MARK YARDLEY couldn’t hide his joy and pride yesterday as he stood where a new street is to be named in honour of him on what was once the Love Street pitch.

And the St Mirren icon has even picked out a spot where his ashes will be scattered, many years from now one would hope, at a place in Paisley which may have changed forever but will always belong to him.

When the old ground was torn down, Renfrewshire Council ran a competition which gave supporters the chance to name five streets at the new affordable housing development.

There is also going to Abercromby Avenue after cult hero and 1987 Scottish Cup wining captain Billy, McGarry Terrace in honour of Steven a supporter who became a player, Saints Street, which needs no real explanation, and finally Fitzpatrick Way in tribute for former captain, manager, current chief executive and all-round living legend Tony.

These five streets add to two already named ‘North Bank’ and ‘Cairter’s Corner’ after well-known sections of the old ground they sit on the locations of.

Yardey’s transfer fee when he moved in 1995 from Cowdenbeath to St Mirren cost slightly less than the project’s £17m but who needs that money when the big man, one of the nicest folk you could ever hope to meet, is still so loved by the punters he entertained.

“This is a huge honour for me,” he said. "What an accolade. You look through the list of players who appeared at Love Street down the years and to even be shortlisted on the 15 and sit beside names like Norrie McWhirter, who played his whole career here, was fantastic.

"To then find out I was in the top five and was going to have a street named after me was a big honour.

"I had a great relationship with the fans and for them to vote for me means a lot. There were good and bad times. I was never the quickest and they knew that - but I gave my all every time I pulled on that shirt.

"I didn't turn pro until I was 24 so maybe I appreciated the chance to be here for eight years a little bit more.

"Even now, despite being from a family of lifelong Hearts fans, I check the St Mirren score first every weekend. A lot of my friends ask why but I had eight years at the club and it takes over.

"If I watch St Mirren play I also get more frustrated watching them than I do with Hearts It's one of those things. I just can't explain it. It's in my blood now.

"Yardley Avenue will always be here now and I said to my daughter Sophie that my ashes will need to be sprinkled here when I pass away.”

The entire Yardley family were there yesterday and speaking to big Mark, you could see just how much his time at the club still means to him

He said: “Driving to the site of the old stadium, I could see some of the old walls standing around the place.

"Even after all these years, there are still little signs of Love Street and it's incredible to come back.

"I felt a buzz when I came back. I worked out where the pitch was, as I could see the wall that came all the way down the North Bank. It was great to have my wife and daughter with me, Paula and Sophie.

"Sophie actually said to me, 'People used to talk about you being a footballer in Primary School, but I now realise you must have been quite good'.

"I said, 'Thanks very that me up there with Justin Bieber and One Direction!'"

Yardley is happy that it does seem that Jack Ross is only weeks away from taking St Mirren back into the Premier League.

He said: "I'd loved to have played in Jack's team as a striker. The chances they create through the likes of Stephen McGinn and Lewis Morgan is fantastic.

"All credit to them and the manager.

"I couldn't be happier and I do think they will go and finish the job and get promotion.

"I can see the togetherness in the squad. They will win a lot more games between now and the end of the season.

"I can't see anyone catching them and it will be fantastic to see them back in the Premiership."