"This means everything," said manager Tommy Wright after Saint Johnstone FC won the Scottish Cup for the first time with a 2-0 victory against Dundee United FC.
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Saint Johnstone FC have claimed the Scottish Cup for the first time in their 130-year history with a 2-0 victory against Dundee United FC at Celtic Park.
Fittingly, the opening goal of St Johnstone's cup final debut was scored by Steven Anderson – the defender has spent ten years at the Saints after being released as youth by United. Anderson headed in in first-half stoppage time, and Steven MacLean added another, six minutes from the end, to settle an exciting contest.
The teams traded chances during a frenetic first half. United goalkeeper Radosław Cierzniak was at full stretch to tip over James Dunne's stinging volley and Ryan Dow's clever flick from Andy Robertson's cross beat St Johnstone No1 Alan Mannus but came back off the post. The sides seemed inseparable, but the Saints won a corner during the solitary minute of added time, and Anderson rose above Keith Watson at the back post to head in.
A wonderful Nadir Çiftçi free-kick cracked against the crossbar as United sought a leveller early in the second half, and Tommy Wright's charges had their backs to the wall for long periods. David Wotherspoon was denied by Cierzniak after a fine solo run but from United's counter, Mannus needed to turn Robertson's drive round a post. The Saints custodian's impressive speed and anticipation then helped him save from Dow and Keith Watson in the same move.
St Johnstone's defensive endeavour was rewarded late on. MacLean received his share of good fortune when a ricochet put him one-on-one with Cierzniak, and the frontman beat the unfortunate Mannus at the second attempt to clinch the Saints' first major piece of silverware.
"This means everything," said manager Wright. "It is the pinnacle of my career to win Scottish Cup, but more importantly it means a lot more for a lot more people. Words cannot describe how I feel about it all because I know how special this is for so many people.
"We had the potential to be a good cup side and that has proved to be the case. There was always a belief that this could be our year. We had to play well, Lady Luck had to be on our side but with those things and the belief we had, there was a recipe for success."