With Saints attempting to grow a reputation locally, their status as the only club in the town was extremely short lived as Abercorn were formed in the East End of the burgh only a few weeks later and had their own sights set on becoming the main sporting institution within Paisley.
Although no league existed yet, there actually was an agreed season for football, played between late August and May to allow the summer free for cricket, which many footballers also played. Incredibly, this remains the basis for most football seasons in Europe today despite cricket now being a minority sport.
Clubs would therefore arrange what in effect were friendlies or unofficial matches, often scheduled every Saturday in advance and timetabled right through to the last Saturday in April. Clubs had no obligation to fulfil these fixtures however, with no penalty for failing to turn up for example, and this “no show” was extremely common in the early days of football, with lack of players or funds the main issue. Teams would also often compete with less than 11 players to honour the fixture but finding opposition for a new club with no reputation was not easy and Saints didn’t play many matches in 1878 or 1879 because of all these factors.
What did guarantee fixtures through was cup matches. The Scottish Cup had been running since 1873, but to play in this, Saints would need to become a member club of the Scottish Football Association. Before they could do this, they would need to become a member of the Renfrewshire FA, and coincidentally the Renfrewshire Cup was starting in 1878 with Abercorn leading the way in its formation……. ironically minus Saints as well as Morton who would of course collectively dominate the trophy for more than a century.
1878 would also witness Saints moving grounds from their short lived home at Shortroods to Abingdon Park within the north of the town.