BUDDIES are going football crazy as cup final fever grips Paisley.
St Mirren supporters have been queuing up to get their hands on special edition merchandise ahead of next month’s Co-operative Insurance Cup Final against Rangers.
Staff at the Provan Sports store in Causeyside Street, Paisley, have been run off their feet since the cup final clobber went on sale.
Saints fan James Steel, 25, who works as a sales assistant at Provan Sports, told the Paisley Daily Express: “The cup final gear has been selling really well.
“It’s not every year that St Mirren get to a cup final, so it’s no surprise that Paisley people are getting so excited.”
Thousands of Buddies will head to Hampden on Sunday, March 21, to cheer Saints on as they bid to win a major trophy for the first time in 23 years.
And footsoldiers from the Black and White Army will be dressed for the occasion after snapping up the cup final merchandise.
They have been able to choose from the likes of special edition T-shirts, hats and scarves, with every single item embroidered with the Co-operative Insurance Cup Final logo and the date of the Hampden showdown.
James, who has worked at Provan Sports for seven years, added: “Loads of fans have been in to buy a hat or a T-shirt for the big day and demand has been so high that we’re having to order more stuff.
“We even had one woman who came in and bought five cup final T-shirts for her and her family.
“The most popular merchandise so far has been the special polo shirts, followed by scarves.
“We brought out a few bits and pieces last season when St Mirren reached the Scottish Cup semi-finals at Hampden.
“And we also sold special merchandise when the team won promotion to the SPL back in 2006 – but this cup final takes things on to another level.
“For clubs like St Mirren, big cup finals don’t come along too often, so it’s only right that we are doing something special to mark the occasion.
“As soon as Saints beat Hearts in the semi-final earlier this month, we got to work on getting things ready for the final.
“The St Mirren supporters are really up for it. Let’s just hope they get the right result at Hampden on March 21.”
Bosses at Provan Sports hope to add further items to their range of cup final merchandise, including flags that can be mounted onto supporters’ cars for the journey to Hampden on the big day.
There are also plans to release a limited number of football shirts with the cup final details embroidered around the Saints badge – just like the ones the players will be wearing as they walk out onto the hallowed Hampden turf.
James said: “These shirts will be the same as the ones the St Mirren players will be wearing on cup final day, so the fans will be able to look just like their heroes.”
Provan Sports will also have their own stall outside the National Stadium on the day of the game – but, unfortunately for James, he won’t be there.
“I can’t make it to the game,” he said. “I’ve got a prior booking as my friend is getting married.
“I’m gutted that I won’t be able to cheer on the Buddies but you can bet that, as soon as the service is finished at the church, I’ll be on my phone to find out how the boys are getting on.”
l The Paisley Daily Express has teamed-up with Provan Sports to offer four lucky readers the chance to win one of the fantastic limited-edition St Mirren cup final T-shirts.
To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this simple question: Which team will St Mirren face in the Co-operative Insurance Cup Final?
Is it A) Rangers; B) Morton or C) Johnstone Burgh.
Send your answer, along with your name, address, daytime telephone number and T-shirt size, to Cup Final T-shirt Competition, FAO Andy Newport, Paisley Daily Express, 14 New Street, Paisley, PA1 1YA before the closing date of Friday, March 5.
The usual competition rules apply and the editor’s decision is final.