Ever since my Dad took me along to Britain’s first purpose-built all-seater stadium – McDiarmid Park – in 1989, I’ve been hooked. Weekly highs and lows, with the highs probably just edging the lows – exactly what football is all about surely? Maskery, Moore and Grant were my boyhood heroes, with Totten, Sturrock, Coyle and McInnes managerial masters in their own ways.
The title-defining win over Airdrie in 1990, the League Cup semi-final victory over Hearts in 1998 and the recent 4-1 Perth thrashing of the Gers will always raise a smile, but what better memory than a New Year’s Day scalping of your nearest rivals?
St Johnstone 7, Dundee 2. January 1, 1997. What a day. I’ve dined off that game for years, never more so than in recent years working alongside that big Dee Alan Pattullo at The Scotsman. Sorry again, Al.
New Year’s Eve had been a strange one on Princes Street in Edinburgh. My friend, Wendy, had gone AWOL that night and my mood was not the greatest on arriving to watch the ‘Tayside Derby’.
Almost 90 minutes later there is one abiding memoy – all the Saints fans cheering en masse as Dundee netted a late consolation.
Leigh Jenkinson, ‘Jenky’, ripped two sweet left-footed free-kicks home, strikes that merited a bigger stage. It was one of those days when it all clicked, Saints in wondeful full flow.
Dementia is all too familiar to me, as my journalistic grandfather Ian Nelson, he of the great Elvis ‘exclusive’ at Prestwick Airport in 1960, succumbed to the disease in 2009. Words were his life, his passion.
I wore his old tartan bunnet for that 4-1 rout of Rangers and how he would appreciate this website. Wendy, meanwhile, did turn up… in fact she sneaked into the home end to sit just in front of me for that Rangers game. She was rather quiet…