St Johnstone 1-0 Hibernian
2020/21 Scottish Cup Final
22 May 2021
Hampden Park, Glasgow
St Johnstone created history with a 1-0 win over Hibernian in the 2020/21 Scottish Cup final, securing a stunning domestic cup double in Callum Davidson’s maiden season as a manager.
Just as he was in the League Cup final, Shaun Rooney was the hero yet again with his first half header propelling the Perthshire Saint’s past their Edinburgh opponents in the showpiece fixture of the campaign.
Despite failing to build on their lead from the penalty spot in a moment of second half drama, the Perthshire Saints produced a fine defensive display to notch another clean sheet and lift their second Scottish Cup trophy in seven years.
As it happened
It was a fairly quiet opening ten minutes in Glasgow’s Southside, with the best chance in the opening exchanges of the match falling to St Johnstone’s Chris Kane around 12-yards from goal. The striker failed to get over the ball though and blazed well over from inside the box.
Just over five minutes later, Callum Davidson’s men created another fine chance when Ryan Porteous went on a marauding run forward before giving away possession and allowing Saints to hit them on the break. Glenn Middleton, the hero in the semi-final, collected the ball on the half-way line before shrugging off a number of challenges and breaking in to the box, where his right-footed effort was smothered by Matt Macey in the Hibs goal.
Midway through the half, Jack Ross’ men created a terrific chance and it was little surprise to see danger man Martin Boyle at the heart of it. Driving towards the byline down the right flank, the Australian forward clipped in a delightful ball towards the lurking Christian Doidge who looked set to nod home inside the six-yard box had it not been for a brilliant defensive header from Jason Kerr, who lifted a header over his own crossbar to clear the danger.
Five minutes later, Zander Clark had to produce a decent save to deny Jackson Irvine from close-range, who latched on to a loose ball in the box to slide a side-foot effort at goal, but the finish was far too central to truly trouble the Saints stopper, who smartly blocked the shot with his left foot.
However, down the other end, an impressive and determined bit of play from Davidson’s men led to the opening goal of the afternoon.
Hibs struggled to clear the danger, with Scott Booth’s pressing winning the ball back for David Wotherspoon, who capitalised down the left flank by fooling Alexander Gogic to create a yard of space for the cross before steering a pinpoint delivery towards the back post, where Shaun Rooney towered over Josh Doig to guide a brilliant header back across goal and beyond Macey.
Irvine was the first name in referee Nick Walsh’s book, with a lunging slide tackle on Middleton just before the break resulting in a yellow card for the Hibee’s midfielder.
Jack Ross’ side started the second half brightly, with Scotland striker Kevin Nisbet going close from a tight angle, but his low-effort arrowed across goal and wide of the post.
The Hibee’s went close to levelling through Gogic, who stooped low to guide a header on target from six-yards out, but the effort was blocked by Jamie McCart and then, in the blink of an eye, St Johnstone pounced on the break and again it was the pace of Middleton that caused problems for the Hibernian defence. The youngster broke in to the box before being thwarted by a terrific sliding tackle by Joe Newell, but the loose ball fell for the arriving Rooney who curled a left-footed effort on target, only to be deflected wide.
Long-serving St Johnstone midfielder Murray Davidson made his return to the pitch shortly after the hour mark, in a special moment for the player who missed the 2014 Scottish Cup final and this season’s League Cup final through injury.
The game became open in spells, with Hibs pushing for a leveller but leaving themselves exposed on the break. Again, Middleton led the charge for St Johnstone on the counter, driving at three Hibs defenders and with Kane in support. The winger tried to slide a neat ball for the Saints forward but it instead deflected back in to his path where the youngster stung a low effort on target which Macey saved well.
In what looked to be the decisive moment of the match, Kane found himself with a glorious opportunity one on one with Macey, but as the forward was about to pull the trigger, he was bundled to the deck and Nick Walsh immediately pointed to the spot for a penalty. Up stepped Middleton, who struck a brilliant effort towards the bottom corner which was matched by a stunning save from the Hibees stopper, who immediately denied Kane on the follow-up to give his side an unlikely lifeline.
The minutes and seconds ticked by, with St Johnstone's impressive organisation frustrating Hibs who couldn't muster the all-important equaliser.
St Johnstone supporters will have endured a moment of panic when Boyle went to ground in the box in the final few minutes of the game, but brilliant officiating by referee Nick Walsh spotted the simulation and correctly awarded a free-kick to St Johnstone.
Callum Davidson and his side managed the game in fine fashion as the Perthshire players collapsed to the floor with emotion at the sound of the final whistle in what was a very special moment for the club and the supporters.
St Johnstone: Clark, Booth, Kerr, Gordon, McCart, McCann, Bryson (Davidson, 64’), Rooney (Brown, 79’), Wotherspoon, Kane, Middleton (O’Halloran, 82’)
Unused subs: Parish, Tanser, Craig, Conway, Melamed, May, O’Halloran
Hibernian: Macey, Hanlon, Porteous, McGinn, Doidge, Boyle, Newell (Hallberg 72’), Gogic (Murphy, 56’), Nisbet, Doig (Stevenson, 75’), Irvine.
Unused subs: Marciano, Gray, Magennis, Wright, McGregor