Paisley Daily Express



“There were some big English teams in it at the time too. Bolton, Sheffield United, Bristol City, Blackburn Rovers and Norwich City.

“As always, there was some great banter between the clubs from both countries. I remember we played Sheffield United in the semi-finals and Jimmy Bone had played for them before. There was some great banter between them and, thankfully, we beat them 4-0 in the second leg to go through.

“It was a two-legged final and we beat Bristol City 2-0 at Ashton Gate before beating them 3-1 at Love Street. I got a brace in Paisley and Billy Stark got one in Bristol.

“I think the English clubs thought we were a bit of a soft touch and that they’d be able to beat us quite comfortabl­y.

“We c e r t a i n l y p rov e d them wrong and it was a big achievemen­t for the club. It was a great tournament to have and it’s still a proud thing for the club to be the only Scottish team to have ever won it.”

Somner’s Saints career wasn’t always rosey, with a controvers­ial S cottish Cup loss against Rangers one of his least favourite memories of his time in Paisley.

The Buddies were just one step away from reaching the final, but lost out to a Sandy Clark goal, which, to this day, still rankles the striker.

Somner said: “The Scottish Cup semi-final replay loss against Rangers in 1983 was probably the worst moment for me in a Saints shirt.

“It was my last season with the club and it was a replay after we drew the first leg 1-1.

“Sandy Clark scored with two minutes left of injury time and there was a big debate over whether it should have stood or not.

“Lex Richardson, to this day, is adamant it wasn’t over the line.

“In the end, that cost us the chance to go and play Aberdeen in the final.”

As well as turning out on some massive occasions for the Saints, Somner shared a dressing room with several talented teammates.

One of whom was Frank McAvennie, who, after starting his career in Paisley, would go on to star for West Ham and Celtic.

Somner remembers looking after the precocious young talent was one of his more difficult tasks with the Buddies.

He added: “Frank McDougall was the faster player I’d ever seen over ten yards. He’s the best striker I ever played with and he was unfortunat­e that a leg break set him back a bit when he was

St Mirren defenders Alex

Beckett and Jackie Copland in action against Elfsborg in the

UEFA Cup with Saints. Jimmy Bone was a superb player too.

“When Frank McAvennie came in you, could tell right away he would go on to be a phenomenal player. He had pace, two good feet and was really brave.

“I remember we did a preseason trip to the Isle of Man and Ricky McFarlane put Frank in with me and told me to look after him.

“Frank had already lit up a fag before I’d even got into the room!

“It was pretty eventful and looking after him was definitely one of my tougher jobs at Saints.”

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