Sunday 3 April 2011

St.Mirren debut

It's almost two seasons since the doors closed on Love Street, St.Mirren's home for a major part of its 134 year existence. I've seen little on either the playing side or, from televised games, the new stadium, to entice me to a match since, but Lesley has been getting increasingly keen. St.Mirren have spent yet another season at the wrong end of the SPL so I took Lesley through to the "relegation six-pointer" against bottom club Hamilton.

We almost didn;t make it. The traffic jam that is the M8, especially with roadworks and Rangers at home, was tedious. I parked in Albion Road next to the rather forlorn, derelict Love St. The turnstiles are still there but beyond there are just mounds of overgrown rubble on which the terraces and, later, stands used to surround one of the bext playing surfaces in Scotland. We had to belt along to the new ground, Lesley having to jog alongside me to keep up. We picked up our tickets and got in with a minute to spare.

New St.Mirren Park is very much a kit stadium with concrete terraces on to which are bolted plastic chairs. At least there was a decent crowd in (still less than 5,000) to watch the game. Lesley and I were at the front, near the dug-outs (and actually appeared once or twice on the match highlights). Hamilton were the better team and scored a great opener before half time. In the second half St.Mirren rallied briefly to score an equalising header then got a fairly soft penalty, with Hamilton having a man sent off as a result. When Michael Higdon drilled in his hat-trick with a great finish, it was all over. The Buddies dominated for ten minutes and won 3-1 to go 9 points clear of Hamilton.

Lesley was delighted to see a victory in her first live match and joined me, 5-1 v Brechin in August 1972, and Sharon, 8-0 v Clyebank in March 2000, still the biggest win I've seen, in that regard. We had a wee tour of the old haunts around Glenburn before taking the circuitous route around the south of Glasgow rather than put up with the M8 nonsense again.

My day wasn't over, however, as Sharon had been hard at work preparing the Pampered Chef Trip Achievers' dinner which we were hosting in the evening. Around 20 people were there for drinks and a spread laid on by my talented wife. We had a busy but enjoyable evening with quite a few empty bottles of wine ending up in the recycling bin. I sometimes wonder what the boys make of it all. There was never the level of socialising in the Wallace house when I was little that the boys must consider as the norm today, even though they, remarkably, sleep through it all ince they've seen and heard everyone come in and made an occasional appearance. It's easier for us to entertain at home, due to a lack of babysitters, although we don't mind getting invitations!

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