Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

St Johnstone’s magnificent 7 at Ibrox: An Alex Ferguson hat-trick, a ‘Requiem for Rangers’ and a ‘What’s the goalie daein, Tom?’ remix

History-making victories for the Perth side in Govan feature in a new book of greatest games.

Steven Milne, Sir Alex Ferguson and Zander Clark have all been St Johnstone heroes at Ibrox.
Steven Milne, Sir Alex Ferguson and Zander Clark have all been St Johnstone heroes at Ibrox. Images: SNS.

Beating Rangers at Ibrox is a daunting challenge whoever the visiting team may be and whatever the era.

The latest book reflecting on the history of 139-year St Johnstone Football Club is a reminder of just that.

Excluding arguably the most important win for Saints in Govan – when it was neutral territory for the 2014 Scottish Cup semi-final – Saints have been successful there on just seven occasions.

‘Matches in Dispatches – 75 of the greatest and most significant games in the history of St Johnstone FC’ is co-authored by Alastair Blair and Brian Doyle.

And it should come as no surprise that winning away to Rangers for the first time gets the Boxing Day fixture of 1925 into the ‘milestone’ section of the duo’s latest book.

“That was clearly a very important moment for the club,” said Blair.

“Saints had been promoted in 1924 and Rangers won the league the previous season.

“It was fitting that Jimmy Munro scored the winning goal because he was one of the club’s greatest ever players. He’d made his debut against Dundee the week before.”

Fergie hat-trick

The 3-2 victory in 1963 is more famous for the part it played in the football story of the man who scored a hat-trick, Sir Alex Ferguson, than for what it meant to the broader football story of St Johnstone.

It’s deservedly in the ‘significant games’ category, though.

And there was even a poem published in the Perthshire Advertiser on the back of it, entitled ‘Requiem for Rangers’!


Sadly they tolled each bell in the steeple,

Proud banners lay crumpled and mute were ‘The People’,

Stilled was their laughter and graven their mirth,

For Rangers had fallen to the wee Saints of Perth


The ‘Gers v Saints – ‘twas a foregone conclusion,

They’ll rattle them in – at least half a dozen,

And when at half-time one-nil was the score,

They smugly sat back and waited for more.


Alas and alack – ‘twas vain wishful thinking,

Saints equalised in less than a twinkling,

Then salted the wound by taking the lead,

While bold Jimmy Millar was ‘losing the heid’.


Till sharp as a lance the ref’s whistle blew,

From the penalty spot the score was two-two,

The faithful relaxed and chanted eas-eee,

And that’s when young Fergie scored goal No.3


Three-two was the score, young Alex scored all,

The mighty have fallen how great was their fall,

And when the super leagues come to encircle the earth,

Remember Great Rangers and the Wee Saints from Perth!

When Henry Hall and John Connolly scored in a 2-0, April 1971 win it was no David slaying Goliath occasion.

Saints were the third best team in the land and Rangers’ footballing equal.

Long drought ended by Savo

What followed wasn’t actually the longest run without a victory at Ibrox in terms of years, months and days but it certainly felt like it.

The drought-ending November 2006, League Cup quarter-final triumph thanks to Steven Milne’s double is ranked 25th in the ‘greatest games’.

The fact that it’s the only one Blair saw in the flesh didn’t do this match any harm when it came to compiling the top 30!

“All the wins at Ibrox are memorable because they have been so scarce,” he said.

“The one that stands out for me is the ‘Savo’ one.

“Through my work, I got invited to hospitality at Ibrox that night.

“I was sitting on my hands through the whole game as the Rangers fans got more and more angry!

“I phoned my younger son, who was working in Edinburgh, at full-time.

“He said: ‘Did we win?’ I just held up my phone because all you could hear was the noise from the Saints fans after the home supporters had all left.

“What made it even better was Robert Prytz had been in the lounge to speak beforehand and he had predicted a comfortable Rangers win against the wee diddy team.

“It was a very satisfying night!

“There were a lot of defeats in the 90s – some of them heavy ones.

“It was ingrained that we just lot at Ibrox. That was the deal. Like a lot of Saints fans, I’m not wildly keen about trips to Ibrox and Parkhead.”

An ending like no other

No paying supporters were in the stadium for the most famous victory in terms of club, national and beyond-these-shores resonance.

That was, of course, the lockdown season Scottish Cup quarter-final that kept Saints’ 2021 double hopes alive.

The infamous ‘What’s the goalie daein’, Tom?’ commentary from Rangers TV’s Old Firm coverage in March 2018 went viral again, applied to footage of Zander Clark getting his head to Liam Craig’s in-swinging corner at the end of extra-time.

And, as Blair explains in the book, there’s a very good reason there wasn’t anything from the Saints’ in-house media team to rival that social media re-hash.

“They turned up and the ISDN line went down so they pretended to commentate in case they got thrown out!” he said.

Back in 2015, seeing their team out-playing Rangers live on BBC Scotland was a joyous experience for Saints fans and Tommy Wright is the only manager to make it an Ibrox double (treble if you count 2014) when the 2017/18 team matched the 3-1 score line of a couple of seasons earlier.

The last time Blair and Doyle brought out a book – ranking the greatest ever players – two trophies swiftly followed, making instant heroes and legends out of players not even in the top 50 when it was sent to the publisher.

They would be delighted if the same happened this time around and Craig Levein and his present-day team produced a result at Ibrox on Wednesday night that would put it into the most memorable games mix.

Hamburg still number one

The choice of the 1971, 3-0 Muirton Park victory over Hamburg in the Uefa Cup will divide opinion among supporters given three trophies have been won since Willie Ormond’s team were at their peak.

But settling upon a top 30 is far from an exact science.

“Craig Levein asked me the other night if the fans got a vote,” said Blair. “I said: ‘No, it was a vote between Brian and me!’

“The top two probably depends on your age (Hamburg followed by the 1989 thriller against Airdrie).

“The broad criteria we judged it on were excitement and enjoyment of the game, the importance of the fixture, strength and/or league position of each side, prodigious scoring or goalkeeping and the quality of the St Johnstone performance relevant to the opposition.

“I think the last one is possibly the most important.

“When you look at the Hamburg game, what some people might not realise is that Uwe Seeler captained the West Germany side in the 1966 World Cup (he was also the country’s player of the year in 1970).

“And everybody remembers Willi Schulz (whose skills as a sweeper kept Franz Beckenbauer in midfield for several years).

“That Hamburg team was phenomenally good.”

Click here to buy ‘Matches in Dispatches’ or visit the St Johnstone club shop at McDiarmid Park.