Martin McFarlane

I'm a lifelong St Johnstone fan currently living in a small town called Mahomet in central Illinois in the USA. I've lived in the States since 2002 after moving here to marry an American girl I met at university, but my connection with St Johnstone goes back much further. My father (a current season ticket holder) took me to my first game for my 9th birthday in January 1990. I know this is later than many people go to their first game, but he wanted to wait until he knew I was at an age where I would have the attention span and interest to sit and watch the whole game. And for my first game, the legendary Roddy Grant saw fit to score a hat trick as we beat Ayr 4-0. From that point on, I was a Saints fan for life. My favourite memories are probably the same as many fans of my generation- I was in the East Stand for our 7-2 win over Dundee, and for the 3-2 win over East Fife that clinched the First Division later in 1997. I was at Celtic Park for our narrow 2-1 defeat to Rangers in the 1998-99 League Cup final, and I was at McDiarmid for both our European games versus Vassa and Monaco the following year. But my favourite moment was probably a few months before, when Paul Kane gave us the 1-0 win over Dundee that put us in Europe. I remember having a radio with me and giving updates to everyone around me in the East Stand on the Rangers v Kilmarnock game, as we needed Killie to drop points. I don't think I've celebrated a goal in person more than Kane's strike.

But since 2002, I've hardly been able to attend any games. The last game I got to see in person was a 3-0 win at Dunfermline a few years ago when I was back for Christmas. I still come back to visit my family, but often in the summer when no games are on (like this past summer). Finances prohibited me seeing our greatest triumph, the Scottish Cup win, in person, yet I was there in spirit after finding an internet stream and projecting it large onto my living room wall! Coverage of the Scottish game is poor over here, though there is an occasional game on Fox Sports 2 or on a pay per view site called foxsoccer2go, and I happily pay $20 a time to see Saints if they ever appear.

I've attached a photo of the office I work for all wearing some of my St Johnstone shirts during our last football tournament, as I try to spread word of the mighty Saints. Greetings from Illinois, and COYS!