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Chick Young's view

St Mirren Cup winners
Smith's Saints won the Scottish Cup in 1987, but he was sacked soon after

Chick Young
By Chick Young
BBC Scotland football correspondent

If St Mirren ever took up hunting, there would be a u-bend in the barrel of the rifle.

The club comes with a built-in death wish.

National finals, for organisations of their length and breadth, come along once in a generation. It should be a get-the-bunting-out, all-partying week of unbridled joy in Paisley.

Instead there is civil war. Buddies? That will be right.

The dressing room and the boardroom are so far apart they shouldn't be in the same stadium.

And whoever is right, whoever is wrong in the politics of all, it makes me want to cry with despair.

The players think they have been short-changed in the bonus and post-match party departments, while the board - for the time being - are saying nothing, although privately they think they have gone the financial distance.

But the fans are entitled to say: "Put up and shut up, this is our afternoon in the Hampden sun."

It's vintage St Mirren.

Saint Mirren celebrate
St Mirren progressed to the final thanks to a win against Hearts

In 1978 they uncovered in Alex Ferguson the man who may well be the greatest manger who ever was, but sacked him just as he was going into trophy-winning overdrive.

Alex Smith won the Scottish Cup in 1987 but was sacked less than a year later.

My own stepfather - from whom I caught this annoying affection for the club - certainly wasn't inoculated against the lunacy.

At the twilight of a life supporting the team - in the immediate aftermath of the '87 win and still in the Hampden car park - he refused to celebrate.

Instead his reaction was: "Ach, that Abercromby and Ferguson will never do for next season."

And here we are again.

The foreplay to the big day haunted by a threat of relegation, fans calling for the head of the manager and a feeling that instead of Saints swaggering into Sunday they have the faces of kids going for their first ride on the ghost train.

Get a grip, St Mirren.

Unite and realise that days like Sunday - national finals - are collector's items for clubs like ours.

You will regret it for the rest of your days if you don't make the most of it because half a century and more this Sabbath day will be recalled in the history books when a thousand other matches are long forgotten.

I haven't met a single Rangers fan who doesn't think the day will be a stroll in the park for their club, the first instalment of a once unlikely treble.

Chick Young on St Mirren's chances of a cup upset

I haven't met a single Rangers fan who doesn't think the day will be a stroll in the park for their club, the first instalment of a once unlikely treble.

But St Mirren, you aren't lambs and Hampden isn't a slaughterhouse.

So it's your choice: bit part… or big part.

The players' bonus demands were hefty, but to win the cup on Sunday might be worthy of a little debt. Except, give them nothing for losing.

Of course, then they will say that money isn't the motivation, that glory is the greatest reward of all. So go ahead and prove it.

In the final analysis I wouldn't swap a cup win for SPL survival because, despite it all, finance is everything in the game right now. But I took a long time swithering over that decision.

I vaguely remember 1959 and I sure as hell was there in 1987 and hopefully the Good Lord will spare me till Sunday. These are special days which shouldn't be soiled by domestic strife.

Load the guns on Rangers. But straighten the barrels first.



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see also
Smith praise for battling Rangers
21 Mar 10 |  Rangers
Smith fear over Gers treble dream
15 Mar 10 |  Rangers
St Mirren dispute over cup bonus
07 Feb 10 |  St Mirren
Buddies earn praise on bonus row
09 Feb 10 |  St Mirren
MacPherson relishing Gers matches
04 Feb 10 |  St Mirren


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