ST MIRREN chiefs last night declared the special dinner staged to bid a final farewell to Love Street as a fitting tribute to the famous old stadium.
Hundreds of Buddies honoured Love Street at the glittering event, which took place at the Normandy Hotel in Renfrew.
The black and white army were treated to a night of nostalgia as Saints marked the end of 115 years at the famous ground and looked ahead to the first match at the new stadium in Greenhill Road this Saturday.
St Mirren legends such as Tony Fitzpatrick, Billy Abercromby and Frank McGarvey were in attendance for the event, which was hosted by former Paisley Daily Express journalist Bill Leckie.
And the audience was entertained by top after-dinner speaker Sandy Strang and ex-referee John Rowbotham, who had supporters in stitches with some riotous tales.
Joining them at the top table were club chairman Stewart Gilmour, manager Gus MacPherson, vice-chairman George Campbell and Peter Beagley, from main sponsors Braehead shopping centre.
There were a number of special presentations made, with lifelong Saints fans Jimmy McIntosh and Alastair MacLean each receiving a special limited edition malt whisky for their support after devoting a combined total of 150 years to supporting the Buddies.
And Saints righted a horrible wrong when they presented Bobby Duffy and Hughie McLaughlin, members of the 1967/68 Second Division championship winning side, with the medals they didn’t receive at the time of their title success due to controversial regulations.
St Mirren’s board of directors were also presented with a surprise award for their contribution to the club from Braehead but chairman Gilmour insists he wouldn’t have given that presentation the green light if he’d had an inkling it was going to happen.
He revealed: “We didn’t know anything about the presentation until it was made but it was appreciated by everyone on the board.
“It was a fantastic night and I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It was a great send-off for the old stadium.
“Our commercial manager, Campbell Kennedy, worked really hard to make the evening the tremendous success it was and all the speakers were terrific.”
Gilmour also paid tribute to former Saints stars Duffy and McLaughlin and was pleased the duo had finally got the recognition their contribution to the 1967/68 title success deserves.
He said: “We were delighted to be able to honour two of our former players who didn’t receive their medals at the time due to regulations adopted by the football authorities.
“When you consider they played in excess of 20 games each for the club that season, it was absolutely ridiculous that they weren’t awarded medals. We were delighted to be able to rectify that situation.”
Gilmour was also delighted to honour diehard fans Mr McIntosh and Mr MacLean.
The chairman added: “They are two lifelong St Mirren supporters but there are many in that bracket and, while it’s difficult to honour them all, we wanted to show our appreciation for their support and for the support of all our fans.”
The night also included an auction which raised funds for St Mirren and among the items up for grabs were a signed and framed Mechelen shirt and a framed Manchester United jersey from their Champions League clash with Celtic at Parkhead, which was signed by every member of the Old Trafford squad.
The match ball from the Buddies’ last ever game at Love Street against Motherwell at the start of the month was also up for grabs, along with a last day Saints shirt signed by the entire squad and a limited print of St Mirren Park by local artist Eric Johnstone.
There was also a superb US Masters package up for bidding which consisted of a five-day trip for two people to the famous Augusta National course for this year’s championships in April.
And there was also a truly unique picture from Saints last ever game at Love Street taken by Paisley Daily Express snapper Drew Neil which captured all the action from that emotional occasion and was also signed by the entire Saints squad.