After the fiasco that was last saturday (ie me ending up in the hospital) it was off to New St.Mirren Park for a bit of a homecoming for the Groundhoppers. It was at the first ever game at this ground that the first rumblings of the groundhoppers adventure reared it's ugly head - we haven't looked back.
As an unashamed Saints fanatic, this was one of the few games i've been to this season thats had any great meaning. Don't get me wrong we've seen some exciting stuff, but nothing beats the buzz you get watching your own team. A mere three days ago these same two sides fought out a thrilling 3-3 league draw, and we were hoping for more of the same - thankfully we weren't disappointed.
Motherwell started the brighter, buoyed on by a sell out away support, and seemed keen to take the semi final spot. But although they weren't playing badly, Motherwell seemed to be missing a bit of spark and eventually started to struggle to break down a well organised St Mirren, frequently giving away possession.
After 22 minutes St Mirren scored the opener, Andy Dorman crossing for Michael Higdon to powerfully head past John Ruddy. The ball spinning off the keepers hand and appearing to take an age to cross the line. Motherwell again upped the pressure but to no avail and the sides went in at half time with the Buddies leading by one.
After the break Motherwell again came out with guns blazing, but after 60 minutes they were down by two with Jack Ross's venomous shot deflecting in the net. Motherwell again started to turn the screw and were unfortunate not to get anything, the pitch acting as a leveler with players sliding all over the place in the swirling rain. But it was game over with nine minutes remaining as Andy Dorman ran from his own half before his cross went in off the motherwell captain Stephen Craigan. With Motherwell now a finished side, the huge Steelmen support started to wander off in the direction of the Train station - probably a tad more subdued than when they travelled in earlier - still always remember you shouldnae drive when it's icy.
St Mirren have definitely got their act together since the last two times we've seen them this season playing some nice football looking solid, patient and well -organised. The only flaw still seems to be the left back spot where right footed David Barron is trying his best, but constantly finds himself out of position - a flaw that Motherwell always tried to punish. Stand-out players tonight included Andy Dorman, Billy Mehmet and Paul Gallacher. But particular mention goes to Shuggie Murray who was immense tonight, battling, always tracking back and masking over the defensive flaws - he certainly knows how to make opposing players feel like they've been in a game.
All in this was a very enjoyable game - It may be an Ikea flatpack stadium and admittedly the atmosphere isn't quite that of Love Street but you sit right on the pitch and this is a lovely wee ground - vomitories and all.