ST Mirren began January 2009 playing out of one stadium and left it having decanted to another.

Ten years after leaving their home on Love Street for a new purpose-built ground half a mile away, The Herald's Graeme Macpherson speaks to three figures at the club about their memories of the move, and how they feel the new St Mirren Park has evolved over the subsequent decade.

The Gazette: Gordon Scott oversaw the move to the new stadium Gordon Scott oversaw the move to the new stadium


Then: St Mirren director responsible for overseeing the construction and design of the new stadium

Now: Chairman and owner

“We had around £200,000 to spend on items over and above the basic SPL-compliant stadium that Barrs were providing, so it was about adding things here and there. I moved the proposed location of the boardroom, for example, and I think it’s still the only one in Scotlandthat overlooks the pitch.

“I remember Gordon Strachan was at our opening match against Kilmarnock with his wife and daughter. I heard a cry of 'help!' from the ladies’ toilet and went in and his daughter was holding up a sink that had fallen off the wall. But luckily that was the only teething problem on the day that I’m aware of.

“I’m proud of how it looks now and have probably bored all our guests talking about it! And quite a few have asked about adapting things for their own stadiums. There were so many good people involved in the construction, including Barrs who were really co-operative.

“I look at pictures of early Love Street and it was one stand and mud banking all the way round. And that’s almost what this ground is like. It’s a starting point, but it needs to evolve. We’ve done wee bits and pieces around the place like adding the supporters' bar and the wheelchair viewing platform and it’s starting to feel more like home. The atmosphere over the last few years has also been a lot better.

“We’re now looking at the viability of a safe-standing section in the West Stand and will get feedback from our fans to get their thoughts on it. We’ll price the different options and see what we think might work.

“But we can do more. Long-term you’d like to fill in the corners with office space and the likes but that would cost millions of pounds, although it would pay for itself over time and then start to generate revenue for the club. We have other plans too but would need to become an established Premiership club first to make it all viable.

The Gazette: Stephen McGinn returned to the club after spells down south. Stephen McGinn returned to the club after spells down south.


Then: Promising young player

Now: Club captain

“I loved Love Street but I was really excited about moving into the new stadium. With the training ground also being built it was an important era for the club.

“But moving grounds mid-season was tough. At Love Street we had a proper home advantage. We knew everything about it, plus it wasn’t great for the opposition with the tiny away dressing room and one working shower. So we lost that edge when we first moved as it felt a bit like a neutral ground in that the facilities were great for both sides. We beat Celtic in the Scottish Cup which was brilliant but didn’t win a home league game until the following season, which gives you an idea of how hard the transition was.

“But when I came back to the club in 2017, I could sense a real difference. It felt more like home and winning the Championship title last summer was a special moment. They’ve got the singing section in W7 of the West Stand now and those guys have made a real difference in bringing an atmosphere to the place.

“People talk about Love Street and the memorable occasions that took place there, but even in 10 years at the new ground there have been big wins, beating both Rangers and Celtic in that time, and the league title last year. This is home now.”

The Gazette: Love Street was originally sold to Tesco, who abandoned plans to build a supermarket. The land is currently unused. Love Street was originally sold to Tesco, who abandoned plans to build a supermarket. The land is currently unused.

David Nicol 

Then: Supporter

Now: Fan-elected club director

“I can still remember walking up the steep bank to get to the terrace at Love Street and when you got to the top of that hill the whole ground suddenly opened up in front of you. That was a special moment before every game. Those memories always stay with you.

“But, although I was sad to leave Love Street, I was also pragmatic about the move and knew this was what the club had to do if we were to progress. We were moving into a purpose-built stadium and clearing our debt. I remember going down to the council offices with other fans to hear if we would get planning permission for the new ground and the cheer that went up when the decision was announced. It felt like an important moment for the club.

“Love Street had that special character and history that all old grounds have, and the new place hasn’t quite matched that yet. But it’s getting there with every year that passes and starting to feel more like home.”