'I couldn’t stop laughing, I was a bit giddy' - Falkirk legend Simon Stainrod recounts scoring wonder goal from halfway line against St Johnstone
The 63-year-old ex-striker, who was guest of honour at Saturday’s Falkirk v Dunfermline Athletic League One encounter, memorably scored from the halfway line during a 3-2 Bairns Premier Division win at St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park on September 21, 1991.
Sheffield-born former Sheffield United, Oldham Athletic, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Stoke City star Stainrod, who after his time at Falkirk also played for and managed fellow Scottish outfits Dundee and Ayr United, told the Falkirk Herald: “My memories of it are that I was very annoyed with the referee for giving a penalty to St Johnstone which was never a penalty and so I gave him dog’s abuse coming back to the halfway line to take the kick-off to restart the game.
"Kevin McAllister was stood on the ball and if I’d had a chance in the game I would have had a shot from anywhere anyway because I had noticed their goalkeeper – Lindsay Hamilton - stood a long way out of his goals. He seemed to want to encourage his defenders from outside his box.
"I said to Kevin: ‘Just touch it’ and he looked at me like I was a little bit mad thinking: ‘What are you going to do?’
"I said: ‘Just touch it’. So he did, I hit it and I didn’t have any other consideration other than: ‘This is going in’.
"On its way I thought it was going to hit the bar and I was ducking down, trying to force the ball down from a distance.
"It did just dip under the bar at the right time to put us 3-1 up.
"It was more or less on half-time. Let’s say there were a couple of minutes left until half-time, I couldn’t stop laughing, I was a bit giddy.
"Because when something comes off like that, you thought it would be on the TV that night and all my mates down in England would see it. But it didn’t get seen on TV.
"Lindsay Hamilton was interviewed after the game and he said my goal was just a stroke of luck.
"It was a long way from being lucky. It annoyed me a bit that he said that.
"Really he should have said it was a great strike, he was a bit casual being so far out of his box, these things happen, but he said it was lucky.
"We were playing them quite soon after that at Brockville and the press asked me if I was going to score from the halfway line again.
"I said: ‘No, but I am going to score and it is going to be special and it’s not going to be lucky.
"So I don’t know how long it was into the game – maybe 20 minutes into it – we got a corner.
"And I said to the linesman stood at the side of me: ‘Watch this, this is going straight in the top corner’.
"And I put it straight in the top corner. And I was waving to him (Hamilton) while the ball was on its way!”
When asked if his goal at Perth was the best of his 20-year playing career, Stainrod stressed that it was one of a few great ones he netted.
"It would have to be one of the best goals I’ve scored but I have had a few worldies,” he added.
“I like the ones that are not just about technique and power, I like the ones that are a bit more subtle.
"The best goal I ever scored was an overhead kick against Cardiff City. If it had been on TV you’d still be seeing it now.
"Wayne Rooney’s scored a couple like that, Ronaldo’s scored more than one like that but this one was on the same level if not better."
In addition to his duties at the Falkirk Stadium for Saturday’s derby against the Pars which Dunfermline won 1-0, Stainrod also spoke to Bairns fans that night at a special three-hour ‘An Evening With Simon Stainrod’ event at Macdonald Inchyra Hotel and Spa.
Although the ex-striker – who now lives in south France – played for several teams, Falkirk will always have a special place in his heart.
"Falkirk was just outrageously special, particularly the first season,” he said. “They were struggling in the first division, they were never going to get promoted and Jim Jefferies turned up as a manager and got some order in the place. He did a marvellous job.
"David Holmes made sure that things were right off the field and I got three Player of the Year trophies from the press, the players and the public.
"I enjoyed myself immensely.
"The reception I got at the Falkirk dinner was incredible when you consider that I played for them over 30 years ago.
"Over 200 people turned up just to listen to me and it’s just outrageous really. I would never have thought that I would be held in such high esteem, even though they do call me God!
"We must have taken 200 photographs before we kicked off and everybody was just so nice.
"It brings a tear to my eye to be thought of in such high esteem after all this time.
"I’m really glad that I did this thing because it gave the fans I really meant something to the opportunity to be there.
"I must have done something right. I don’t think if I was a centre half or a full back that people would be turning up to see me.
"It’s the maverick players that people like and from being a kid that’s what I was like.”
When asked what modern-day player he enjoys watching, Stainrod had no hesitation in naming Brazilian great Neymar who stars for Paris Saint-Germain.
"I hope Brazil win the World Cup,” he said. “And I hope Neymar is the man of the tournament.
"He tries things that come off and make a difference to the score of a game or to his team.
"When it’s 0-0 he does stuff that no-one else does that provokes the opposition into making stupid errors.”
Although Stainrod is now known for working as a football agent, he explained: “I’m licensed and what have you, but I’m not your normal football agent.
"I don’t look after players, I put deals together for players to go from France to other countries.
"I’ve worked with some of the top ones and I helped Man City achieve their goal of buying a French club (Troyes). I spent 18 months working on a project to do that on a consultancy basis.”