St Mirren 1 Rangers 0

It was one of the most exciting endings I’ve seen to a game: brave, desperate defending from the Saints, against ten-man Rangers attacks that seemed certain, certain, time after time, to nail an equalizer that astonishingly never came.

1-0 it remained, however, and then the big screen next to my table in the Standard switched to Everton v Newcastle. At 2-0 to Everton, some cockney bloke rolled in and started making whoops and monkey punches, dominating the space, forcing the hitherto quiet couples and groups to dip their heads. I’d left by the time Toon got their equalizer, but I dare say some quiet satisfaction reigned..

1-0, then, and Rangers’ last visit to Love Street. The papers have described it as “decrepit” this weekend. It didn’t look that way to me, but nevertheless, the place that’s been the Paisley club’s home for the best of 110 years is to be bulldozed for Tesco in a couple of months’ time. Many of the old grounds have gone without their significance as local architecture being recognised, so I hope someone’s taking a camera around carefully before demolition starts.

It’s always sad when an old ground goes, but this time there’s a great deal to be said for it. I’ve been impressed, since getting here, with the way Scottish football clubs are being run with reference both to their financial future and the future of Scottish football tout court. St Mirren is a good example.

The sale of the old ground will enable St Mirren to move to an entirely new 8,000 seat stadium on the edge of the town, with all their debts cleared. Getting to this point has been a difficult job, with certain banks playing a less than supportive role. But now that the project is nearly realised, it’s possible to step back and admire. The new site is brilliantly chosen, over the road from Paisley St James rail station, and within a hairsbreadth of junction 29 of the M8. It’ll be something of a symbol for the town, straight away, and the improved conditions can only help the club’s performances on the pitch.

There’s another good portent too. The team that beat Rangers came from a squad that is overwhelmingly made up of Scottish players. These players are getting Premier Division experience against sides such as Rangers, who, don’t forget, reached a European final only last season, and Celtic, who have made the last 16 of the European Cup with their current squad. To say nothing, for now, of the Edinburgh clubs.

This is why Scottish football is improving so quickly. There’s some innovative training going on here for kids, too, which I’ll cover in a later post.

It was a good victory on Sunday. But it won’t be the last.

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2 responses to “St Mirren 1 Rangers 0

  1. The old ground won’t be forgotten.
    There’s a film, (already shot and currently being edited by some Buddies), of the last season and memories of Love Street – out in late Nov, is the plan… plus there’s a book in production for its history, too. But that will also focus on the move to the new ground.
    We’ll all miss Love Street, particularly if the new management team can serve up more of Sunday’s fare – but the reality is that we could never have contemplated getting in players of the current calibre if a new ground, debt-free, with a new ‘DEDICATED’ Training facility was not on offer to attract players.
    The business model abhors ‘decrepitude’ and as refurbing the old ground has been ignored for decades since other false debt-free dawns, it would cost as much to fix that as to build anew.
    Good ole public-spirited Tesco saw that, paid off the Buddies’ debts, took responsibility for providing and having built a plastic new stadium and gave the club a wee wadge of dosh to sweeten the blow.
    It couldn’t be argued against.
    Buddies like me, now outwith the town and furth of Scotland, know it is inevitable. And pleases some Buddies – though it mucks up our memories.

  2. I wonder in reference to your last comment if what might happen is what happened in the Edwardian era- in that scotland leads England in the development of football. I’m not sure whether that will happen- but it strikes me that the Scots are starting to develop some really good players at the moment all over the place.