Football: Saints to make most of nine lives, says manager

Football: Saints to make most of nine lives, says manager

GLASGOW - St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright says there is a belief amongst his squad that this could be his side's year after they made history by booking a first ever Scottish Cup final appearance.

The Saint boss watched as his side completed a superb second half comeback as they came from a goal down at half-time to defeat Aberdeen 2-1 in their semi-final at Ibrox.

It is ninth time lucky for the Saints, who had previously appeared in eight Scottish Cup semi-finals without ever making a final, and ends the Dons hopes of making it a cup double this season after claiming the League Cup in March.

"To come from a goal behind against a quality side like Aberdeen shows the measure of their performance," said Wright, whose side will take on Dundee United in May's final.

"It means a lot to the club and the supporters. They've had so many semi-finals and so many disappointments. Within the squad Dave Mackay, Steven Anderson and Chris Millar have had the disappointment of going into semi-finals and losing them and this means a lot. I don't think anyone could begrudge us the victory.

"It's something we've never achieved before but I just feel there is a belief about the place and about the team and the squad that maybe this year could be our year.

"We've had three games against Dundee United and they gave us a bit of a doing up at their place and we did the same at our place so it will be a tight game.

"I do think that on any given day we can beat anybody so we will look forward to the final. It's a few weeks away and we'll deal with that when it comes around." At Ibrox, the Dons took a 16th minute lead through Niall McGinn who applied a cool finish to a free-flowing move that cut right through the St Johnstone defence.

However, Saints came out flying in the second half and grabbed a deserved equaliser through Scotland under-21 striker Stevie May in the 61st minute.

Great team performance

May was denied a second by goalkeeper Jamie Langfield before Barry Robson and McGinn missed good headed opportunities for Aberdeen.

With time running out May scored a superb solo second in the 84th minute as Saints gained revenge for their League Cup semi-final defeat to the Dons.

Wright was full of praise for May but felt it had been a solid team performance.

"We moved Stevie out to the left in the second half as they had slightly changed their shape so we went 4-3-3," Wright explained "It's something we thought about before because he tends to drift into those areas anyway. He loves coming in off the line and shooting. The first goal has come from a corner and the second ball but the second goal was typical of what he does coming in from the wide areas and it was a great finish.

"Stevie will rightly get the headlines because of the two goals but it was a great team performance.

"You can't turn up and play against Aberdeen and only have five or six do well. I think everyone of them was excellent and I think that's how we got the result." Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes refused to criticise his players.

"I've no complaints as I think St Johnstone worked extremely hard to get that result today," McInnes said.

"I thought it was a real opportunity for us as we had one cup in the back and we wanted this one too and we're fighting to get the club back into Europe as well.

"The players are totally devoid of criticism for me as they've been absolutely fantastic and I just hope the disappointment of today will help us going forward."

More about

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.