1879/80

In 1879 the club would move ground again as the search for a permanent home continued, this time as tenants at Thistle Park in Greenhill Road, home of Paisley Thistle Cricket Club. Although SFA and Renfrewshire FA membership still eluded Saints in 1879, this would be the first “season” played by the club with at least 11 fixtures played from August 1879 to April 1880.

The club indicated in early 1880 however that they had become a member of the Renfrewshire Association and would therefore be playing in the 1880/81 Renfrewshire Cup. It was hoped that SFA membership would follow later in that year.

January 1880

Following a 4-2 defeat at Thistle Park to local rivals Abercorn on the 24th January, it was alleged in the Paisley Daily Express three days later that Saints had used three players who were not members of the club (this was allowed but generally discouraged) in an attempt to build up false platitudes for the Abbies making their victory a greater accomplishment than what it was.

As this was untrue, it was probably no surprise that Saints secretary Walter Craig took umbrage with this allegation and despite attempting to set the record straight with the newspaper, the PDE refused to print his letters, forcing Saints to use the weekly Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette to advise readers that all players were registered with the club. In addition to this, Mr Craig accused the Express of bias towards Abercorn and failing to mention that the star man on show for Abercorn was in fact (future Saints player) Robert Whyte of Johnstone Athletic!

Craig also went as far to call the allegations against Saints as “libelous” and the Express a “pretentious” publication. The rivalry between the clubs however was turning into something greater than merely kicking a ball about, and the battle for domination within the town was well under way.

March 1880

A famous touring “Scotch Canadian” team consisting of many famous ex Queen’s Park players, took on a Saints and Abercorn select at Thistle Park on the 20th March, soundly thrashing the Paisley men 8-1 in front of a large crowd.

April 1880

Saints took on a Paisley select XI on the 3rd April at Thistle Park to raise funds for an annual trophy to be played for by the teams of the town (this eventually would become the Paisley Charity Cup) which had stretched to double figures since the formation of the St Mirren in 1877.  Saints second annual celebration was held, over two years since the last, in the Globe Hotel within the town following the end of the season. It was confirmed the team had played 23 matches, winning 8 and drawing 4 with 11 defeats. They had scored 59 times and conceded ten fewer. Current membership was recorded as 120.

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