.uk/StMirren/STM_Match_Details.php?Season=1985&GameID=2145

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The attached link is quite simply, the worst I've ever felt after a Saints game. The only game I ever took my girlfriend of the time to and what a big mistake. I was obviously in a foul mood leaving the stadium and she uttered the immortal words "AW FFS it's only a game!" to which there really is only one response. "Fukoff you stupid cow. You're dumped" (obvs I went crawling back the next day and thankfully for me she understood my pain and forgave me).

Horrible night though. I might get into trouble here for even mentioning it, but here you go.....

http://stmirrenprogrammes.co.uk/StMirren/STM_Match_Details.php?Season=1985&GameID=2145

Reported ! :P

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I remember we would regularly burn a tricolour when playing celtic and burn a union jack against rangers. I used to stand quite near the fence and as a young man I loved the atmosphere. I changed mind you when I got a beer can stuck in my face from group of Celtic fans who had infiltrated the north bank, and worse than that a right hander from a saints fan who was wearing a ring and burst my eyebrow! Being the big hard ticket I was I moved to the enclosure and enjoyed many happy times with some great guys who were a laugh a minute, particularly a guy called Les who used to come with his Father. Both of them were brilliant to stand beside. Best memory was Scanlons screamer and seeing the faces of Celtic fans who again had wormed their way into saints territory in the enclosure. Oh how we laughed!

what a goal Scalon scored. From inside the centre circle. A rasper as it would have been called back then. Sealed a 4-2 win after being 0-2 down after 20mins

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