This piece is an extract from yesterday's McDiarmid Memo newsletter, which is emailed out at 6pm every Thursday.

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St Johnstone fans under the age of 30 have had it pretty damn good, haven’t they? Promotion, numerous trophy triumphs, several European adventures, and of course, a historic cup double. For just a wee team from Perth, it really has been quite the success story in recent times. 

I feel lucky to fall under that youth bracket and have loved every minute of supporting and reporting on the club in recent seasons, even if we may have had the odd close shave with relegation. I am always reminded by my dad and older brother though that things haven’t always been plain sailing with the club that we all hold so close. 

A catch-up with St Johnstone historian Alastair Blair last week reaffirmed that to me as we discussed a new Saints book that should be hitting the shelves before the turn of the year. 

Alastair has teamed up with his good friend and stats enthusiast Brian Doyle to create a bible for supporters to remember the most memorable matches in the club’s history. The book goes way back to 1885 when the club was formed before highlighting the recent successes of the Wright and Davidson eras.

Interspersed with significant milestones in the club’s history, there are many games which created an indelible impression on everyone who witnessed them. Some of these were, naturally, deep in the past with no-one still alive to recall what happened, while others are still as fresh in the mind as the day they occurred.   

Each fan will have their own particular favourites and while Alastair and Brian cannot please everyone they have strived to deliver a definitive compendium of the key games in St Johnstone’s history. 

It was fascinating chatting to Alastair as we discussed our own personal favourite games, so I thought given the current struggles on the park, this week it would be nice to reminisce about some better times.  So, without further ado, here is my list of the top three Saints games I have witnessed during my time supporting the club and spoiler alert, there aren’t many surprises! 

1.       Scottish Cup semi-final vs Aberdeen 2014 

After our 4-0 thumping to the Dons in the League Cup semi-final that year at Tynecastle, there wasn’t much hope heading into this one and as a result, the Saints die-hards in the Broomloan lower tier were vastly outnumbered at Ibrox. 

We all feared the worst when Niall McGinn put Aberdeen ahead after just 15 minutes, but the way Tommy Wright and his team rallied and retaliated was something special and a historical Saints moment. 

Stevie May’s two goals that day will always be talked about, but so many in that Saints team performed on the day and their passion at full-time showed just how much it meant. There was a connection between the fans, Tommy Wright and his team and they knew just how much it meant to the people of Perth to get to the final. 

It was an emotional game for those of us in the stands as we booked our place in the Scottish Cup final for the first time in our history, and that resulted in tears and emotion for many. For so long we had fallen short on these occasions, but finally, we had done it. A day we will never forget. 

2.       Scottish Cup final vs Dundee United 2014 

I always rank the semi-final against Aberdeen above the final for the sheer emotion of the day after we were totally written off heading into the game for obvious reasons.

That always makes a victory that bit sweeter.  After securing our place in the final it felt like us Saints fans had a degree of confidence about the day that we could topple Dundee United yet again that season. 

On paper that United team had so much talent, arguably more than their Saints counterparts, but they were nowhere near the team unit that was created in Perth. We had their number and I think Jackie McNamara and co knew that heading into the final. 

The celebrations at full-time, the trophy lift, the open-top bus tour around Perth were all sights that supporters had dreamed about and finally, they became reality. Sir Tommy Wright and the 2014 team – history makers. 

3.       Scottish Cup final vs Hibernian 2021 

Now none of us were actually there for this one, but we certainly were in spirit. St Johnstone securing a cup double is always going to be in anyone’s top three games, but what made this game so special and so meaningful to us all was the horrendous few months we had gone through previously. 

Our football team gave us so much joy during one of the most awful times of our lives and for that, we will always be grateful to Callum Davidson, his staff and the most successful team in the club’s history.  

I had the option to cover the game at Hampden through work, but instead, I wanted to watch and take it in with those closest to me. We all gathered at our family home in Perth and it was a nervous watch, but the celebrations were memories that will live long in the memory. 

It was a shame we couldn’t all celebrate together with an open-top bus tour like in 2014, but hopefully, when the time is right the club can reflect on one of the greatest achievements in Scottish football history in style. It must happen. 

I very much look forward to reading Alastair and Brian’s new book when it launches and I’m sure it will get us Saints fans debating back and forward. 

Let’s also hope that a second edition of the book will be out in the near future with some more success stories in the pipeline for our great club.

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