St. Johnstone F.C.

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"St. Johnstone" redirects here. For similarly spelled places, see Saint Johnstown.
St. Johnstone
StJohnstoneFC crest.png
Full name St. Johnstone Football Club
Nickname(s) The Saints
Founded 1884; 130 years ago (1884)
Ground McDiarmid Park
Perth, Scotland
Ground Capacity 10,696[1]
Chairman Steve Brown
Manager Tommy Wright
League Scottish Premiership
2013–14 Scottish Premiership, 6th

St. Johnstone F.C. is a professional football club based in Perth, Scotland. Although it is officially recorded as being formed in 1884, the club did not play its first game until February 1885. The club's home since 1989 has been McDiarmid Park.

St. Johnstone won the Scottish Football League First Division, the second tier of league football in Scotland, in 2008–09. This gained them promotion to the Scottish Premier League, bringing a return of SPL football to McDiarmid Park for the 2009–10 campaign, after a seven-year absence. The club have historically floated between the top two divisions of Scottish football, obtaining the reputation of being a "yo-yo club". Their traditional rivals are the two Dundee clubs, Dundee and Dundee United, with matches between St. Johnstone and either Dundee club being called Tayside derbies. St. Johnstone have a stronger rivalry with Dundee than Dundee United.

The club has had limited success in cup competitions. After losing at the semi-finals stage on numerous occasions, the club won their first Scottish Cup in 2014. It has reached two Scottish League Cup Finals, losing them to each of the Old Firm clubs. St. Johnstone won its first national cup competition of the modern era in the 2007–08 Scottish Challenge Cup. The club had previously won the Scottish Consolation Cup in 1911 and 1914, and the B Division Supplementary Cup in 1949. They have competed in European competitions on four occasions via finishing high enough in the league table to qualify; their highest position overall was third place on three occasions, 1971, 1999 and 2013.


For season-by-season statistics, see St. Johnstone F.C. seasons.


Chart of yearly table positions of St. Johnstone in the Scottish league.

The club was formed by members of the local cricket team seeking to occupy their time once the cricket season had finished. The cricketers were kicking a football around the South Inch, a large public park beside the River Tay during the autumn of 1884. This is widely acknowledged to be the date of the formation of St. Johnstone Football Club, although it wasn't until early in the following year that a group of footballers, led by John Colborn, held an official meeting that led to the formation of the club as a separate entity rather than a 'spin-off' of the cricket club.[2]

Football was becoming more popular and although there were several local teams playing the sport, including Fair City Athletic, Erin Rovers and Caledonian (based at Perth Railway station) it was St. Johnstone that became the club most associated with the town that gave the club its name. (In the Middle Ages, Perth was colloquially known as 'St. John's Toun' because the church at the centre of the parish was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Agnus Dei (The Lamb of God), the symbol associated with John the Baptist, is a part of the St. Johnstone club crest.)[3]

Club members leased a piece of land adjacent to the South Inch, known as the Recreation Grounds, which became the club's first home. After several decades – and regular problems with flooding – it became clear they had outgrown those grounds so, in 1924, they moved to the other side of Perth and built Muirton Park, which would serve as their home for the next 65 years.[2]

The club historically had little success in national competitions until winning the Scottish Cup in 2014, this was after five semi-final appearances dating back to 1989. It has never won the top league. There have been two appearances in the final of the League Cup, losing first to Celtic 1–0 in 1969 and 2–1 to Rangers in 1998, with Canadian internationalist Nick Dasovic scoring for Saints. The club have also appeared twice in the Scottish Challenge Cup final, losing 1–0 to Stranraer in 1996, and winning the trophy in 2007 with a 3–2 victory over Dunfermline. They also won the Scottish Consolation Cup in 1911–12.

Willie Ormond era[edit]

In terms of the league, the club's highest-ever finish has been third place in the old First Division, which occurred on two occasions. The first was in 1970–71, when Saints finished behind Celtic and Aberdeen but ahead of Rangers. The team was mostly the 1969 League Cup team, managed by Willie Ormond, who eventually went on to manage Scotland. The club had some notable players during this period, who later went on to success at other clubs – such as Henry Hall, Alex MacDonald, John Lambie, John Connolly, and Jim Pearson.

This third-placed finish led to a European adventure in the UEFA Cup, beating German giants SV Hamburg and Hungarians Vasas Budapest before finally going out in Yugoslavia to NK Zeljeznicar Sarajevo. The club continued to play in the top division of the Scottish Football League until reconstruction in 1975, but were relegated from the new Premier Division in its first season.

McDiarmid Park's south stand is named the Ormond Stand in his honour.

Relegations and rebuilding[edit]

It took Saints until 1983 to return – albeit for a single season – before setting a record through suffering two successive relegations in 1984 and 1985. They eventually found themselves bottom of the entire league in 1986 and skirted with financial oblivion, before local businessman Geoff Brown stepped in.

An unprecedented change in the club's focus occurred over the next decade or so, with the move from long-term home Muirton Park to the new purpose-built McDiarmid Park on the outskirts of the city, the first purpose-built all-seater stadium built in the United Kingdom. The new stadium was named to recognise the donation of land by local farmer Bruce McDiarmid. This plus the input of significant transfer funds and the appointment of manager Alex Totten spurred Saints through the leagues. They obtained promotion to the First Division in 1988. Saints then won the First Division championship and promotion to the Premier Division in 1990 during the first season of football at McDiarmid Park.

Saints finished 1990–91 in 7th place, but their season was buoyed by an appearance in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, in which they lost to Dundee United.

The following season proved to be Totten's last at the helm, an eighth-placed finish bringing to an end his five-year reign as manager. He was succeeded by John McClelland for the 1992–93 season. The Irishman didn't fare much better, however, leading the club to 6th place. Another semi-finals cup appearance, this time the League Cup, sweetened the campaign slightly.

St. Johnstone's four-year run in the Premier Division came to an end in 1993–94, a 10th-placed finish sending them back to the First Division. McClelland left the club before the season ended, and was replaced by former Dundee United striker Paul Sturrock.

Success in the 1990s[edit]

Under Sturrock's stewardship, more emphasis was placed on the club rearing its own players. This bore fruit in the form of Callum Davidson and Danny Griffin. Sturrock also introduced – at least in principle – the concept of morning and afternoon training sessions in an attempt to raise the fitness level of his players. In Sturrock's first full season in charge, Saints finished 5th in the First Division and reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup. In 1995–96, he led them to fourth place and a Scottish Cup quarter-final. League success returned in 1996–97 with the First Division championship and a return to the top flight. The club more than held their own in the first season back. Their 5th-placed finish meant they became founder members of the SPL the following season.

Although Sturrock soon left for Dundee United, the club found a second 'golden period' in 1998–99 under new manager Sandy Clark, when the club finished third in the SPL behind Rangers and Celtic. Saints also reached the final of the League Cup and the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup in that season, losing to Rangers in both competitions. They lost to Rangers in five of the six meetings between the two clubs that season (including a 7–0 home defeat), but Saints won 3–1 in the other game.[4] Their finishing position in the league meant Saints had qualified for the 1999–00 UEFA Cup campaign. They started with a 3–1 aggregate win in the qualifying round over Finnish side VPS Vaasa, but were beaten 6–3 on aggregate by French giants AS Monaco in the first round proper. The return leg meant that international stars such as Fabien Barthez, John Arne Riise and David Trézéguet played at McDiarmid Park. St. Johnstone remained unbeaten at home in European competitions until their tie against FC Minsk in 2013.

The new millennium[edit]

St. Johnstone playing against local rivals Dundee at Dens Park during the 2006–07 season

After a period of steady decline, the club were eventually relegated from the Premier League in 2002. Clark's replacement Billy Stark oversaw this relegation, and left the club in 2004 after two seasons of varying success. With the club in eighth place after a poor 2004–05 season under Stark's replacement John Connolly, Owen Coyle took charge in April 2005, ushering in a promising new period in which St. Johnstone earned second-place finishes in 2005–06 and 2006–07.

There was also cup success under Coyle. On 8 November 2006, St. Johnstone beat Rangers 2–0 at Ibrox to reach the semi-finals of the League Cup. Steven Milne scored both of the goals.[5] This was the club's first victory at Ibrox since April 1971. It was also the first time the club beat Rangers in a cup competition, and the first time that Rangers had been eliminated from a major cup competition at home by lower-division opposition. On 31 January 2007, Saints were knocked out of the League Cup at the semi-finals stage by Hibs.[6] On 14 April 2007, St. Johnstone were beaten 2–1 by Celtic at Hampden in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. By then Coyle's name was being linked with managerial vacancies in the SPL. On 21 April 2007, second-placed Saints won 3–0 at home to Queen of the South, while table-toppers Gretna played out a goalless draw against the visiting Clyde, which put the Perth club just one point (and seven goals) behind Gretna. As a result, the First Division championship was to be decided on the final day of the season.[7] Seven days later, St. Johnstone were pipped to the First Division championship by Gretna, who had led the division for the majority of the season. Saints won 4–3 at Hamilton Academical,[8] but James Grady scored an injury-time winner for Gretna at Ross County.[9] minutes after the St Johnstone game had finished. The results maintained Gretna's one-point lead and they achieved promotion to the Premier League under former Saints player Davie Irons.

Owen Coyle left the club on 22 November 2007, to become manager of English club Burnley. Saints '​ next game, the Challenge Cup Final against Dunfermline three days later, saw them win their first cup since the Scottish Consolation Cup of 1911, with a 3–2 scoreline.[10] St. Johnstone midfielder Derek McInnes was appointed as Coyle's replacement as manager on 27 November 2007,[11] after Coyle's assistant, Sandy Stewart, who had been in charge in a caretaker-manager capacity for the Challenge Cup Final, decided to follow Coyle south to Burnley. McInnes began as a player-manager. Results to the end of 2007 continued the indifferent form shown under Coyle, leaving St. Johnstone in third place, some way behind the leaders. In 2008 the club did, however, reach the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup for the second consecutive season, losing out to Rangers on penalties after extra time.[12] It was the club's seventh appearance in the semi-finals, and their seventh defeat.

On 2 May 2009, Saints beat Greenock Morton 3–1 at McDiarmid Park to clinch the First Division title and a return to the Premier League after a seven-year absence.[13] They finished eighth in their first season back.

In November 2011, on the same day the club announced the appointment of manager Steve Lomas, it was also announced that club chairman Geoff Brown, the longest-serving chairman in Scottish football, was retiring and therefore stepping down from his post. His son, Steve, was handed control of the club. In June 2013 Steve Lomas left the club to manage Millwall and Tommy Wright was appointed as his replacement. In his first competitive game in charge, Wright lead St. Johnstone to a 1–0 victory against Rosenborg BK in Norway. This was the club's first away win in Europe in over 40 years.[14]

On 13 April 2014, St. Johnstone reached their first-ever Scottish Cup Final, after defeating Aberdeen 2–1 at Ibrox Stadium.[15] They won the final against Tayside rivals Dundee United on 17 May, 2–0 at Celtic Park.[16][17]

European record[edit]

Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Aggregate
1971–72 UEFA Cup 1R West Germany Hamburger SV 3–0 1–2 4–2
2R Hungary Vasas SC 2–0 0–1 2–1
3R Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia FK Željezničar Sarajevo 1–0 1–5 2–5
1999–2000 UEFA Cup QR Finland VPS 2–0 1–1 3–1
1R France AS Monaco 3–3 0–3 3–6
2012–13 UEFA Europa League 2Q Turkey Eskişehirspor 1–1 0–2 1–3
2013–14 UEFA Europa League 2Q Norway Rosenborg BK 1–1 1–0 2–1
3Q Belarus FC Minsk 0–1 (aet) 1–0 1–1 (2–3 p.)
2014–15 UEFA Europa League 2Q Switzerland FC Luzern 1–1 (aet) 1–1 2–2 (5–4 p.)
3Q Slovakia Spartak Trnava 1–2 1–1 2–3
  • 1R: First round
  • 2R: Second round
  • 3R: Third round
  • QR: Qualifying round
  • 2Q: Second qualifying round
  • 3Q: Third qualifying round

Local rivals[edit]

St. Johnstone share a Tayside rivalry with both Dundee and Dundee United. It was against the former on New Year's Day 1997 that they recorded their biggest league win in recent memory, 7–2.


Current squad[edit]

As of 29 August 2014

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Northern Ireland GK Alan Mannus
2 Scotland DF Dave Mackay (captain)
3 Scotland DF Tam Scobbie
4 Scotland MF Simon Lappin
5 Scotland DF Frazer Wright
6 Scotland DF Steven Anderson
7 Scotland MF Chris Millar
8 Scotland MF Gary McDonald
9 Scotland FW Steven MacLean
10 Scotland MF David Wotherspoon
11 England FW Adam Morgan (on loan from Yeovil Town)
14 Scotland FW Brian Graham (on loan from Dundee United)
15 England GK Steve Banks (player/goalkeeping coach)
No. Position Player
16 Scotland MF Liam Caddis
17 Scotland FW James McFadden
18 Scotland MF Murray Davidson
19 Scotland DF Gary Miller
20 Scotland MF Scott Brown
22 England MF Lee Croft
23 Scotland DF Gareth Roger
24 Scotland DF Brian Easton
27 Scotland MF Craig Thomson
29 Scotland FW Michael O'Halloran
31 Scotland FW Dylan Easton
45 England DF Alex Kitchen
46 Scotland FW Frank Kenny

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
21 Scotland GK Zander Clark (at Queen of the South)
No. Position Player
25 Scotland FW Chris Kane (at Dumbarton)

Notable players[edit]

For a list of all St. Johnstone players with a Wikipedia article, see Category:St. Johnstone F.C. players.

In October 2013, the club inducted the first five members to its "Hall of Fame" intended to formally recognise those who have made a significant contribution to the club. Those inducted were Joe Carr, Willie Coburn, Henry Hall, John Brogan and Roddy Grant. The inaugural event took place at a dinner ceremony at Perth Concert Hall.[18]

Non-playing staff[edit]

  • Chairman: Steve Brown
  • Vice-Chairman: Charlie Fraser
  • Board of Directors:
    • Steve Brown
    • Charlie Fraser
    • Stan Harris
    • John McDougall
  • Associate Directors:
  • Head of Youth Development: Alister Stevenson
  • Under 19 Coach: Alec Cleland
  • Club Doctor: Dr Sam Hewitt
  • Physiotherapist: John Kerr
  • Assistant Physio: Jocky Peebles
  • SFA Community Coach: Atholl Henderson
  • Head Groundsman: Chris Smith




Managerial history[edit]

St. Johnstone has had 24 managers in its history. The longest-serving manager was David Rutherford (11 years), although his tenure was interrupted by the Second World War. The club has, on average, appointed a new manager every four years. Willie Ormond and Bobby Brown both left Saints to manage the Scotland national team.

Prior to Peter Grant's appointment in 1919, the team was picked by committee – a practice in wide use at the time.

Shirt sponsors[edit]

St. Johnstone's kit for the 1997–98 season[22]

Below is a list of all of St. Johnstone's shirt sponsors:







Average attendances[edit]

The average league-game attendance at McDiarmid Park for the season 2007–08 was 2,913, which is 27.29% of the 10,696[1] capacity and up 3.59% on the 2006–07 season.[23]

Past averages:

  • 2006–07: 2,812 (26.34% of capacity; +5.43% compared to 2005–06 season)
  • 2005–06: 2,667 (24.98% of capacity; +10.48% compared to 2004–05 season)
  • 2004–05: 2,414 (22.61% of capacity)


Further reading/bibliography[edit]

  • Blair A, Doyle B (1997). Bristling with Possibilities: The History of St. Johnstone F.C. 
  • Bannerman, Gordon (1991). Saints Alive! St. Johnstone Football Club Five Years on a High. Sportsprint Publishing, Edinburgh. ISBN 0-85976-346-3. 
  • Blair, Alastair (2003). St. Johnstone FC (Images of Sport). Tempus Publishing, Limited. pp. 128pp. ISBN 0-7524-2183-2. 
  • Slater, Jim. Who's Who of St. Johnstone 1946 to 1992. 
  • McLaren, G (2001). Of Saints & Foxes. G McLaren. ISBN 0-905452-99-2.  The story of Sandy McLaren (St. Johnstone, Leicester City and Scotland national football team goalkeeper), written by his son.


External links[edit]

with fixtures, results, league table and statistics