Risks Taken.On such a frost-bound ground, however, one could not blame any of the players for not being anxious to take risks, and really, taking into consideration the treacherous nature of the surface, and its rock-like hardness, with the possibility of a broken limb or other serious injury to a man coming down heavily, the game was, at times, surprisingly fast. As a football spectacle, though, the match fell below First League standard, and there are at least two explanations of this. St Johnstone, though they played pluckily, failed to create the impression that their position at the bottom of the League chart is anomalous, and were content to keep their clever opponents at bay, with an occasional dash for goal on the chance of something coming off. Had Aberdeen been at full strength, even allowing for the bad conditions underfoot, and the phenomenal goalkeeping display of McLaren, there can be little doubt that the Dons would have counted not just once but several times.
Low Gear.What was actually the matter was that the forward line was moving all the time on low gear. With Love and Cheyne both out of the line, the old thrust and fire, the smooth-working, methodical movements, the dash and snap, call it what you will, was lacking, and instead of one unit, dangerous, penetrative, and solid, the Aberdeen attack was just an ordinary quintette which had they been up against sterner stuff, would, have fared far worse even than they did. Falloon and Dickie were by no means failures. They put their hearts into their job, and would no doubt be accounted a valuable acquisition by a number of clubs, but there could be no comparing them to the real 'right of line.' McDermid was the best of the home bunch, and it was he who set the machine, creaky as it was at times, in motion. Smith responded fairly well on the whole, but the ball did not run too well for Yorston, who was not in the front row so often as he usually is.
Too Busy.What had been anticipated as the piece resistance - the clashing of Yorston and Jock McHale - proved rather disappointing after all. McHale was out to show the 'natives' just how valuable a man he is to St Johnstone, and in this he certainly succeeded. He was the mainstay of the side, but he was generally too busy defending, and in this connection he played a storm of a game, to have much time to pay court to Yorston. The halfbacks on both sides alone played up to the requisite standard, and the home trio were especially sound. No one was more conspicuous for his leading out play than Black, and it was fitting that the goal which pushed the Muirton Park team still further into the slough of despond, should come from his foot. This occurred a few minutes from the interval, and was directly traceable to a nice bit of work on the part of Dickie. Black gratefully accepted the inside man's pass and drove a whale of a shot, which was so dazzling that it rebounded in a diagonal line from the inside of the net at one end to the other, and then came out again. The Perth men's appeal was a waste of time and valuable breath. Shooting-ln. For the most part the second half resolved itself into a game of shooting-in at McLaren's end, and as already stated, the honours lay with the goalkeeper. All the home forwards had a go at ringing the bell, but McLaren was not giving back any change. His most marvellous saves were from Yorston, Smith, and McDermid from point-blank range. In between the consistent Aberdeen pressure throughout the game, were sandwiched quick spurts by the Saints' forwards; and had the home defence not been on its very best behaviour, these tactics, enforced as they were, might have come off. Just on the interval, Yuill made a spectacular save from Nicholson, while towards the end, in a despairing Perth rally, Yuill again averted a sensation when he stopped two deadly efforts fired in from deadly range by Webb and Cameron.
The Hero.Steel and Forrest supported the heroic McLaren manfully, and McHale was a further steadying and heartening influence for the visitors at centre-half. In a forward line that got little chance to shine, Stewart and Cameron were the most likely triers. The crowd of little more than 10,000 paid well-merited tribute to McLaren as he trotted off, the hero of a side that though beaten was by no means disgraced.
Source: Press & Journal, 24th February 1930