St Mirren 1-2 St Johnstone
Scottish Cup Semi-Final
Sunday, 9 May 2021
Hampden Park, Glasgow
St Johnstone's dream of securing a cup double drew one step closer after a dramatic semi-final victory over St Mirren.
A goal and an assist from second-half substitute Glenn Middleton proved to be decisive as Callum Davidson steered his side to another final in his first season in management.
After triumphing in dramatic penalty shootouts in the Quarter-Final, both sides had their sights set on a return to Hampden Park on May 22.
Hibernian started the Semi-Final weekend of the 2020/21 competition with an impressive 2-0 victory against Dundee United on Saturday.
As it happened
It was St Mirren who started strongest, enjoying good spells of possession in the opening 15 minutes and having a soft penalty claim rightly ignored by referee Willie Collum after the ball struck the hand of Jamie McCart from a fine Kristian Dennis volley.
That seemed to be the spark which ignited a response from St Johnstone, who took the game to their opponents for the remainder of the first half.
League Cup hero Sean Rooney forced a fine save from Jak Alnwick after the wing-back cut infield on to his weaker left foot and curled a long range effort towards goal, but the Buddies keeper denied the defender with a fine save, tipping the ball over the bar to keep the game goalless.
Rooney’s fellow wing-back Scott Booth then went close, similarly cutting on to his weaker side and firing a decent effort wide of the far post after a blocked shot fell in to the defenders path.
In a dominant 15 minute spell, the Perthshire side continued to knock on the door and Chris Kane, opening up on to his left foot, fired a thunderous effort narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box.
Down the other end, Jim Goodwin’s men looked certain to take the lead, but heroics from Zander Clark on the half hour mark denied the Paisley side in stunning style. It came from superb first time ball across goal from Dennis, picking out Lee Erwin lurking in the box only for the striker to fire at goal from close range and see his goal bound effort blocked by the lunging Clark.
It was the best opportunity of the half but the two sides went in to break with nothing separating them and a huge 45 minutes in front of them.
Another glorious chance landed at the feet of a player in black and white, this time it was substitute Collin Quaner who got on the end of an Ilkay Durmus cross but diverted the ball back across the face of goal and wide of the target.
Callum Davidson made his first change of the afternoon shortly after the hour mark, introducing Glenn Middleton in place of Guy Melamed. It proved to be the change which decided the Hampden clash.
Just under ten minutes after stepping off the bench, Middleton would score one and assist one in dramatic fashion.
Collecting the ball wide on the left, the Rangers loanee fired a low ball in to a dangerous area and in to the path of the arriving Chris Kane, who slid in and diverted the ball in to the bottom right corner after 72 minutes.
Two minutes later, Middleton scored one for himself and it was a moment of Scottish Cup magic. More than 25-yards out, standing over a free-kick on the right, the 21-year-old struck a ferocious effort over the wall and beyond the helpless Alnwick, who didn't even move.
St Mirren weren't finished yet, with a wonderful delivery from a freekick being thundered home by the head of Conor McCarthy to set up a dramatic final few minutes in Glasgow's southside.
The Perthshire outfit held firm, with Callum Davidson and his players securing their place in yet another national cup final, with their day of destiny against Hibernian lying in wait on 22 May.
St Mirren: Alnwick, Fraser, McCarthy, Shaughnessy, Tait (Connolly, 68'), Doyle-Hayes, Erhahon (Brophy, 77'), Durmus, McGrath, Dennis (Quaner, 57'), Erwin.
Substitutes: Lyness, Finlayson, Flynn, McAllister, Henderson, Obika
St Johnstone: Clark, McCart, Kerr, Gordon, Rooney, Booth, McCann, Bryson, Wotherspoon, Kane (O'Halloran, 86'), Melamed (Middleton, 65')
Substitutes: Zlamal, Brown, Gilmour, Conway, Ferguson, Robertson.