St Johnstone have secured a historic cup double, winning the Scottish Cup final with a 1-0 win over Hibs at Hampden Park.
Shaun Rooney scored his second cup final goal of the season with a first-half header. Hibs goalkeeper Matt Macey denied Glenn Middleton from the penalty spot but Saints held on to secure a first cup double for a team outside Glasgow since 1989-90, following their League Cup final win over Livingston in February.
Saints had been bottom of the Scottish Premiership earlier in the season under new manager Callum Davidson. They couldn’t have thought in their wildest dreams that they would be 1-0 up at half-time in the Scottish Cup final, on the cusp of a cup double, having already secured European football with a top six finish.
Rooney scored the winning goal in February’s League Cup final win and his head proved vital again. David Wotherspoon chopped inside and found Rooney at the back-post, towering over Josh Doig to guide the ball into the net.
It had been a tight first half with a few openings for both teams. Chris Kane blazed one over the bar for St Johnstone while Alex Gogic denied another Saints attack, a great tackle on Middleton inside the box. Jackson Irvine had a huge chance for Hibs at 0-0, finding himself free in the box but could only hit Zander Clark’s leg from close range.
That was costly as Saints scored shortly before half-time and started the second half strongly, Middleton leading a great break that Joe Newell had to stop, blocking a curling Rooney effort too. Winger Jamie Murphy was brought on for defensive midfielder Alex Gogic as Jack Ross sought a way to level terms for Hibs.
Aberdeen were the last team outside of Celtic and Rangers to a win a cup double in Scotland, over 30 years ago now. St Johnstone were closing in on achieving one of Scottish football’s great feats, but Hibs were throwing what they had at them.
Middleton and Wotherspoon were showing signs St Johnstone were more than capable of getting another one themselves. Macey made a humongous double save, Paul McGinn conceding a penalty after a Ryan Porteous error. Middleton’s spot kick was good but Macey got a great hand to it before denying Kane’s rebound.
Melker Hallberg had his header saves by Clark as Hibs scrambled for a leveler but it wasn’t to be as St Johnstone secured an unprecedented double. Here are three things we learned.
This writer is out of words for St Johnstone. They are the first team outside the Old Firm to do the cup double since Aberdeen in 1989-90, but this is so much different. After winning the League Cup, this is one of Scottish football’s biggest achievements.
Hard for Hibs
It’s been a great season for Hibs but they have again fallen at the national stadium. St Johnstone just about edged them out in a gritty affair and this will sting for some time. But when the dust settles, this season will be remembered as a successful one for Hibs.
Rooney rises again
The right-back absolutely loves Hampden Park. He scored in the League Cup semi-final and final, now netting in the Scottish Cup showpiece. He was second-choice to Danny McNamara earlier in the season, Rooney now a bonified Perth legend after two cup final winners. Unbelievable.
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