Founder member of the Scottish Football League 1890
1880 c m
1883-1884 a m
1884-1898 m o
1898-1900 a m
1901-1907 b m
1907-1910 d m o
1912-1914 a m o
1924-1934 a m
1927-1929 away i
Jan-May 1950 i
1959-1960 a d
1962-1963 a o
1972-1973 h i q
1975-1976 a i
1976-1977 a i
1979-1981 a i
1981-1982 a f l
April 1982-1983 l
1984-1987 a g n
1987-1989 a g
1989-1991 a q
1998-1999 a q
2005-2006 a q
2008-2009 a j
St Mirren play in Paisley, an industrial Renfrewshire town to the south-west of Glasgow, that became associated with weaving during the nineteenth century, when demand grew for cheap imitations of the famous teardrop motif from India that became known as "Paisley Pattern." According to John Byrne (Scottish Football Historian September/October 1984) a group of young men formed Venus cricket club in 1874. Seeking financial help, they approached a local businessman who contributed 10/- (50p) on condition a name with local associations was used. The lads chose "St Mirren", after an Irish monk, St Mirin, the town's patron saint. The club played cricket in the summer and rugby football in the winter. In 1877 a motion to play by association rules was agreed and two members walked to Glasgow to buy a ball (there were not enough funds for the train fare!). Taking pity on the boys, the shopkeeper gave them their fare home, adding they were the first from Paisley to buy a ball from him.
The club became known as "The Saints" or "The Buddies", a corruption of "Paisley Bodies", the nickname for natives of the town.
The club played their first match in October 1877, beating Johnstone Britannia at their home ground, then Shotroods. They entered the Scottish FA Cup for the first time in 1880 and the following year were beaten in the final of the Renfrewshire Cup by Thornliebank. They have subsequently won this competition no fewer than 47 times. In March 1890 they played their arch-rivals, Morton at Cappielow in a night-time game illuminated by patent oil lamps - one of the earliest "flood lit" matches on record.
Since 1898 St Mirren have generally worn black and white vertical stripes, but around 1900 they played in cream jerseys.
Their reputation was such that in 1890 they became founder members of the Scottish Football League, which was dominated by clubs from the West of Scotland. Their career did not start well and they had to seek re-election at the end of their first two seasons but in 1893 they finished third. In 1894 they moved into Love St, their current home. In 1908 they reached the Scottish Cup final for the first time but were trounced 1-5 by Celtic. That same year, the SFA ordered that Love St be closed for two weeks after supporters pelted the referee with ash and stones following a disallowed goal. Crowd disorder is by no means a modern phenomenon.
In 1912 and 1914, St Mirren finished last but, under the rules in force at the time, they were re-elected to the First Division and avoided relegation. In 1921 they again finished last, winning only seven matches out of 42 but once again they were spared the drop, the Second Division being suspended at the time. Love Street was comprehensively redeveloped this season and the club took part in an international tournament hosted by CF Barcelona. In 1926, the Buddies won their first major trophy, beating Celtic 2-0 to win the Scottish FA Cup.
In 1935, a year after reaching the Scottish Cup final once more (beaten 0-5 by Rangers), the Saints were relegated for the first time in their history but bounced back immediately.
Despite mediocre pre-war performances, St Mirren were placed in Division A (the top level) after the Second World War but enjoyed little success until 1959 when they won the Scottish Cup for the second time.
The club crest, inspired by the Paisley coat of arms, appeared on the team shirts for the first time during the Second World war but did not feature regularly until the 1950s. A slightly different version was worn 1958-60.
In 1962-63 the team played once more in white shirts but this time with striped shorts - a design that met with general derision. In 1967 they were relegated after a series of poor seasons but such was the gulf between the two divisions at the time, they had no difficulty in regaining their status, winning the Second Division championship at the first time of asking. They continued to struggle and in 1971 they went down again.
The crest was dropped in 1972 when such things had become unfashionable but the older version reappeared in 1977, now embroidered directly onto the shirts.
In 1977 they won the First Division championship (now the second tier following the restructuring) to take their place in the Scottish Premier Division. After finishing third in 1980 (equalling their best ever league position), they qualified for the UEFA Cup. A brand new club crest was introduced in 1981 with the traditional coat of arms now incorporated into a larger shield design carrying the traditional black and white stripes worn by the team. This proved unpopular with many supporters and was dropped in 1984 in favour of the original version.
In 1987 the Saints won the Scottish Cup for the third time, which happens to be the last occasion that an all-Scottish side has lifted the trophy.
In 1991 the team finished bottom of the Premier Division but were (once again) spared relegation following the decision to add two clubs to the competition. The reprieve proved short-lived - the following season they went down with Dunfermline.
In 1995 the badge was placed on a circular field but this version proved short-lived. In Scotland all coats of arms since 1672 must, by law, be registered with the Court of the Lord Lyon. After they pointed out to the football club that their arms were not registered, the castellation over the top was removed and a new version was introduced in 1996. The shield background was dropped the year after and ever since it has appeared on a simple disc.
After eight seasons in the First Division (second tier), a period that included an unpopular flirtation with halved shirts, St Mirren were promoted as champions in 2000 only to drop down again the following season. In 2006 they again won the First Division, this time by ten clear points, to regain their place in the Scottish Premier League. Plans are currently underway to move into a brand new stadium in Paisley's Ferguslie Park, financed by the sale of Love Street for retail development, which, it is expected, will raise sufficient funds to also clear the club's debts.
For the club's 135th anniversary celebrated in 2012, a third strip based on their original narrow red and blue hooped colours was introduced.
- (a) www.stmirren.info - this unofficial site is a real treat with a comprehensive photographic archive of past kits.
- (b) Wikipedia
- (c) Brian McColl
- (d) Airdrieonians FC - Images of Sport (Brian Bollen 2002)
- (e) London Hearts
- (f) mekeke.co.uk
- (g) Ralph Pomeroy
- (h) Alex Horsburgh
- (i) Alick Milne (HFK Research Associate)
- (j) Football Shirt Culture
- (k) jumpers4goalposts.com
- (l) Willie Kay
- (m) St Mirren Official Site
- (n) Iain Cameron
- (o) Keith Ellis (HFK Research Associate)
- (p) Alan Hogg
- (q) Bill Finlay