St Mirren fans’ final march from Love Street

Hundreds of St Mirren fans made a symbolic march, accompanied by a pipe band, from Love Street to their new ground on Greenhill Road.

While the band played a suitable rendition of “The Saints Go Marching In”, the parade to the new St Mirren Park was led by a swathe of youngsters wearing the club’s colours and panda masks to mark the dawn of a new chapter in the Saints’ history.

Former Saints skippers Tony Fitzpatrick, Billy Abercromby, Kevin McGowne and Tommy Turner joined the march by transporting the centre spot from the old ground to their new home.

The seats from the old ground were also making a move, but they were heading a few miles down the M8 to Greenock where they have been bought by Morton. Love Street is making way for a new Tesco, who agreed to build St Mirren Park as part of the deal.

Fans were upbeat at the parade despite being sad at saying goodbye to the club’s home of 115 years.

One fan said: “It’s always going to be St Mirren so we’ll support them wherever they go, whether it’s in Scotland, abroad, it doesn’t matter where they go.”

Another supporter added: “It’s the start of a new era for St Mirren.”

Just before the 12.30 kick-off, a sell-out crowd packed into the new arena as First Minister Alex Salmond was invited onto the pitch by Buddies chairman Stewart Gilmour to declare the Greenhill ground officially open.

But some section of the support failed to follow the script as they greeted the SNP leader with a swathe of boos. Mr Gilmour tried to make light of the snub by saying “I hope these boos are for the directors.”

The Buddies were unable to secure all three points in the first ever game at St Mirren Park against Kilmarnock, but manager Gus MacPherson wasn’t too despondent.

He said: “We had the better of the chances. If we’d taken them we may have won the game. But when you score late on after being 1-0 down for a long period, you take the point.”

With a strong SPL league position, cleared of debt, the future looks bright for the Buddies.