Saints 0-0 Motherwell

Last updated : 03 January 2009 By Stuart Gillespie
Let's be honest, most people who were at Love Street today weren't too bothered about the game. While they were willing Saints to win, most were there to say final farewells and take one last chance to relive memories like Fergie's Furies, the Millenium Champions and Hammarby (well, maybe not that last one).

This they were able to do, and there wasn't the typical Saints disappointment of blowing it on a big occasion. Sure, they weren't at the races for most of the game, but the important thing was the final game at Love Street didn't end in defeat. Craig Dargo has the honour of scoring the final goal and Saints will always be the team that last won there (as long as we don't draw against Brechin).

But amid the kids playing football, legends and fireworks there was a game - and there were three points to be played for. Saints went with the team that had won the last four games, although after this showing there may well be changes. The old problems seemed to return, we created few chances and overall it wasn't a great performance.

Early on, Hugh Murray was booked for a foul on Jim O'Brien. It was maybe a caution, maybe not. However, inexplicably referee Alan Muir proceeded to book no one for the next hour. There were numerous poor challenges during the game, yet only two more players entered the book. Stephen McGinn was flattened at one stage yet his assailant escaped punishment. Jim Hamilton was getting fouled regularly but usually ended up being penalised. More evidence that inexperienced referees need to spend more time in the lower leagues before stepping up to the SPL.

The best chance of the first half fell to Saints. McGinn fed Garry Brady who then found Andy Dorman, only for his shot to be well saved by Graeme Smith. Duff defending at the other end saw Chris Porter nod wide, while Keith Lasley had a reasonable chance that was blocked. The other chances - for both teams - failed to threaten the keepers.

Not much changed in the second half, at least as far as Saints were concerned. Stephen Hughes went close for the visitors on a couple of occasions and Mark Howard did well to save O'Brien's flick. The best - and only - effort for Saints was when Craig Dargo, on for Wyness, ran through before shooting straight at Smith when he should perhaps have passed to Brady.

As the game wore on, a draw looked more and more likely. Unless you'd been a Saints fan long enough to know that the ultimate sucker punch would probably arrive late on. It didn't - but it wasn't far away. The visitors had two penalty claims either side of a Porter effort that went just wide (and strangely saw them awarded a corner!).

The first was when Maros Klimpl's thunderbolt of a shot was blocked on the line. As play raged, the Motherwell players appealed for a penalty but it was anyone's guess whether it had hit a hand - and who it belonged to. The second claim, which came in stoppage time, was perhaps a bit better. Paul Quinn went down under a challenge from John Potter, but as the freekick that had produced the challenge was dodgy to say the least the claims were thankfully turned down.

That was effectively the last meaningful action Love Street will ever see. Afterwards there were former players, fireworks and a pipeband on the pitch before, with most fans away home, the ones who had stayed got to wander around the pitch.

All in all, an emotional afternoon - shame about the football though!