Millennium Champions: A rare defeat
By Stuart Gillespie
Updated Friday, 18th December 2009
As the second round of fixtures began, we suffered a feeling we hadn't had to endure for other two months as our last game of the year against Ayr United saw us end up with nothing.
We had to suffer a defeat sooner or later, but this one was the beginning of a patchy run of form for us - which coincided with Ludovic Roy being injured and Derek Scrimgour taking his place.
The writing was on the wall after just a few minutes when Ayr, who fielded a pretty attacking line-up to try to pressure our back three, went in front through a goal from Roddy Grant.
Saints responded but, despite dominating much of the game, couldn't find a way through. Early in the second half Andy McMillan was sent off for flattening Tommy Turner, and seconds later Barry Lavety nodded home the equaliser from Iain Nicolson's corner.
Despite pushing for a winner, it looked as if we would have to settle for a draw - before another late goal. Unfortunately, this time it was at the wrong end. As Barry McLaughlin came to deal with a ball, he let it bounce, allowing Neil Tarrant to rush in and fire past Scrimmy, to the delight of the Ayr fans behind the goal.
Losing is bad enough, but losing to 10 men at home was even worse - with Dunfermline grabbing a late winner of their own to rub salt into the wound.
We were due to play the Pars just after Christmas, but an injury and illness crisis at Love Street resulted in the game being called off, with chairman Stewart Gilmour threatening to register as a player if it wasn't! As a result, we ended 1999 on a defeat and would start the new millennium with a home game against Morton.