As the decade drew to a close, professionalism,
which was legalised in England during the mid 1880's, began to have an impact on the Scottish game with many players heading
south. Saints first such loss was influential full back Tom Brandon, brother of John and Robert, who joined Blackburn
The final year of the decade saw honours shared in Paisley, with saints
winning the Charity Cup against Abercorn 5-4, but Abercorn beating Saints 6-1 in the Renfrewshire Cup.
England was again visited during the season when Saints played at Roker Park against a strong
Sunderland team. Despite going 1-0 down Saints, inspired by James Dunlop, won 2-1.Dunlop’s display, added
to his performances at home, were to gain international recognition and he, along with forward Andy
Brown, became the first St.Mirren players capped by Scotland when they played
against Wales at Abercorn's Underwood Park, Paisley on the 22nd March 1890. An
unusual event occurred during this season when Saints played Morton at Cappielow on the 11th March 1890.
The result was a 1-1 draw, but the significance of the match was that it was played at night with the
pitch illuminated by patent oil lamps! Who said floodlighting was a new invention?!