Celtic travel to the Paisley Sunday to take on a St Mirren side still revelling in their League Cup triumph two weeks ago. You can bet on a few Buddies ribbing the visitors of their recent success, and who can blame them? They had been waiting to win a piece of major silverware since 1987.
Looking back on this season, other than their 3-2 League Cup triumph over Celtic -- fully deserved I have to add --it has not been good for the Buddies when facing the Parkhead side.
In the two previous league meetings previously, St Mirren have shipped in seven goals with no reply, and they also succumbed to Celtic 2-1 in the Scottish Cup earlier this month.
But I doubt Buddies fans care about their record against Celtic as they watch rerun after rerun of the Cup Final and the celebrations afterwards.
Celtic fans may think of it as a Diddy cup or just another trophy, but for the so-called lesser -- or should I say smaller -- clubs in the country winning a major piece of silverware whether it is the Scottish Cup, League Cup or even a Challenge Cup (no matter the level) is special and will be remembered forever.
The only way that you could explain the feeling to Celtic fans is to mention the league title win that stopped Rangers winning 10 in a row, Celtic beating Boavista in the semifinal of the UEFA Cup to reach the final in Sevilla against Porto in 2003, or beating Inter Milan in 1967. I have to point out that I am not comparing the European Cup to the League Cup – merely the fans' feelings behind winning said trophy.
While Celtic supporters mock one well-known St Mirren supporter and his dubious links with Glasgow rivals Rangers, there have been a fair few footballers who have links with both Celtic and St Mirren. I take a look at a few Buddies who were Bhoys and vice versa.
St Mirren 1985-93; Celtic 1997-2005
Lambert signed for the Buddies from Linwood Rangers Boys' Club in 1985 and just two years later as a 17-year-old won his first major piece of silverware as part of the victorious St Mirren side that beat Dundee United 1-0 (after extra time) to lift the 1987 Scottish Cup before 51,782 fans. To make the victory more special, the Buddies defeated a United side that reached the UEFA Cup final under the tutelage of legendary manager Jim McLean.
Lambert made 227 appearances for the Buddies, scoring 14 goals in his eight year spell at the club. Lambert left Love Street in 1993, moving along the M8 to Motherwell and played under Tommy McLean for three years, before his big move to the German Bundesliga and Borussia Dortmund. It was here that the Scotsman would play a key role in club football's most prestigious competition and not as a bit player like some others.
In 1997, Dortmund reached the Champions League final, in their way was Zinedine Zidane’s Juventus side. Not only did he diffuse the threat of the French playmaker, he set up Dortmund’s opening goal scored by Karl-Heinz Riedle. Dortmund ran out 3-1 winners and with that Lambert became the first British player to win the European Cup with a foreign club, and also became the first British player to win the competition in its modern-day format.
Lambert spent one year in Germany, making 44 appearances and scoring just once before he returned to Scotland and signed by Wim Jansen for Celtic in 1997. Lambert was pivotal in helping Celtic secure the league title and stopping Rangers from winning their 10th in a row.
During his eight years at Celtic, he won four SPL titles, two Scottish Cups, two Scottish League Cups and captained Celtic to the 2003 UEFA Cup Final in Sevilla, losing to Jose Mourinho’s Porto side after extra time. He is now manager of English Premier League side Aston Villa.
St Mirren 1975-83; Celtic 1987-90
Stark kicked off his professional career with St Mirren in 1975, making 255 appearances and scoring 60 goals for the Paisley side. In 1977, he helped the Buddies to the First Division title and after eight years at Love Street, he moved north to Aberdeen.
It was during his time at Pittodrie that Stark saw his most notable of successes, under Alex Ferguson, Stark and his Dons teammates won the European Super Cup in 1983, a Premier Division title and the Scottish Cup in 1984. A year later and he had another league title winners' medal hanging round his neck and added a League Cup and Scottish Cup double in 1986.
A year later he travelled south to sign for Celtic, where he spent three years and won two Scottish Cups and a League title. He left Celtic in 1990 for Kilmarnock, but returned in 1994 as assistant to the late great Tommy Burns. When Burns was sacked by Fergus McCann in 1997, Stark managed Celtic as caretaker for three games, before leaving to manage Morton. Stark is currently the Scotland Under-21 manager and has been since 2008.
St Mirren 1980-85; Celtic 1987-89 & 1992-94
The man synonymous with the catchphrase "Where's the Burdz" from comedy show "Only an Excuse", McAvennie played junior football with Johnstone Burgh before signing for the Buddies in 1980. He made 135 league appearances for the Buddies over a five-year period, scoring 48 goals before he headed south to West Ham United.
In 1987, McAvennie returned to Scotland signing for Celtic, but his first year at Celtic saw him involved in an on-field incident with Rangers trio Chris Wood, Terry Butcher and Graham Roberts during an Old Firm derby game; McAvennie and Woods were sent off for the incident.
All four were reported to the Procurator Fiscal and appeared in court. McAvennie was found not guilty, Roberts was found not proven, but Butcher and Woods were both convicted of Breach of the Peace.
McAvennie eventually found his form, after an initial barren period, scoring 27 goals in 55 appearances. He would return south to West Ham in 1989 after a fallout with manager Billy McNeill, but returned to Celtic in 1993 scoring 10 goals in 30 games.
Among the many fans who were around in the 1980s, McAvennie is now, sadly, remembered more for his playboy lifestyle and the comedy catchphrase than the goals he scored.
St Mirren 1975-79 & 1985-90; Celtic 1980-85
McGarvey signed for the Buddies as a schoolboy, and, after time on loan to Kilsyth Rangers, he made his debut for St Mirren in 1975. Along with Stark, helped the Buddies win the Scottish First Division. After four-year stint, McGarvey signed for Bob Paisley’s Liverpool side but did not play for the English side and he returned some 10 months later to Scotland signing for Celtic in 1980.
He played 245 times for Celtic over a five-year period, scoring 113 goals. He won two League championships, two Scottish Cups and a Scottish League Cup. His last act as a Celtic player was to score the winning goal in the 1985 Scottish Cup Final against Dundee United. One month later, he returned to Love Street.
He was with Lambert as part of the Scottish Cup-winning St Mirren side of 1987 and made 134 league appearances, scoring 20 goals, in his second stint with the Buddies. McGarvey is now a joiner.
Celtic 1997-2002; St Mirren 2011-present
Goodwin joined Celtic in 1997 as part of their youth academy, but after five years at Parkhead, he made only one league appearance for the club and moved to England. He spent eight years down south, before returning to Scotland in 2010 to sign for Hamilton Accies, but a year later he signed for St Mirren and since then has made 89 appearances for the Buddies, scoring three times.
But for the Irishman, his best moment of his career came when he captained the Buddies to League Cup glory earlier this month, beating Hearts 3-2 at Hampden.
Paul McGowan, David van Zanten and Graham Carey played for both Celtic and St Mirren with all three alongside Goodwin to win the League Cup.
Roy Aitken is another notable addition to both the St Mirren-and-Celtic camp, but he is remembered more fondly by the Celtic fans and is affectionately known as ‘The Bear’.
There are many more Buddies who were Bhoys and vice-versa, but I have to end this piece with another legendary player – Willie Fernie. He will forever be remembered as part of that Celtic side which beat Rangers 7-1 in 1957, a game immortalised in the song "Hampden in the Sun".
Fernie scored the seventh Celtic goal. When he signed for the Buddies in 1961, he helped them to the 1962 Scottish Cup Final but lost out to Rangers. He returned to Celtic in 1967 after he was appointed reserve team coach by Jock Stein. He helped develop the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Davie Hay and Danny McGrain. After becoming disillusioned with the game he became a taxi driver. He died in 2011 at 82 after suffering from Alzheimer’s.