ST MIRREN stars will celebrate the New Year tonight under a Hogmanay booze ban.
Instead of a dram or a few beers at the Bells, they will make do with a fruit juice after club sponsors Braehead Shopping Centre yesterday delivered a consignment of soft drinks to the club.
The Saints players are scheduled to take part in a training session tomorrow morning and are due to play Kilmarnock at home on Saturday, so manager Gus MacPherson put out a ‘no bevvy’ order to his squad.
MacPherson said: “Drinking alcohol a day or two before a game definitely impairs a player’s performance.
“We have a professional bunch of players here and they understand how important it is to be at the peak of physical fitness for games.
“It’s especially important to stay off alcohol at this time of year.”
Saints midfielder Stephen McGinn said: “It’s hard not being able to have a drink at New Year when all your pals are talking about how much of a good time they’re going to have but it’s something footballers just have to get used to and we deal with it.
“At the end of the day, I’m doing what they all dream about and that’s playing in the SPL.
“They would easily swap places with me if all it meant was not being able to have a drink at Hogmanay.
“I’ll stay up for the Bells and see in the New Year with my family – and I’ll enjoy a soft drink.”
Defender David Barron added: “I would love to have a drink at Hogmanay but it’s part and parcel of being a professional footballer that you need to make sacrifices and you have to get used to it.”
And Saints midfielder Andy Dorman said: “There’s plenty time for us to get bevvied at New Year after our football careers are over.
“For the moment though, all we should be thinking about is making sure we are in peak condition when we go out onto the park and aim to win football matches.”
Braehead marketing manager Lydia Brown said the club’s sponsors are happy to have brought some New Year cheer to the Saints players, albeit in a non-alcoholic manner.
She added: “When we heard the Saints players wouldn’t be able to have any alcohol at New Year, we thought we’d drop in a few cases of fruit juice for them.
“It must be really hard on them not being able to have a drink at Hogmanay as everyone round about them is celebrating with a traditional dram at the Bells but I’m sure the booze ban will be worthwhile and the team will be celebrating with a win against Kilmarnock on Saturday.”