St Johnstone complete historic cup double with victory over Hibernian

The League Cup holders won the Scottish Cup final at Hampden.

St Johnstone complete historic cup double with victory over Hibernian SNS Group

Shaun Rooney was again the hero as St Johnstone beat Hibernian 1-0 in the Scottish Cup final to secure an extraordinary cup double.

The 24-year-old wing-back scored the only goal in the Betfred Cup final win over Livingston at Hampden Park in February and made the difference against Hibs at the national stadium to confirm the greatest season in the Perth club’s history.

Rooney’s header after 31 minutes proved to be crucial, with Hibs keeper Matt Macey’s penalty save from Glenn Middleton with 15 minutes remaining ultimately rendered academic.

St Johnstone, founded in 1884, won the Scottish Cup for the first time in 2014 – their first major honour – and now have won two in the last three months.

Callum Davidson’s side are the first team outside the Old Firm to land the two major cup trophies in Scotland since Aberdeen in 1989/90 and have a place in Europe to boot.

Saints had been bedevilled by Covid-19 issues in recent weeks but Davidson had a full squad available with on-loan winger Middleton, hero of the semi-final win over St Mirren after coming off the bench, in the starting line-up.

Zander Clark, Liam Gordon, Ali McCann, Craig Bryson and Chris Kane were reinstated.

Attackers Martin Boyle, Kevin Nisbet and Christian Doidge, who had scored in every round, were among eight regulars who returned to the Hibs line-up after being left out against Celtic last week and they had the early pressure with Boyle having a fresh air swipe at a Jackson Irvine cross.

Saints slowly got a foothold in the game and a pass from Bryson found Kane just inside the Hibs box but the ball would not come down quickly enough and he fired over the bar.

In the 15th minute a darting solo run by Middleton ended with a shot deflecting off back-tracking midfielder Alex Gogic and comfortably saved by Macey.

Irvine then had a great chance in the 27th minute when the ball broke to him after midfielder Joe Newell tried to burst through the Perth rearguard but keeper Clark’s left foot blocked the shot from 12 yards.

Then St Johnstone took the lead with a straightforward goal, following good work by former Hibs players Callum Booth and midfielder David Wotherspoon down the left-hand flank.

When the Canada international swung a cross to the back post, Rooney leapt highest inside the six-yard box to power a header past Macey.

Newell fizzed a shot from the edge of the box over the bar in retaliation moments later but St Johnstone were buoyed.

Hibs came back out for the second-half fired up and just a minute later Nisbet fired an angle-drive wide of the far post.

Moments later, Gogic’s header from a Irvine cross was blocked by Perth defender Jamie McCart’s foot and after St Johnstone counter-attacked with pace, the supporting Rooney’s goal-bound shot from a loose ball came off Newell for a corner which was defended.

Hibs were putting everything into getting back on level terms but there was always the sense that St Johnstone could snatch a second.

That almost arrived in the 70th minute when Middleton drove forward on the break, then gathered the loose ball after his attempted pass to Kane broke kindly to him but his left-footed drive was saved by Macey.

Saints had the chance to double their lead from the spot after Hibs defender Paul McGinn’s tackle on Kane was deemed a penalty by referee Nick Walsh.

Macey dived to his left to brilliantly save Middleton’s spot-kick then blocked Kane’s effort from the rebound, giving the Leith side a lifeline.

Clark saved a Porteous header from a free-kick with 10 minutes remaining but Hibs could not take advantage of their penalty let-off and St Johnstone held out relatively comfortably to make history. 

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