St Johnstone 2 Dundee United 0 match report: Steven MacLean and Steven Anderson set up Saints for their first major trophy

St Johnstone rode their luck at times but emerge victorious in their first ever appearance in the Scottish Cup final

Celtic Park

After waiting for 130 years, it was perhaps fitting that St Johnstone were careful and measured in the way that they won the Scottish Cup. This was a triumph built on a gritty determination and even if moments of brilliant accomplishment were lacking, the sentimentality of the occasion was still stirring.

St Johnstone – the club that was founded in 1884 – had never previously won a major trophy, and the amount of defeats in semi-finals had come to define them as a club that wasn’t capable of achieving glory. That notion will now seem quaint to the 15,000 fans who travelled 60 miles down from Perth and revelled to see history being made.

Joy could be unconfined, because there was no sense of relief. The performance merited the victory, not least because the industry and organisation stifled the best of United’s players. In that sense, no St Johnstone fan would have quibbled when their favourite, Stevie May, was not among the goalscorers, but instead the grizzled centre- back Steven Anderson broke  the deadlock with a header,  then Steven MacLean sealed  the result with only five minutes left.

The latter’s goal, after he won the ball from the United goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak with a sliding challenge, prompted the St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright to start running down the touchline in glee, before he suddenly remembered which set of supporters he was running towards.

“It was just a spur of the moment,” said Wright. “I started running and then I realised: ‘God, the Dundee United fans are down there’. Cup finals are exciting  and the managers get caught up in that.

“It means everything, it’s the pinnacle of my career. More importantly, it means a lot more to a lot more people, the supporters, the players, the staff. I know it’s so special for so many people.”

The goalscorers are both players who have performed at peripheral clubs in their careers, although MacLean started out at Rangers as a youth. It is patronising to describe players as journeymen, but St Johnstone’s budget precludes star signings.

Dundee United were expected to boast the individual match-winners, since a number of their exciting young attackers have caught the attention this season. But even when Nadir Ciftci curled a deft free-kick on target, the ball struck the underside of the bar and the St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus then saved it.

United were frustrated throughout, as much by their own inhibitions. United’s Ryan Dow saw a flick bounce off the post in the first-half, but on the cusp of half-time it was St Johnstone who scored, when Anderson rose to head into the net from a corner kick. Moments of aggression flared in the second half, as both sets of players became fraught, then May was rash as he pushed the ball over the goal-line with his hand. The young striker was denied by the referee, but MacLean eventually settled the tie with five minutes remaining.

“It just wasn’t our day,” said the United manager Jackie McNamara. “We tried to break them down in the second half but it just wouldn’t go in for us.”

Line-ups:

St Johnstone (4-4-2): Mannus; Mackay, Anderson, Wright, Easton; Wotherspoon (McDonald, 85), Millar, Dunne, O’Halloran (Croft, 72); MacLean, May.

Dundee Utd (4-2-3-1): Cierzniak; Watson, Dillon, Gunning, Robertson; Paton (Graham, 77), Rankin; Dow, Armstrong, Mackay-Steven (Gauld, 63); Ciftci.

Referee: Craig Thomson (Edinburgh).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test