Jim Morton

Saints legend Jim Morton, who played with the club between 1979 and 1986, returned to Perth in December for the launch of ‘Manifest Destiny: the official history of St. Johnstone FC’.

The talismanic player was at St. Johnstone longer than any other club in his playing career and is where he feels most connected with, he told Martin Hawkins.

Morton, who is widely believed to be one of the best midfielders to ever play for St. Johnstone, said, “I wish to thank Bryan Doyle for inviting me along to the launch tonight of Manifest Destiny. Having received the phone call from Brian I thought it was time to return to Scotland as it would be a good chance to catch up with a few familiar faces”. This was evident as Jim stated “I’ve already met Bruce McAlpine (doorman) and Jim Masson (journalist) as I got to McDiarmid Park and I’ve just had a chat with Ian Gibson and Atholl Henderson and while it had been nearly 30 years since we last spoke face to face they had both chatted like it was yesterday.” Jim then said “I am looking forward to meeting many of the fans who I still keep in contact with on Twitter.“

Jim then went on to talk about his time at St Johnstone saying, “I had some fantastic times with the club and while it ended with the club at a low before I headed to Australia in the spring of 1986, the club has moved on so much since my departure and the set up is like night and day with the club now going from strength to strength.”

Jim was asked about his 3 stand out games for Saints and he said, “the Scottish cup 4th round game with Rangers in 1981 which finished 3-3, and it was a travesty that we never won that game!”. His second choice was the Celtic League Cup tie under the Muirton Park floodlights when Ally McCoist scored both goals in a 2-0 win. Jim stated, “It was great to play in front of a packed Muirton Park in both of those games”. He then said, “While there are many other good games, a hat-trick in a game against Motherwell really stands out in my mind.\"

Jim then went on to talk about his time after Saints, saying, “The move to Australia came about through John Sime, who had played with me at Forfar, who was a coach with Brisbane Lions. The deal was agreed and I was free to travel as soon as it was mathematically impossible for Saints to be promoted from the old Second Division. I felt the league in Australia was not as professional as it had been in Scotland but the experience of travelling to Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney every second week from Brisbane was fantastic and it’s something I am glad I did, something I had thought about from the age of 21.\"

Following his return to Scotland he had a brief spell with Arbroath and did some coaching, but his profession in banking took up more of his time. Jim is still involved in financial services to this day in the Manchester area, attending football matches when on a work event to them

Jim said “A few people have said I should have gone into management or coaching, but I’m happy with my job. I attended the odd game at Hull City but would still rather be playing than watching so most of my football is watched via the TV.”

Jim then focused on the Scottish Cup Final in 2014, which he watched from his living room in Hull.,“I was delighted to see Saints win the cup and hope this can be a springboard for more success in the coming years. This is a club on the way up, a far cry from the end of my time in Perth.”

John Lambie

John Lambie, who played with the Saints during the legendary Willie Ormond era, also attended the book launch and was interviewed at the end of the night.

The former defender, who played 153 times for St. Johnstone, said, “I was delighted to attend the event tonight because I loved my time with Saints, and I loved playing for Willie Ormond. Those are the reasons why I had travelled up to Fife at the weekend to make sure I got along to tonight’s event.”

When asked for his best memories at the club he said, “Obviously the League Cup Final when we lost 1-0 to Celtic and the European nights of 1971.” John went on to state, “I never played in a losing team in Europe as I was part of the team that defeated SV Hamburg and then Vasas Budapest but was suspended for the last 16 tie with Zeljeznicar Sarajevo and this is something I am very proud of.\"

John Lambie, like so many other former players, was over the moon to see the Perth side finally pick up some major silverware, “I was delighted to see Saints win the Scottish Cup in 2014, something I thought would never happen due to the dominance of the Old Firm. A lot of the credit for this needs to go to manager Tommy Wright who is doing one hell of a job, and whose results are right up there with Willie Ormond team in my mind.”

When asked about Willie Ormond, John said, \"Willie was not a great tactician, what he was good at was picking up players on the cheap and then making them into very good players. His team talk normally ended with him saying 'I want you to roll up the sleeves and get stuck into them!'”

interviews by Martin Hawkins

Jim Morton and John Lambie were attending an event to promote ‘Manifest Destiny’ which can be bought from the Saints Online Shop <a href=\"HERE">http://saintsonlineshop.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&path=67_90&product_id=130\">HERE