This interview appeared in the match programme for the game against Stirling Albion on 26th January 2008.
Bar any last-minute hitches it is congratulations today to Alan Main who will make his 300th appearance for Saints in goal today.
Signed by Paul Sturrock from Dundee United in January 1995 he made his debut in a 2 - 0 Saints win at Airdrie and during his first spell at McDiarmid Park he went on to make 273 first team appearances.
Highlights must be when Saints finished third in the Premier League in 1998/99, playing in the League Cup final, and of course the following season when he appeared in all four UEFA cup matches putting in an absolutely brilliant display in Monaco.
In 2003 Alan left for Livingston and then moved to Gretna before Owen Coyle brought him back to McDiarmid Park last year. He turned in another fine display as Saints defeated Dunfermline 3 - 2 in this season's Challenge Cup Final at Dens Park.
Alan's appearances are made up of 254 League matches, 18 Scottish Cup, 14 League Cup, 9 Challenge Cup and 4 UEFA Cup. The clean sheet at Dunfermline last Saturday was his 102 in a Saints jersey and, of course, he holds the record of consecutive clean sheets when he managed to keep our opponents out in 6 successive matches during the 1996/97 promotion winning season.
His fine goalkeeping was finally recognised by Craig Brown in 1998 when he made a substitute appearance for Scotland B against Norway at Tynecastle.
Speaking to the Saints Match Day programme earlier this week Alan said, “I’m really pleased to be reaching this milestone. I knew that I had played over 250 matches for Saints because the club were kind enough to make a presentation to mark that event but I hadn’t realised until a few days ago that I would be hitting the 300 today.”
Inevitably in such discussions, talk turned to what he would consider to be highlights within those matches and without hesitation Alan is quick to identify the match which has meant most to him.
He says, “The 1-0 win over Dundee back in 1999 which secured third place in the SPL for us meant such a lot to me. It was the culmination of a great season for us and for a club like St Johnstone to finish in third place in the SPL was a fantastic achievement.
“The game itself could have gone either way and I do recall making one important save to keep Dundee out and then, of course, Paul Kane popped up with that all-important winner and it was just a great feeling. The fact that it was against Dundee meant a lot as well – as a former Dundee United goalie it was always nice to beat Dundee and I was and am very much aware of how much it means to the Perth fans to put one over on the dark blues.”
Of course, that third-place finish gave Saints entry into the following season’s UEFA Cup and although Alan maintains that the Dundee game remains his personal favourite, he has fond memories of the games against VPS Vaasa and AS Monaco.
“They were very different sides in terms of quality and it would have been disappointing if we had failed to get past Vaasa. However, we managed that and were rewarded with the game against Monaco which was just great for everyone involved with the club.
“Personally, it was good to come up against Fabien Barthez and my performances in those games gave me some good publicity which is always nice. We lost three goals in the first leg but they were all late on and I do wonder what might have happened if we had held out for another ten minutes or so. The game at McDiarmid was a great occasion and hugely enjoyable match.”
The Club may not be playing at that same level during this, his second spell with Saints, but Alan remains happy and upbeat about this season.
“There were a lot of positive things to come out of the Paul Sturrock/Sandy Clark era but there are a lot of reasons to be positive about the club at the moment. We have won a cup this season which is something we didn’t achieve during my first time here and we are on a good run in the league so there is plenty to be optimistic about.
“I’m looking forward to marking this appearance milestone against Stirling Albion and will continue to do all I can for the club in the months ahead.”
TOP SIX APPEARANCE MAKERS
Drew Rutherford 345 games
Charlie McFadyen 336 games
Willie Coburn 324 games
Bill McCarry 305 games
Alan Main 300 games
Doug Barron 298 games
TOP GOALKEEPER APPEARANCES
Alan Main 300 games
Jimmy Donaldson 266 games
Derek Robertson 265 games
Bob Wylie 250 games
Billy Taylor 230 games
Sandy McLaren 224 games
John Balavage 212 games