Sunday, 20 November 2011

St Mirren (2)

St Mirren 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic

19th November 2011

And this One completes the set !! 

I have now visited each and every Scottish League ground in Scotland.  OK, so I suppose there have been greater achievements in the history of mankind, and pretty much every Normal out there will react to my announcement with a “So?”.  But I don’t care – there are less salubrious and more salacious ways of wasting one’s spare time.

Amongst the list of grounds visited to your left, you will see a few departed friends, plus there are a couple more I have visited for which I, regretfully, have no pics.  One such is Douglas Park, which I used to drop into from time to time during the 1980s.  But the real loss is Muirton Park, where in 1981 I witnessed an unfeasibly youthful looking Ally McCoist pretty much end Willie Garner’s Celtic career single-handed.

Muirton is long gone now of course, but I was surprised to note the site of St Mirren’s former ground Love Street has not yet been redeveloped.  They seem to have just bashed the various buildings to bits, and collected the pieces into big piles of rubble.  I guess Tesco’s plans have been a victim of the recession.

The old turnstile entrances to Love Street. 

Piles of rubble on the old playing surface.

The approach to the new St Mirren Park along Greenhill Road.

The main entrance to the stadium.

The new ground is a neat if uninspiring affair, with four almost identical looking stands, sporting the obligatory open corners.  I had hoped someone may have been a bit brave and chosen slightly smaller stands with the corners filled in, rather in the manner of Scunthorpe’s Glanford Park.  But I suppose this tried and tested new build formula provides the most seats per £ ratio.

As the sides took the field to “The Saints are Coming”, I wondered if any of the home fans appreciated the irony of their team entering the fray to the sound of a Dunfermline band.  But the song title was unfortunately apt as, once the match got under way St Mirren proceeded to do what I had seen them do to Dunfermline on the opening 45 minutes of the season; namely pass the Pars to pieces.  The difference this time around was they succeeded in actually converting their dominance into goals: through Kenny McLEAN (24) and Nigel HASSELBAINK (45).

Little Hasselbaink was real joy to watch; always available as an outlet for his colleagues, and generally the ball stuck when he received it - in stark contrast to Pars’ Buchanan and Kirk, whose second touches were invariably attempts to regain possession.

Dunfermline livened up considerably during the second-half, once Boyle and Buchanan (who both look sadly out of their depth at this level) were replaced by Barrowman and CARDLE.  The latter it was who was credited with pulling a goal back on the hour, although home ‘keeper Craig Samson marked his recent call up to the Scotland squad by making a comprehensive pig’s ear of dealing with the winger’s innocuous cross.  The visitors huffed and puffed thereafter, and Cardle did force a fine stop from Samson eight minutes from time, but it was a narrow defeat for the Pars in the end.  Although, in reality, one could argue it was really only the Saints’ persistent squandering of headed opportunities in front of goal which kept the score-line so close.

I don't know what was reddest - Samson's hair, his top
or his face after Dunfermline's goal. 

Joe Cardle causes another anxiety attack in the Buddies' defence.

Panorama of St Mirren Park, Paisley.

3 comments:

  1. Congrats. Hope to finish the 42 as well some day, but living in The Netherlands and most games on saturday 15:00 is making it a bit harder ;-)

    Which was your favourite ground to visit? Muirton Park?

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  2. Hi Joris

    Thank you for your comments.

    Doing the 42 from The Netherlands? Now that would be an achievement, and a pricey one at that, I should imagine.

    As for grounds here, whatever else you think about Glasgow's Ugly Sisters, and the damage they have done to Scottish Football over the decades, one cannot argue both of their grounds are impressive places.

    For charm you cannot beat Brechin City, with the cute hedge running along one side, but my favourite has to be a full East End Park (which does not happen terribly often, admittedly).

    Regards

    Ian

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  3. Hi Ian,

    Luckily there's Easyjet ;-) The worst thing about Scotland is the weather. Had a lot of postponed games last year, including Cowdenbeath v Dunferlime. EEP is the only SPL ground I never visited. Wanted to do it against Raith Rovers (was at the reversed fixture in 2009-> http://www.doingthe116.com/raithrovers.htm) and that was brilliant.The good thing about Scotland are the ground. Somerset Park, Palmerston Park and Cappielow Park are in my personal top ten.

    Next trip to Scotland is for the SFA Cup. Hope to do the Dundee v Kilmarnock/Forfar v Aberdeen double on saturday and Peterhead or Arbroath (depends on for which games I can get tickets for) on sunday. Three new grounds and nice games for me. Hope the weather will be a bit softer this time.

    Cheers, Joris

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