Jim Goodwin keen for more ‘happy St Mirren days’

A SENTIMENTAL journey will be revisited for St Mirren captain Jim Goodwin through the simple act of picking up the DVD chronicling the club’s recent League Cup final triumph over Hearts.

The DVD was released yesterday and Goodwin confirmed that a chat the Irishman had with his six-year-old daughter Eva on the morning of the 17 March Hampden showpiece inspired the film’s title St Mirren’s Day.

“Some people think I made that up but it is the God’s honest truth that we were down in the kitchen and I said to her ‘happy St Patrick’s Day, love’, just joking, and she said ‘no Daddy, happy St Mirren Day’,” Goodwin said. “I thought that was a good thing to use.”

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The Paisley club’s squad relived their cup-winning experience with a special screening of the DVD at the training ground yesterday – “they got all the best bits in”, said Goodwin – and the squad’s mood was a shared one as the credits rolled. “It was: ‘Let’s do it all again next year’,” added Goodwin. “It’s not okay to wait another 25 years [for a trophy].”

The celebrations, however, felt like cramming a quarter-of-a-century’s worth of good times into two days. “Today is the first day back at training that I actually feel like a footballer,” said Goodwin. The St Mirren skipper is confident his colleagues now have their game head on for the visit of Celtic tomorrow which, as a result of the international break, is their first outing since the Hampden final. Yet, for all that snaring the League Cup showed what Danny Lennon’s side are capable of, the fact they are skulking around second-bottom of the SPL shows where their shortcomings are capable of leaving them.

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“You couldn’t pick a better game to come back into, could you?” Goodwin said of the encounter wherein Neil Lennon’s champions-elect will form a guard of honour for the home team before kick-off. “They beat us last time out in the Scottish Cup, but we proved in the League Cup semi-final we are as good a match for them as anyone. Celtic will bring their usual crowd but I think we will bring more again after winning the cup, so it will be a fantastic game.

“Our position in the league at the moment is not acceptable; with the quality of the players that we have in our dressing room, we shouldn’t be where we are. We haven’t done enough in the league but we have eight games now where we have a chance to make a huge difference to that. Winning the cup and finishing 11th is not good enough. We have to finish seventh in the league now. You would be struggling to find a team that works harder than us Monday to Friday. There is a great togetherness and this has made that bond even stronger. If you’ve got that camaraderie, you can do so much with that.”

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Goodwin seemed to have camaraderie with the entire burgh of Paisley in the aftermath of a trophy success that he and his St Mirren team were able to share with his children on the turf of the national stadium. That was despite a pre-match directive from the match commander forbidding such activities.

“Tealey [Gary Teale] started it. As soon as he got away with it, me and Thommo [Steven Thompson], Mairzo [Lee Mair] and Vanzy [David van Zanten] just thought ‘let’s just go and get them.’ That made it even more special; to have the kids on at Hampden, I might never get there again, so it is something for them to look back on too. I think [the match commander] just turned a blind eye.

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“It is very hard to explain to people the feelings that you go through but I think Thommo summed it up afterwards when he said it was a great relief. It is like that – when the final whistle goes it is just a great burden lifted off your shoulders. It was like a bank holiday the Monday after the game. I went out to a few pubs in Paisley and I think I came home with more money that I went out with – you couldn’t buy a beer. That was my first time out in Paisley as I live over in Cumbernauld and the community were just fantastic.”

Manager Danny Lennon will try to make sure his St Mirren players are back down to earth when they face Celtic tomorrow in their first match since winning the cup.

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“We were just up at the launch of the DVD and we watched it together, the full group,” Lennon said. “It was very emotional to see everyone and their love and affiliation of this football club – from the supporters, directors, to the players and families and friends. The supporters are the most important people at this club and if we manage to get that extra few through the gate on the back of this cup success, we’ll be doing our damnedest to make sure we keep them here and we are only going to do that by giving them entertainment.”

He added: “We can’t rest on our laurels. What we have to do is make that cup success a platform and continue our journey.

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“We have eight very important league games to go. We are more points better off than this time last year but we are lower in the league. They are two very important aims for us.”