St Mirren Change
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St Mirren Graeme Macpherson, sports journalist, The Herald

My son only made it to Love Street once before they tore the old place down but he chose a good day to put in an appearance.

It was October 5, 2008 and he was six weeks old. Like every new father, I had exercised my right to force him to follow the football team of my choosing and so young Joshua would be a St Mirren fan whether he liked it or not. Based on overwhelming historical evidence, he almost certainly would not.

The initial signs had been good. Just two days after he was born, and St Mirren thumped Dumbarton 7-0. “Look,” I said, pointing his head in the direction of the score as it flashed up on Sky Sports News. “This needn’t be all bad.”

Needless to say it wasn’t to last. Soon it was back to the norm as defeat followed draw, followed defeat. I was losing his attention and he wasn’t even two months old. I needed a miracle if he wasn’t to be drawn instead to Rangers, Celtic or, god forbid, Morton. On that fateful day in October, one duly arrived.

St Mirren had not beaten Rangers at home for 22 years and not at all for 17. They were bottom of the SPL while Walter Smith’s side were top. Anything other than a straightforward away win looked highly unlikely. On reporting duty that day for The Herald, I trooped into the battered old press box at the back of the Main Stand and hoped Rangers would go relatively easy on my boys.

By half-time it was surprisingly still goalless. St Mirren, defending heroically as if their lives depended on it, grew bolder the longer the game wore on. With 12 minutes remaining, Billy Mehmet flicked a pass into Stephen McGinn’s path, and the midfielder advanced swiftly towards goal. As the Rangers defence hesitated, McGinn saw his opportunity and curled a glorious left-foot shot that arced beyond Allan McGregor’s outstretched fingertips and into the net.

I suppressed a yelp - professional neutrality and all that - and continued on with my work as Rangers bombarded the opposition goal in search of an equaliser that wouldn’t come. St Mirren had recorded a famous victory and it was all I could do to keep the grin off my face.

Behind in my work after getting caught up in all the excitement of the occasion, my wife decided to walk down to the ground to meet me once I had eventually filed my report, pushing our no-doubt jubilant six-week old along in his pram to savour the moment for himself.

Father and son were united outside the old stadium for the first and only time. As he rested on my shoulder, he seemed to smile briefly, before quietly vomiting down my back then falling asleep. “Happy days, my boy,” I whispered to him with a smile. “Happy days.”

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