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Pain of cup final defeat almost indescribable

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Jack Ross | 17:56 UK time, Monday, 22 March 2010

This was always going to be the easiest or most difficult blog I have written, depending on the outcome of Sunday's Co-operative Insurance Cup final.

It is fair to say, however, that I did not appreciate how hard it would be to articulate the emotions felt after our defeat.

Losing a cup final in any manner is heart-breaking but when you consider the nature of the majority of our performance, the numerical advantage we gained in the second half and the fantastic opportunity we had to win, then the pain is almost indescribable.

St Mirren fans feel the pain of defeatAnalysing a football match always produces a variety of opinion and often leads to extreme views rather than more balanced analysis.

Examining our display yesterday, if you only want to look at the last 20 minutes of the game, then we did not play well as we failed to utilise our 11 v 9 advantage by remaining patient enough to move Rangers as a unit from side to side before an opening appeared.

However, if you take the game prior to that then we played very well: we retained possession, did not allow Rangers to gain momentum, picked up second balls and created chances.

How, therefore, do you sum up the whole performance?

I think that is difficult because ultimately we lost the match and a golden chance to win a cup, but there are no doubts that our performance was good and better than most outwith our club expected.

Going back to why we didn't play in the most productive way after Rangers' sendings off, the best way to explain it is the desperation to try to win the game.

In football, there are no time-outs available, no chance to calm people down and reorganise. It has to be done in the heat of battle, when adrenaline is flowing and emotions are high.

Yesterday all this was flowing furiously through our side as we chased the dream.

Ultimately this inability to regroup and refocus cost us victory but our display prior to this had at least given us the opportunity to do so.

Our dressing room was a very quiet place after the game, with some of us visibly overcome with the disappointment.

I understand supporters believe that players don't care as much as they do.

While most players in a team will never have been brought up to support that club, and consequently never have gone through the ups and downs that following them entails, while we are lucky enough to wear that shirt we are just as passionate about the club as the fans are and desire success just as much.

Therefore, players hurt just as much, suffer the gut-wrenching anguish that defeats such as yesterday's provide because we stand shoulder to shoulder as team-mates on a weekly basis and try to win matches as a team and for our club.

Such togetherness is what we will need to bounce back and return to winning league games, starting with Celtic on Wednesday. Strength of character will, of course, be required, but we know we have it; we just have to keep proving it.

Finally, much was made of bonus rows in the build-up to the final, and I have been led to believe that John Potter and I have been portrayed as ring leaders and greedy.

All I can say is what utter garbage! In our captaincy positions we have no choice but to be a link between boardroom and dressing room.

And as for money being the motivation, I have played for £10 expenses in the juniors, £75 a week part-time and £200 full-time. I know Pottsy has done similar, and therefore some of the accusations made are slights on our character and so far wide of the mark.

The reason I play football is because I love the game, albeit the relationship has been momentarily soured.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Hello Jack,
    I fully agree with your blog and whilst dissappointing we have to put into context the acheivement of reaching the final. I feel that the players have certainly been let down by the board at St Mirren in recent weeks.
    Whilst I understand the need to control costs for all Scottish clubs, I believe that the boards handling of the situation was extremely unfair to the players i.e. offering a lower bonus for the semi final than the quarter final - I bet their bonus is not structured like this.
    Maybe they should remember that we are a football club and everything should be geared to help the football team be successful!!
    My feeling from looking in is that the board are happy to take the financial benefits without showing some appreciation to the players who are the people that got us to the final in the first place.
    I also find it staggering that the board do not invite the players to the after party, win or lose, they should be showing the respect/appreciation the players deserve.
    Whilst dissappointed at the result, I am proud of the teams acheivements to get to our first major final since 87 and thank you and the team for all your efforts in trying to make our team sucessful!!!
    All the best for the rest of the season
    Mon the Saints!!!!
    PS - there's only only shuggie murray

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Jack

    I am a Rangers supporter who reads your blogs each week as your views are often intelligent, balanced and an interesting insight into the life of a professional in Scotland. I am not on to gloat about yesterday as I understand how difficult it must be to have to talk about the game and reflect upon it so soon when it is still raw. I would however to hear your views on a few things from the game and how events transpired.
    Firstly I think that credit must go to Rangers for handling the situation, as theres no doubt we were outplayed for pretty much the whole game and to be honest at 11 v 11 I couldnt see us scoring. Iv read comments that the sendings off helped us in a weird way so would be interested to hear your take on that.
    Playing in the game does it affect you when the team goes down to 9 men in terms of your approach? I could sense that at 11 v 11 St Mirren were containing Rangers and done well to pick them off and create openings on the back of that, but once the numerical advantage was in your favour the pressure was then on for Saints to dictate the play and create chances breaking Rangers down. I cant help feel there was too much of an eagerness or nervousness to finish the game off in 90 mins, almost as if the players got excited at the way things had panned out and lost their compusure a little. I dont mean that as a criticism, its human nature when suddenly the game is so suddenly yours for the taking. Also as a player having now been in that situation what advice would you give? I am involved with a local youth football team and would be interested to hear your own views in terms of what you learned from the situation. People always assume playing 9 men must be easy but it can be really difficult, whilst you may get more of the ball and territorial advantage the other team can sit so deep and become so compact that space and openings become minimal. People said yesterday that St Mirren should have switched the play quicker but from what I saw Rangers used two banks of four and just closed the play making it harder to get in behind and create space. Best of luck for the rest of the season, and I hope you get another chance at it another year.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Jack -- I can't help but say well done to all the players and the management team for summoning up this performance. I guess last year's semi-final upset was on everyone's minds, and all the players showed there's nothing to fear from the big stage.
    I only get up from England to see maybe one game a year, and the professionalism, the control and assertiveness made the trip well worth it, even if the result was a kick in the pants. That's the resolve you'll need between now and the end of the season.
    The thing to do would be to have it pretty much wrapped up before the split -- agreed?
    All the best, well done, and chin up.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Jack

    That was tough reading.

    I'm immensley proud of what the players achieved in the CIS cup this season, as should you and your team-mates. Billy Mehmet's individual haul against East Stirlingshire, the professional performance against Ayr United, the last-gasp winner at Kilmarnock, an outstanding game at St. Mirren Park against Motherwell, and of course one of the best St. Mirren team performances I've ever seen in the semi-final agaisnt Hearts.
    And to top it all off, you outplayed the Scottish Champions for most of the game at Hampden. Everything fell apart after Wilson's sending off, for reasons only the players will understand, but let's not let that overshadow what was achieved beforehand.

    I'm a member of a St. Mirren fan's forum and I've noticed a handful of posts that portrayed yourself and Potter as ringleaders in this bonus row. All I can say is that they are nonsense and drivel from a minority of individuals looking for a scapegoat after a disappointing result. From a personal point of view, if I was a young footballer looking for an idol to look up to, yourself and our club captain have got to be perfect role-models. I know anything I say will be scant consilation, I can only imagine how much you're hurting right now.

  • Comment number 5.

    Jack
    I think we all appreciate you being able to post your blog today with such honest comments. Yes we are all gutted but I think it helps to read your words rather than read interviews in the press. I have just sat and watched the whole game over again and though the last 20 minutes is so painful to watch, I was so proud of the way you all went about the game. I'm sure that a great majority of the faithful did not think of you and John being the "ringleaders" in the bonus row, we know that you both have important roles as spokesmen for the players, but I think that the Board have to look at themselves in this sorry mess. And indeed I blame the press for stirring things up constantly - why even yesterday I went to look at the back of the Sunday papers to see who had the best coverage in the run up to the game and surprise surprise the News of The World had a negative headline about us. The best way of getting over this, is to keep us in this division - we deserve to be there !! and hopefully you'll still be with us and the rumours that you are moving clubs aren't true.I'm sure come Wednesday night you and the rest of the players will get a great reception because we are all behind you.

  • Comment number 6.

    jack,

    As a saints fan, I'm gutted. At 11v11 saints did so well, the sendings off and substitutions threw thing off in my view. It really seemed to be there for the taking.

    As a fan viewing. it was worse than Hammarby in the uefa cup in the 80's, it was a hard sunday night in the Paisley Pubs.

    As a way to lose it was sore, but in fairness, It was an excellent ball in and finish for their goal, Absolute classic counter-attack.

    I hope you guys can lift yourselves and get through to the end of the season. All the best.

    I think there's yet to be a wider debate about St Mirren, but that's for season's end.

  • Comment number 7.

    I just want to say St Mirren were beaten because we had the better manager in Walter Smith he adapted our style to cope with the reduction of numbers. Gus Macpherson didn't, I notice in your blog you have not mentioned anything about how your manager and coaches tried to get you to change how you played or were you wanting to see the game out and let them tell you what to do at extra time.

    As for the players being portrayed as greedy I'm afraid thats all your own fault as all the media had quotes from players not once did I see or hear anything coming from the St Mirren board. As a wee club your board probably did not handle it correctly however the players you and John Potter should have kept that all in house. I'm not having a go at you personnally but footballers in general seem not to be living in the real world we are club with massive debts yet some of our stars are or were wanting a bigger wage when at the end of the day we may not have a club.

  • Comment number 8.

    It wasn't just the players who didn't show the wherewithal on how to win that match. I am sorry but the management lost the plot also when it came to the substitutions. The play had to be widened and therefore Mehmet should have stayed on and Dargo played down the right with Robb introduced on the left. Murray should also have been kept on but operating further forward. Was Andy Dorman on the pitch? Pity however as Gus & Andy's tactics previous to this were obviously very effective! Haven't been able to watch a replay of this, as I am still gutted. I must have done wrong in a previous life!

  • Comment number 9.

    Jack, to get to the final and to play the way the team did was fantastic. Been a Saints fan since 76 and seen the highs and lows. Both I went thru on Sunday. Jack, we need a striker. We have had guys who can put the ball in the net. Who can play off the possesion. To much comes thru midfield. I just hope that tactics change. 100% effort from all but like the previous guy said, Walter can change Gus has one plan and no plan B. Anyway I will be there tomorrow, just want to see goals and a set up for them. Tic defence is weak. Have faith I do, but also need the tactics to score. Draws are not needed and 2 wins will push us forward for split. Heads up, and be proud. By the way Shuggy was immense as was Higdon.

  • Comment number 10.

    St Mirren fan here, losing the cup final was a massive blow for everyone involved at the club and every single supporter but I would like to take this chance to thank the players for the effort of trying to get that long awaited League Cup in the cabinet.
    Just hope we can start to put performances like that in the remaining games because with the league situation, every game should be treated like a cup final.
    I know that there isn't as much bonuses etc for winning league games but thanks for the efforts and let's hope that performance can bring us more wins instead of knocking confidence.

  • Comment number 11.

    Even more sickening than losing the way we did has been the reaction of some of our fans in the aftermath and the coverage from the media. I can't believe the Evening Times has been allowed to get away with Neil Alexander's almost libelous claim that the referee turned a blind eye to your "off the ball assault" on him. TV replays seemed to show that he dithered before trying a comedy Johan Cruyff turn which almost backfired on him as you got both him and the ball. Has Neil got an opinion in public about the real "off the ball assault" in the game and one which the entire Scottish media en masse is conveniently turning a blind eye to and pretending it never happened. "Hugh Murray punched in the face behind the ref's back shocker". The Scottish media seem happy to let Rangers player after Rangers player say both sendings off were either "harsh" or "soft" or there were worse tackles which went unpunished. None of them seem to have published the photo of goal hero Kenny Miller lifting his hands to John Potter and strangling him, or pointed out that if Rangers players were eligible to be booked for dissent rather than just Lee Mair then the game would have been abandoned before 90 minutes due to Rangers being left without a team.

    Well done to Gus and the team. Played out our skins and we had them rattled to the point where they lost the plot almost en masse.

  • Comment number 12.

    Jack, I am proud of every St.Mirren player and every St.Mirren fan who was there on Sunday. To witness everyone join together and come agonisingly close to succeeding was a moment which will endure once the pain of defeat has dissipated.

    We are a great club with a lot of potential, and I would like to think of it as a bitter-sweet indication of what we are capable of. It was a long journey home but I held my head up high because we showed what is possible and did it with far more class than our opponents. Who is to say we won't reach another final next season?

    Good luck for the remainder of the season.

  • Comment number 13.

    Good Afternoon Jack,

    I was dissapointed to watch the game on Sunday, and my sympathy falls with the misguided soldiers of St. Mirren Football Club. I approached the game expecting a long ball battle with little goal mouth action and hatchet-style defending. Whilst my premonition was partially correct for one team, I was admirably surprised by your team's efforts, so might I firstly congratulate you on your run to the final and what should have been a matchwinning performance.

    I feel an injustice was served, and hope that this is not an injustice that will not only haunt, but continually disrupt the remained of your season. I am referring to the tactical ineptitude of Gus MacPherson under pressure. The kinds of pressure which could re-exert themselves should a relegation battle insue, which Falkirk seem keen to provide.

    Obviously it has been noted above, that without time-outs in football, changes are screened over an adrenaline packed pitch over the screams of thousands of boisterous football fans. This can of course be an issue but under the same circumstances, albeit with less men to carry the message to, Smith managed to instil a message of 'defend even deeper and try even harder than usual to only attack on the counter.' This said, why could a stringent message of 'calm' or tactical wisdom not carry the same way? Furthermore, why, against a depleted numeral, would the game be battled in midfield and not stretched? True, the tactics were spot on to nulify 11 men and prosper chances but on the spot thinking and planning cost St. Mirren and the blame has to go to Gus. Any team at any level should be made to pay with a two man disadvantage, be they Forfar or a team of 9 Ronaldos.

    I would be concerned that this lack of instantaneous tactical incision could repeat and in a fight for points in a relegation battle, such ineptitude could be the difference of next season's tenure in the First Division. The lack of efficient management is clearly a flow from the directors who, and i shall not go on, behaved shambolically with regards to the bonus row and this could cost a St Mirren team who should be on an exceptional high after their efforts.

  • Comment number 14.

    Jack

    That's a tough read this week, and I can only imagine how hard it was to write. Sunday was a day of huge highs and lows, and possibly the only match I've ever shed tears at the outcome of. However, I hope that once the pain subsides you and the boys are left with pride at the performance you turned in, not just on Sunday but throughout the tournament. That's certainly how I feel, and I'm sure the fans will be right behind you for the rest of the season; you've done us proud in the Cup and we're your 12th man in the league too.
    As far as the bonus row goes, you and John are our Captains and you're always going to be singled out for extra attention because of that. You're also the men who took your team on an amazing Cup run and gave the fans so many moments to remember. The excitement on the pitch at full time in the semi final at Fir Park was second only to the excitement in the crowd, and we thank you for that. We hurt just now Jack, but we're proud of you, and we will go on to bigger and better things, I'm sure. Good luck.

  • Comment number 15.

    Jack

    It’s good to talk!

    I can’t agree with the various supporters who said that Sunday was the worst day of their SMFC life and the level of abuse on other forums, including the best known unofficial one, is nothing short of scandalous – Div please note. Certain fans should hang their head in shame not the players.

    I can still feel the pain of a certain European disaster but also the numerous times when a trip to meet the old firm ended in a seven goal hammering (remember Miller time?) – and don’t start me on various relegations.

    No - I’d rather be positive here. Firstly the cup run was brilliant and the Hearts semi was a night to be cherished. Sunday was actually a brilliant day out and I am glad we had such a great support who sang Saints songs (well most of the time) and it was just magic.

    We are forgetting that Rangers are not bad even with nine men and perhaps our play at the end was naïve. So what? We got beat - move on and take heart that we have been in the premier league for four consecutive seasons – not seen since the eighties and we have been in a semi final and a final at Hampden within ten months of each other – God knows when that last happened.

    All I would ask is that you ignore the criticism, the off field nonsense involving the board – and Andy – and the bonus junk and play out of your skin for the next few weeks and keep us up. Not too much to ask really? Well ok maybe you could entertain us a withj a wee spot of adventurous play - but don’t go daft.

    Barrhead Bud


  • Comment number 16.

    Firstly Jack I would like to say that as a season ticket holder and saints fan of 30 odd years I fully appreciate the efforts of yourself and the other players in getting us to a national cup final and then outplaying your opponents in most of the match.

    To lose in the way we did is heartbreaking but as a Saints fan i Know this club will find new and even more cruel ways to break our hearts.

    I feel in general we have not had the rewards our play has merited but if you can't score goals you won't win games. I have lost count of the amount of goals we have lost in the last 10 mins of matches this season, any thought Jack on why this keeps happening? Best of luck for the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 17.

    Wow a very honest and painful account of the defeat Jack. You had all of the game but none of the finish in the final third. And as a team you looked more rattled than Rangers when they went down to 9. I suppose you were only beaten on one counter-attack by a team that only had that tactic available to them. Such is football.

    Nice to see them rattled throughout the game.

  • Comment number 18.

    Was there a Scottish cup final on Sunday.

    Oh.

    Me and the rest of the world was watching Man U v. Liverpool.

    The Scottish league is increasingly becoming as relevant as the Welsh one.

  • Comment number 19.

    Jack good honest log about Sunday. I am not a st.mirren fan but was gutted for the team and the supporters i have seen my team lose a cup final it is not easy, and the fact you put yourselves in a position where it was there for the taking does make it more hard. Best of luck for the future, hope you do get to hampden again and have more luck.

  • Comment number 20.

    Tricky snap, inmature and arrogant, pathetic.Did you read what Jack wrote or just decided to do innamture comment.

  • Comment number 21.

    Jack, As a Saints man, I was heart-broken after the final, but was extremly proud of the players who had the Black and White shirts on. Fantastic effort by you all, and lets face it after what felt like a lifetime of not being at Hampden as a St.Mirren player or supporter, at least we got there, so thanks to the players and management for getting us there, although all connected with St.Mirren would oviously rather had a different result.

    As far the idea that you were a 'ringleader' in the bonus row, along with JP, unfort there are individuals either as fans, or pressmen who need someone to blame, or more importantly, try to take the players and fans attention away from what was a day we had all been looking forward to. Pay no attention to these said individuals, the majority know yourself and JP, play for the love of the game, as do most players.

    One last thing #7-well done on your massive contradiction, and patronising tone-no wonder the majority of 'small' team fans cant stand those who follow the OF. So Jack and JP should have kept the whole affair underwraps (which they were they didnt go the media and splash the news themselves), but yet your not having a go at them personally. If telling someone they should have kept something under wraps isnt telling them personally I dont know what is. Also Im quite happy to follow a 'small' club-it means any success, no matter how long it takes to get it.

    And #18-go back to yuor non-money league, and I call it non-money because there is not one club in the Prem that is debt free-and when it implodes, which it will unless the arabs and russians buy the reaming clubs in the league that are not under their ownership, I look forward to your quite frankly, unrequired and more to the point unwanted glib comments.

  • Comment number 22.

    Jack,

    I feel sorry for you and the rest of the Buddies but now is the time to pick yourselves up and fight for survival in the SPL.

    Gus MacPherson's tactics were fantastic and he is indeed showing what a great manager he is becoming.

    I feel that you should forget about this defeat as soon as possible.It could have horrible repercussions for the rest of the season.

    If Saints are relegated I can see Gus being sacked which would be a travesty almost as bad as the sacking of A Ferguson. I still cannot believe the defeat on Sunday it is like a horrible nightmare. But you must always remember that famous saying in football. You must take your chances!!!! There's not use crying over spilled milk.To put another it way in the words of Groucho Marx" you can kiss a nun once you can kiss a nun twice. But don't make a habit of it!!!

    Go Buddie go!!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    Jack, Jack, Jack...

    Where do we start with that one. I really can't believe we haven't came out of Hampden with the CIS Cup. The game was there for the taking, and I fear we'll rarely get a chance like that one. I was devastated last season in the Scottish Cup when we froze against Rangers in the semi final and half expected something similar this time out and it never came. We outplayed them, and really should have been leading before half time. Subconsciously I expected Rangers to win despite this... but when the two players were both sent off I began to believe. We really, really should have won that game.

    We must not let this get in the way of our season though - we can't get relegated!

    On a personal note, can I query about your crossing? I enjoy the low, drilled crosses some of the time and understand their use - but it seems like you've decided to ignore the possibility of floating crosses into the box. Are these managers instructions or your personal feelings towards the usefulness of crosses? It just seems to my friends and myself that your crosses are becoming predictable and most defences know how to deal with them. Last season your crosses were invaluable, but we're missing it this season. If you were to vary them more often we might see more success.

    Thanks, and unlucky.

  • Comment number 24.

    Heartbreaking mate, chin up, there's always next season. Fair play

  • Comment number 25.

    I make no apologies for going against the flow of replies on this blog...

    Despite an excellent 1st 70 minutes, the players bottled it big style and got exactly what they deserved. Beaten fair and square by a team who have what it takes to win. No "unlucky" about it.

    I don't want to read about St Mirren players feeling sorry for themselves - do you think the Rangers players would be had things turned out differently on Sunday? No chance. The players should be angry - angry that they've blown the chance of a lifetime and tormented the fans in the process.

    Come out fighting in the next few games and that might repair some of the damage done on Sunday. Back in the early 90s when we were relegated, all we heard from the manager and the players at the time was "we're too good to go down". Time to prove it.

  • Comment number 26.

    Jack

    I always enjoy reading your blog but nearly kept away from this one because Sunday's result hurt. I was lucky enough to see us lift a cup in 1987 and wanted to do so again but id trade it in a heartbeat for staying up. Falkirk are picking up points now and we need to do the same, hopefully starting with Celtic.

    btw, I dont blame any players for this bonus "row", and certainly not you and John Potter. You relayed your concerns and then got back to the business of playing. Who else would have done differently?

  • Comment number 27.

    I'll join bingowings87 and also buck the trend.

    Incredibly negative to try to negotiate appearance money, and no surprise to see such a negative attitude has resulted in failure (again).

    It's about time the club invested in young, ambitious players and left those who had such little faith in our ability to win to continue losing elsewhere.

    C'mon the Saints.

  • Comment number 28.

    Jack,

    I left the stadium on Sunday with very mixed emotions. Downbeat because we didn't win but oh so proud of every player who had played their hearts out. In reality we lacked a bit of guile, but thank god we are not as cynical as the majority of other clubs we meet week after week.

    Do we know who punched shuggie Murray? Will the offender own up and hand himself into the SFA? No chance. If it turns out that the offender is someone who goes on to lift a player of the year award, will someone tell the world what a hypocrite and cheat that individual is or will he continue to be a Rangers 'legend'?

    As for the rest of the season, I know it is tough, but I am sure that you and the rest of the lads are capable of pulling out league results when it matters. Do what you do best lads, and try to keep enjoying the experience as much as possible. I for one would never swap being a Saints fan for anything else.

  • Comment number 29.

    @ trickysnap

    I was watching the Man Utd v Liverpool game too

    Haven't heard any Liverpool players eloquently express the pain of losing an important match though....

  • Comment number 30.

    jack thanks for a candid and honest expression of your feelings after the game, and in regards to the cowardly comments posted elsewhere.

    start with that first. anyone with half a brain would know that Pottsy and you in your respective position should be representing the team. unfortunately the people throwing around the snide comments dont have half a brain.
    as regards the board: shame on you! can't you do basic arithmetic and work out what you can afford round by round if the team are successful instead of getting to the semi and saying jings were skint.

    shame on you again for doing NOTHING, NOTHING to manage the bonus debacle. your silence speaks volumes regarding your ineptitude.

    as regards the match jack i can't agree with you. rangers didn't get a time out and won the league cup.

    that auld man (this is an endearment) weir didnt need a time out. he pulled his defence together and told them dont move more than 3 yards away from me. lets get to 90 without conceeding.

    they got a break and took it.

    the amount of times the ball was played to you in the last 10-15 mins when you were already marked because the ball was so slow it had grass growing. or with two opposition players infront of you was shocking. as was the bullet passes fired at you. theres a guy who was to be our messiah came on and did zilch in creativity. the ball need pulling in, fired down the channels to dargo, where weir was stuffed and then you have your two men over.

    the eleven guys in black & white needed to grab it. they didnt. thats for you and them to answer. was the advice from the bench no good? was there any advice from the bench? doesnt matter really. eleven professionals should be able to manage themselves in that time.

    theres no surprise in man utd's return to form and the re-appearance of scholes and now giggs. they know what to do and think about it. on sunday we didnt. the other lot did. take it on the chin and move on.

  • Comment number 31.

    defeat is hard enough to take , doesn't matter how many players you were up against , st mirren definately deserved to take something from the game .
    the game changed on the first sending off when you's realised you might actually have a chance to win .
    it had nothing to do with tactics , it's just winning .
    st mirren looked as if they froze , you's deserved to win but what you deserve and what you get are two different things .

  • Comment number 32.

    Jack, As a card carrying Bairn, I would just like to let you know that we all know how it feels to lose to the Gers in a final after outplaying them, (Higdon must feel doubly bad). I always wondered why we let you leave, but have to admit that I hope we can now make the most of your low morale, and climb above you in the league.

  • Comment number 33.

    Jack, Jack, Jack...

    Where do we start with that one? Circa twenty-four hours ago I posted a message that started the exact same - the reasons could not be more different! What a win! I doubt I'll ever see St. Mirren come out with a result like that again. Absolutely magnificent, what a game and what a result. In my personal opinion you've more than made up for the cup final loss and to be honest I've practically forgotton about that now!

    It wasn't long ago when I brought up Andy Dorman and you mentioned how you had faith in his ability and how he'll turn his season around - well he didn't half do that tonight! You could spot the difference with his on form compared to when he wasn't. He makes our pressure and good football count for something when he starts scoring. Don't let that take away from the rest of the team - that game was special for everyone.

    And did you read my comment about your crossing? I noticed a difference myself and we almost scored when Mehmet headered your cross just over. I hope you continue to vary the crossing to keep the defence on their toes.

    Thanks, and let's keep the run going against Aberdeen!

  • Comment number 34.

    Jack:

    I was in two minds whether to go tonight, and I'm ashamed to admit I stayed away for fear of an absolute trouncing. It's the first time I've ever avoided a St. Mirren match for that reason, and it wil certainly be the last. I just wanted to say thanks to yourself and the rest of the team for bringing a massive smile to my face this evening.

    I was thinking about the best performances from St. Mirren I've seen in the SPL:

    Motherwell 2-3 Saints (2nd last game of season 2006/07) - Saints were 2-0 down just after half time and put on a sensational display to win 3-2 - saving themselves from relegation.

    Saints 1-0 Rangers (5/10/08) - as it was a Sunday game, results the previous day meant St. Mirren had hit the bottom, and yet inflicted high-flying Rangers their first defeat of the season.

    Falkirk 1-2 Saints (6/12/08) - Saints again found themselves at the foot of the table, having not won a game in seven and not playing well, and found a great result from nowhere to haul themselves off the foot of the table.

    Falkirk 0-2 Saints (16/5/09) - After a nasty 2-1 defeat at Rugby Park, Saints YET AGAIN are propping up the table and a quite stunning display against your old club saved them from what looked like certain relegation. You played exceptionally well that day, captaining the side, even though most fans thought you were out for the season!

    Saints 4-0 Celtic (today) - needs no description!

    I was wondering if you had any insight as to why the best performances from St. Mirren always come during very difficult times at the club, often taking even the most hardened supporters by complete suprise! Is this a peculiar trait of St. Mirren, or is the pattern repeated at clubs across the country?

  • Comment number 35.

    Jack,

    I can't go to many games at the moment but I was so glad I went tonight. My irrational optimism was more than rewarded. The team played brilliantly and showed tremendous strength of character after Sunday.

    To be honest I think the cup disappointment has not yet really hit me; I spent the evening and the days after the game in a state of sheer disbelief. It was so unreal for us to have it so much our way and come away empty handed. Hopefully tonight and the next few weeks' league form will prove a permanent anesthetic. I'm sure for players it is acutely painful to lose a cup final the way we did: so much worse than a game like last year where we were out of the contest so early. I can imagine that at the end of 90mins one just feels drained and helpless to have all that hard work washed away by one slick break too late to regroup and chase a game that you have been controlling at a moderate tempo. One revisits a host of "what-ifs" in your mind, imagines it happening differently, painfully aware of the diminshing opportunities for honours and everytime you are just about distracted it comes back in another wave. When I've lost important games the overriding feeling I've felt is a desire to have another chance at it rather than simply wish for a better outcome.

    I think it is popular among many Scottish football fans and media commentators to underestimate the class of the current Rangers side. Whilst they are not fancy and they can be contained by organised sides; they are astute and tough as teak. They channelled their sense of injustice at the (entirely justified) red cards into determination to win and they were smart about it.

    Ross F is right, just when it seems Saints are really on the ropes we steel ourselves to produce absolutely stunning performances. Sometimes people say that we are "too good to go down". I think tonight we proved something far more important: we are too gutsy to go down.

    It was fantastic, welldone chaps.

    PS - Ross F, you missed 1-0 victory over Celtic in last year's Scottish Cup. Vintage display and another fabulous day. More than made up for gritting my teeth through seven Celtic goals the previous week.

  • Comment number 36.

    Now that, Captain Jack, is what I'm talking about. Do THAT.
    Much as I'd like to bask in the glory of such a wonderful result, the REAL meat and drink of the league is not having these three golden points taken back off us by Falkirk and couple of weeks down the line.
    I know you know this -- I'm just telling myself so I can get my feet back on the ground.
    Well done -- and go for it.

  • Comment number 37.

    Well done on hammering Celtic. OK, I'm sure you would have rather won the cup, but surely that felt really, really good.

  • Comment number 38.

    Captain Fantastic. Now thats what I call a comeback. Totally magnificent.Not just guts but finally and end product.

  • Comment number 39.

    Absolutely outstanding result last night. What a way to rebound back from Sunday's disappointment!! Great stuff.

  • Comment number 40.

    you must have a big chin, and awesome ability to ride the punches. even the cowardly, snidey ones made in chat room forums by people that wouldn't dare repeat them to your face.

    Jack please accept my heartfelt congratulations and pass them on to your teammates. that was much much more than a reaction. go get something at pittodrie and rub the accusers noses in it.

    shame on them. well done to you.

  • Comment number 41.

    Well done to Jack and the rest of the team and to Gus and Andy too. Outplayed the old firm for the second time in 4 days but this time we took our chances. Hoping the squad and use the pain of defeat from Sunday as a big motivation to drive on in the remaining SPL games. A bit of ruthlessness has been all that is missing for a while. Please Dargo and Dorman are hitting form again.

  • Comment number 42.

    What do you say about last nights performance!!!!
    Magnificent!!!!
    Moving the the ball around and creating some good passages of play
    Exceptional!!!!
    Great goals scored after our excellent buildup play.
    Brave!!!!
    A lot of teams would not have reacted in such a brave manner.
    Gutsy!!!!
    Everyone to the man was up for it...
    Determined!!!!
    Every player showing what it means to them, we're not talking about bonuses, cash incentives here.... this is the will to win every ball and succeed in football.
    and finally
    PROUD!!!!!
    Fans are proud of you all and forget this minority I feel should not bother coming back to St Mirren park - if they're not with us, they're against us.
    If we can play with the same intensity and desire then I can't see why we can't get a run of good results.
    here's to the rest of the season and good luck to the Super Saints!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Thank you very much again for the comments and apologies for not responding earlier but it has been a busy week!!

    I think it is fair to say that as a player the pain of Sunday's defeat will never quite disappear but the feeling of getting so close to a winner's medal only increases the desire to reach another final and go one step better!

    Knowing my team-mates I had every faith in their ability to produce a performance last night against Celtic, and they certainly did that. Any doubts from those outside our team regarding our strength of character were hopefully cast aside.

    Finally, I was delighted for our goal scorers last night. I thought Steven Thomson was terrific on Sunday and continued that form against Celtic, and I was so pleased to see Andy Dorman recover from his personal disappointment at not starting in the final to produce two great finishes.

  • Comment number 44.

    Jack,
    What a week it's been!
    Thanks first to you and the team for all your efforts last Sunday - it just wasn't to be. To bounce back like you did against Celtic was magnificent - a true indication of both the talent and the spirit in the dressing room.
    I'd like your views one point though. My kids and I were disappointed that the players didn't come over to the Saints fans en masse to show their appreciation to them for their support at full time on Sunday. Was there a reason for this? I can only guess how physically and emotionally drained you must all have been but it would have been good to acknowledge the fans support on such a big occasion - a lot of us had made great efforts to be there.
    Now let's work toward SPL survival.

  • Comment number 45.

    Re comment 44, I actually can remeber very little of the aftermath of the final but there was certainly no deliberate snub of supporters as all the players were very appreciative of the numbers of fans and the backing they received from them. I think most of the players were still very numb from the outcome of the match.

    Apologies if your kids felt let down but if you want to leave contact details then I can sort out a couple of signed programmes for them.

  • Comment number 46.

    Is that offer to everyone who made the trip to the game?

    It wasn't much off a big trip for me (distance/money wise - for the occasion of course though!) but I do go to a lot of games (every home game and most away - including Aberdeen just there - a journey that took forever)!

    Would love a signed program though... even though I'm not much of a kid though :P Doesn't stop me wearing the full colours every time I'm out playing!

    All the best,
    David.

  • Comment number 47.

    Not a problem to organise a signed programme for you. Either leave one at the stadium for my attention and I will sort it, or leave details at the reception there and I will forward one!

  • Comment number 48.

    Thanks a lot Jack! Will buy one on Saturday and throw it down to you during the warmup! Not really - but I will be there - might try giving you a wave!

    Should I just leave the programme from the next home game at the reception with my contact details?

    Thanks!

  • Comment number 49.

    No problem at all, leave it for me at the Kilmarnock game and I will get all the players to sign it.

  • Comment number 50.

    Hi Jack - we're sorry to hear that you're ruled out of the final five games. You must be gutted. Still, as you say, you've a role to play in supporting the team behind the scenes. We hope you take the time to recover fully over the summer and come back (to the Saints!) stronger.
    Tell the team we're right behind them for the remaining games.
    I've not forgotten your kind offer in comment 45 and will be in touch shortly.
    Come on the Buddies!

  • Comment number 51.

    Shall do Jack! I'll leave a program, details and a note saying that it is for you... is that all I should leave? Never done this before!

    David

  • Comment number 52.

    Not sure if you're still reading this but, again, thanks a lot for that! Wish I could identify all the players signatures haha. Was great - ended up hanging around and getting quite a few photos as well, wish we'd have thought about asking when you'd just left!

    Sorry about the note as well - didn't imagine that all the reception staff would know so figured that the note might go some way to explaining what had happened but it seemed you were one step ahead of the game! Should also apologise for not showing up earlier - the receptionist mentioned that you'd came twice before kick off! I wasn't sure how busy the players were pre-game and didn't want to disturb them so was just planning on dropping it off so that you could collect it at full time!

    Thanks,
    David

 

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