Peter MacDonald didn’t have much luck when it came to cup semi-finals – but he says that the current St Johnstone side can go on to reach the League Cup final.
The McDiarmid Park club face Hibs this weekend at Hampden as they look to reach a domestic showpiece. It’s a huge opportunity for the remaining sides, regulars at this stage in Aberdeen, Celtic, Rangers and Hearts all knocked out.
MacDonald spent 10 years at St Johnstone and featured in the 2007 League Cup semi-final defeat to Hibs, the former striker hoping his former employers can go one better: “It is a fantastic family club.
“The people about the place were excellent and it became a special place. After a period of time, it became like home, and it was natural that I stayed there. Winning promotion back to the Premiership topped things off. I had a fantastic 10 years there and still hold St Johnstone close to my heart, watching for their results, every week.
“They paid a lot of money for me. £125,000 is about £600,000 now so it was a lot of money. I know they watched me a lot but I didn’t think they would pay all that money for me. A cup run is 90 minutes and it’s how you perform on the day. In my time at St Johnstone, we did well at getting to semi-finals.
“I failed in five of them but I would say it was fairly successful before they won the Scottish Cup in 2014. Jack Ross has set up a good team at Hibs but I would like to think St Johnstone will put their best foot forward.
“It’s just unfortunate fans can’t be there but it will still be nerve-wracking. Some of these guys won’t have played in the semi-final but there’s still some guys from the Scottish Cup side. When you are on the pitch, the nerves go, and you still play to the best of your ability.”
The Saints, while slight underdogs against Hibs, have players like Chris Kane firing on all cylinders. MacDonald is backing St Johnstone to do the business: “It’ll be tough for St Johnstone but on the other hand I think it’ll be tough for Hibs as well.
“I think Callum Davidson will have a plan to nullify Martin Boyle, who I know well, with his pace. Chris Kane was always a good young player and he has added to his game, nothing better than adding goals. He works hard and has been there for a long time and he’s right to be in about it.
“It’s a team full of Peter Pan’s I think! But you need experience in the team as it gets your younger players thorough things, even if it’s just a shout. Hibs will be favourites but that will suit St Johnstone as they like being the underdog.
“If Liam Craig plays, I think he could be instrumental. Stevie May is a big-game player and then you have Kane, who will give his all. There will be a lot of big performances needed, then you have Zander Clark, who is unfortunate not to be in the Scotland squad. It’s a big ask for St Johnstone but I think they can do it.”
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