I am a St Johnstone die-hard who holds a season ticket and regularly travels to see the team, and have done so since childhood. I also have a football radio show on BBC Scotland called ‘Off the Ball’.
My very first football memory is made up of words and colours. I was taken to a St Johnstone v Partick Thistle game at the old Muirton Park ground by my Uncle Billy. I was barely old enough to see over the enclosure wall but remember him saying ‘Oh no! Has Dan come back to haunt us?”
It was an expression I didn’t understand at the time but one that soon became one of a lexicon of words and phrases that only made sense at Scottish football grounds.
Dan McAlinden used to play for St Johnstone and had been sold to Partick Thistle. He had the ball on the left-wing and cut in dangerously on goal. He didn’t score but it was a powerful shot which came back off the post. Dan very nearly came back to haunt us. I can vividly remember the bright yellow flash of his jersey and the No.11 on his back as he cut in on goal.
My Uncle Billy died recently and his ashes are buried at the centre line at the East Stand at McDairmid Park where we sat together many times, long after after Saints had relocated from Muirton Park.
I love him dearly and will never forget the things he taught me about football. He was a very special man.