McDiarmid Park: St Johnstone

Crieff Road, Perth, Perthshire, PH1 2SJ, Scotland
By en:User:Xizor75 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

During the early existence of St. Johnstone Football Club their matches were played at the Recreation Grounds, land next to the South Inch that was was a large public park on the bank of the River Tay. Its proximity to the river meant it flooded regularly, however, so the team moved to a new ground on the other side of the Perth area called Muirton Park. There the club remained for more than half a century until the ground fell into disrepair during the 1980s. Sadly the club could not afford to repair their old haunt and the future of St. Johnstone looked dire.

In what would be an incredibly fortunate twist of fate, the supermarket giant Asda decided it wanted to purchase the Muirton Park land and in return they would move the club to a new, purpose-built ground on the West of the city. A farmer, Bruce McDiarmid, gave up sixteen acres of land for the stadium to built on, which had an approximate cost of £400,000. He wouldn’t take any money for it, but was eventually persuaded to accept a 20% stake in club as well as the title of Honorary President. The ground was also named after him. What a guy.

Stats

McDiarmid Park Stats
Year Opened1989
Capacity10,696
Average Attendance4,641
Record Attendance10,696 (St. Johnstone v Rangers (1991))
Pitch Size105 x 68 (7140)
OwnerSt Johnstone F.C.
Clubs HostedSt Johnstone F.C.
First FixtureSt. Johnstone v Clydebank (19/08/1989)
St. Johnstone Stats
Year Founded1884
NicknameThe Saints, Perth Saints, The Sainties
Club MascotSuper Saint
RivalsDundee, Dundee United
Previous StadiumsRecreation Grounds, Muirton Park
KitBlue & White (Home) / Yellow & Blue (Away)
Training GroundMcDiarmid Park Training Ground
Shirt SponsorAllan Storrar Cars
Team OwnerGeoff Brown
Record GoalscorerJohn Brogan (140)
Record AppearancesSteven Anderson (362)

McDiarmid Park Photos

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McDiarmid Park Seating Plan & Where to Sit

McDiarmid Park was the first all-seater stadium built in the UK following the Hillsborough Disaster and all four of the stands in the ground are single-tier. The North Stand is behind one of the goals and usually houses the away supporters, whilst the stand opposite it is The Ormond Family Stand. The East Stand runs along the edge of the pitch, as does The West Stand, but this is considered to be the main stand in the stadium as it houses the dugouts and the players’ tunnel.

St. Johnstone Ticket Prices

At first glance it might seem as though the ticketing scheme that St. Johnstone employ is easy to understand. Adult tickets range depending on where you’d like to sit, with concessions paying a little less. The confusion starts to come about if you want to see a game that is likely to be popular, with the club reserving the right to charge higher prices for those matches but not really saying what those higher prices will be. Although we can't be certain, the likelihood is that’ll you be looking at a few pounds more for a ticket for games against the likes of Celtic, Rangers and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Otherwise, ticket prices are listed below with the West Stand being pricier:

  • Adults: 23.00 - 24.00
  • Concessions: £13.00 - £15.00

How To Get St. Johnstone Tickets

You can get tickets in person from the ticket office or over the phone.

Where to Buy

Getting To McDiarmid Park

Swap Start/End

Perth is in the Lowlands of Scotland, almost directly above Edinburgh. It’s not easy to get to, but it’s not as haard as some other places either:

Train - Getting the train from London to Perth will take about six hours with a change in Edinburgh. Once you arrive you’ll be about 45 minutes walk from the stadium, so a bus or taxi might be preferable.

Bus - Bus numbers 1 and 2 both run from the city centre to outside the ground, so they might be the way to go.

Car - From Glasgow and Inverness you’ll want to take the A9, whilst Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen will all be bettered served by taking the A90 and the M90. Whichever way you travel, once you get to Perth keep your eye out for signs to the stadium.

By Air - Dundee Airport is the best for Perth, seeing as it’s about twenty minutes drive away. Glasgow and Edinburgh can both be used if needs be, though.

Taxi - It will take about ten minutes in a cab from Perth Railway Station to the ground, costing you about £10 for the privilege.

Parking Near McDiarmid Park

There are enough parking spaces for 1000 cars, so you’re unlikely to struggle to find a space on a match day. The club charges £5 per car.

Useful Resources

McDiarmid Park Hotels

Perth is not one of the more glamorous locations in Scotland, but it’s something of an oft-ignored treasure. Here are some of the best hotels you might want to stay in:

The Fitzroy - £55+

8 Western Avenue, Perth, PH1 1NY
This fun little B&B is only twenty minutes walk from McDiarmid Park and has just five rooms. There’s a full breakfast included in the price of your room as well as free parking and free Wi-Fi. More details.

Huntingtower Hotel - £65+

Crieff Road, Perth, PH1 3JT
Just fifteen minutes walk from the ground is this delightful looking hotel with nice grounds. There’s a restaurant, a bar, a garden and meeting rooms. There’s also free Wi-Fi and free parking. More details.

Holiday Inn Express Perth - £75+

200 Dunkeld Road, Perth, PH1 3AQ
Some people prefer chain hotels to the unknown and if you’re one of those people then this place could be for you. There’s a garden, a conference space, a business centre, a restaurant, a bar and a free hot and cold buffet for breakfast. There’s also free Wi-Fi and, of course, free parking. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near McDiarmid Park

Just as with the hotels, there are more than a few good places to go for a pre-match pint in Perth. Here are some of our best choices:

208 Public House

208 Crieff Road, Perth, PH1 2PE (+44 1738 628936)
208 is arguably the closest pub to the ground. You can get a bite to eat, have a decent pint or two and watch live sport before heading to watch the game. It’s not the most welcoming of places if you’ve got kids or what have you, but it’s popular with both sets of fans.

The Glover Arms

Crieff Road, Huntingtower Park, Perth, PH1 3JJ (+44 1738 624888)
A much more pleasant experience if you’ve got young ones is The Glover Arms. It’s still close enough to the ground to be able to walk there even after a couple of pints, but it has a country pub charm to it. There’s a tasty menu, decent cask ales and a fine wine or two on offer.

The Sandeman

Sandeman Building, 14-16 Kinnoull Street, Perth, PH1 5EZ (+44 1738 443944)
Named after the building in which it’s located, The Sandeman promises a good, cheap menu, plenty of drinking options and a welcoming atmosphere. There’s live sport on offer too, but do be aware that’s located in central Perth so you’ll have a bit of a journey on to get to the ground for kick-off.

Facilities

McDiarmid Park has everything you’d expect from a modern day football ground, although everything is over twenty years old now, so it is getting a little tired. That said, you’ll still be able to buy a drink or a bite to eat before the match and at half-time.

Prices

  • Programme: 2.00
  • Pie: 2.10
  • Cup of tea: 2.00

Hospitality

By grassrootsgroundswell (St. Johnstone FC) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

McDiarmid Park offers three main hospitality packages. The Premier Hospitality involves a champagne reception, a five-course meal including liqueurs, half-time buffet, padded seats and free drinks. The Executive Suite drops it down to a four-course meal but is otherwise pretty much the same, whilst The Campbell Suite is a bit more relaxed. No meal or free bar here, just a nice environment in which to relax before, during and after the game as well as a buffet and refreshments at half-time along with a pay bar facility.

Private Hire

There are fully equipped conference suites at McDiarmid Park, making it the ideal location for any business meeting or event you might be planning. There’s also a restaurant that can be hired out for parties. The club are happy to accommodate virtually any event that you might want them to host, from birthday parties and school reunions through to weddings or funeral receptions. Contact St. Johnstone directly if you’d like to know more, just be aware that the capacity is capped at 80 people.

Stadium Tours & Museum

As is the case with most of the smaller grounds in Scotland, tours aren’t available for McDiarmid Park. If this changes, or the club suddenly builds a museum, we promise we’ll let you know.

About St. Johnstone

St Johnstone win the Scottish Cup Final in 2014 - By Joris van de Wier (Scottish Cup Final2 55) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The official records show that St. Johnstone Football Club was formed in 1884 when members of a nearby cricket team met in a public park and began kicking a ball around to occupy themselves during the off-season. The truth, however, is that no official meeting regarding this ‘spin-off’ from the cricket club occurred until the following year. Football was becoming more and more popular at the time, with Perth boasting several teams such as Fair City Athletic, Caledonian and Erin Rovers.

St. Johnstone, taking its name from the Middle Ages name of the area, which was St. John’s Toun because of the church that was dedicated to St. John the Baptist, became the most famous of the clubs in the area and the others slowly started to drop away. The Saints have had remarkably poor luck in cup competitions over the years, only managing to win the Scottish Consolation Cup prior to 2008. In that year they won the Scottish Challenge Cup and in 2014 they won their first major trophy when they defeated local rivals Dundee United to win the Scottish Cup for the first time.

McDiarmid Park History

By grassrootsgroundswell (St. Johnstone FC) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

McDiarmid Park was designed by Percy Johnson-Marshall and was built by Miller Construction, based on legislative advice which was soon out of date because of the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough Disaster. Lord Justice Taylor actually visited the stadium as part of his inquiry into what happened at Hillsborough in order to get an idea of how future grounds should be developed.

The first ever fixture at the new ground was played between St. Johnstone and Clydebank, with the home side winning 2-1. There was not much fanfare surrounding the game, however, as an agreement had been made for an ex-Saints player to bring his English side up to Scotland to officially open the stadium. Alex Ferguson was Manchester United manager at the time and Sir Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton both came up for the glamour-tie.

Future Developments

By en:User:Xizor75 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

There are suggestions that a new road may be built to link the centre of Perth with the nearby A9. If that happens then it’s possible that The North Stand will have to be demolished in order to accommodate said road. There are no immediate plans for that to happen, however.

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