Saturday, 26 March 2011

St Mirren - Love Street

9th January 1999

St Mirren 1-2 Hibernian

Driving through to Paisley for this match I tuned in to BBC Radio Scotland’s Off-the-Ball to hear the show’s guest, former Marillion vocalist Derek Dick (or Fish, to give him his stage name) waxing lyrical about his beloved Hibs.  I was never much of a fan of his music, but anytime I had heard him interviewed he came across a witty and entertaining guy, as he was this particular afternoon.

Outside the ground I ran into one of my Wife’s cousins, along to the game with a friend – both Hibees, they invited me to watch the match with them.  He informed me he was looking to meet up with Derek, another of his mates - who turned out to be the very same Mr Dick who had entertained me on the drive through.  

Meeting up in the stand I was briefly introduced to the Fishy one.  Shaking hands, I was just about to say how much I had enjoyed his contribution to Off-the-Ball when, in that manner celebrities achieve with ease, he for one nano-second looked utterly delighted to make my acquaintance, before instantly erasing me from his consciousness and turning aside to chat to someone else less boring.       

Which was fair enough – he was here to watch his football team after all.  And clearly here was man who took his football seriously, and I found it quite funny to witness this guy I had once seen wearing a kimono performing on Wogan, standing up and waving an extravagant V sign in the direction of the St Mirren support.

A rather unfocussed St Mirren attack - in more ways than one.

Closeup of the main stand at Love Street, demolished in
February 2010, thirteen months after the last match was played at the ground.

This was an Hibernian side in the unlikely surroundings of Scotland’s second tier, a place they had not been since 1981, and in a hurry to get back to the top table.  Their trip to St Mirren was made on the back of a 16 match unbeaten run and, although they eventually took the tally to 17, they didn’t half make heavy weather of it.

Stevie Crawford didn’t help the cause by being ordered off just prior to the break, but the remaining 10 men just rolled up their sleeves and set about their hosts with gusto.  Mixu PAATELAINEN and Paul HARTLEY both struck for Hibs in the second half, but St Mirren never looked out of things, pulling one back four minutes from time through Chris KERR.

Panorama of Love Street, Paisley.

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