St Johnstone were admitted into the Scottish Football League when the Second Division was expanded in 1912. Only three seasons later, the Second Division was suspended, being replaced by two regional leagues. At this stage, St Johnstone suspended operations for several seasons before joining the Eastern League in 1919. By 1920, St Johnstone had joined the Central League, in which clubs were permitted to pay their players higher wages than were permitted in the SFL. The draw of these Central League clubs was so great that the SFL, seeking to stifle their competitors, incorporated this Central League into a newly-formed Second Division.
St Johnstone became Second Division champions for the first time at the end of the 1923/24 season. The club returned to the Second Division on several more occasions, gaining promotion to the top tier most recently in the 2008/09 season. The club’s highest honour came in the 2013/14 season, when they beat Dundee United 2-0 at Celtic Park.
One of the biggest inspirations for my initial 2013 Scottish football badge redesigns was St Johnstone’s badge. I always found the concept strong, being derived from the historic Perth coat of arms. The central shield is born by a double-headed eagle (recalling an important Roman settlement called ‘Bertha’ near Perth). The shield features the Agnus Dei (‘Lamb of God’), which represents St John the Baptist, the patron saint of Perth. This symbolism also informs the club’s name, as at one point, Perth was often referred to as ‘St John’s Toun’, or ‘St Johnstone’.
While I appreciate the historic symbolism of the current badge, I find the execution displeasing. With my redesign, I sought to retain the essential iconography of the current badge, but to present it with greater unity and clarity. Below is the redesign I published on 20 May 2013:
I stand by my original rebranding, but for this 2018 update, I have made a few adjustments, including a revamp and enlarging of the central shield:
As far as the kits go, I went with a classic solid blue home shirt (complete with a 1970s-styled collar). For the away shirt, I decided to go with a vibrant yellow, and to break the field up with minimalist triangles that both hint at an argyle pattern while also representing the mountainous Highlands (as Perth is positioned near the Highland Boundary Fault and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’).
As ever, I am indebted to Dave at Historical Football Kits for some of the historical information used above.