Fairytale ending for Saints

18 May 2014 07:31

Tommy Wright enjoyed a fairytale end to his debut season as a full-time manager but the St Johnstone boss is well aware that their first major trophy will be more special to many other people.

Wright, whose managerial career began in the Irish League, led Saints to a 2-0 William Hill Scottish Cup final victory over Dundee United 12 months after stepping up when Steve Lomas left for Millwall.

But Wright knows that the foundations of their triumph - in the club's first Scottish Cup final - were laid many years before he arrived in Perth.

The former Northern Ireland goalkeeper said: "It means everything in terms of my career, it's the pinnacle of my career to win the Scottish Cup, but more importantly it means a lot more to a lot more people - the supporters, the players, my staff, and (owners) Geoff and Steve Brown who have put a lot into this club.

"For us to get the first major trophy, words basically can't describe how I feel. It's so special to so many people."

Wright included long-serving players such as Dave Mackay, Steven Anderson and Chris Millar in that category. They were involved in most of St Johnstone's seven consecutive semi-final defeats before victory over Aberdeen last month sent them to Celtic Park.

Anderson, who is in his testimonial year, headed the opener just before the break before Steven MacLean finished the tie off five minutes from time.

Wright added: "That's why I thought the semi-final was a psychological barrier. I know this is a final and it's different but I thought that was lifted when we beat Aberdeen.

"We're watching the English cup final now and I think it has lost its magic the way the game has changed there, but the Scottish Cup still has its magic.

"That's why when everyone was wanting a Dundee United-Aberdeen final I always thought that the real story was us, and it has proved to be the point."

Wright also included Saints fans in his list of those who would savour the victory even more than him.

The 50-year-old had called for Perth to buy 15,000 tickets and he knew many of the fans would have a range of emotions.

"We sent out a rallying call and they answered it," he said.

"I read that people were coming that had never been to a St Johnstone match but their dad or a relative had been a fan and had passed away, and they were making a pilgrimage to the final.

"So it's special to me but I'm sure there's a lot more people out there that it's a lot more special to."

Off the park, Wright also knows that chairman Steve Brown and his father Geoff, who held the post for 25 years, will enjoy the day more than most, and he is pleased to have vindicated their faith.

"I like to think I work hard for the chairman and he knew what he was getting when he appointed me," he said. "I know he will feel I have repaid his decision.

"He is just joking now that he's done everything and he's going to step down. But he won't.

"He said he had a 25-year plan and in three years we've been sixth, third, in Europe three times, he doesn't know what to do now."

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara admitted his side could play better but also felt that their luck was out.

Ryan Dow came close to opening the scoring when his flick bounced off the inside of the post and Nadir Ciftci saw a free-kick hit the underside of the bar and bounce down onto Saints goalkeeper Alan Mannus on the line.

McNamara said: "It just wasn't our day, little thin margins like the post and the bar. The goal going in just before half-time was a real body blow for us but we tried to break them down in the second half and it just wouldn't go for us.

"We had chances but there's a thin line between winning and losing sometimes and I'm disappointed with the goals, especially the first one.

"I think we can play a lot better. I think we can raise the tempo, which we tried to do more in the second half.

"At times it was quite stop-start but we have to congratulate St Johnstone on their victory, you have to give them credit."

McNamara refused to lay the blame on goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak, who came a long way out for David Wotherspoon's corner but failed to get there and was beaten by Anderson's header.

"He has been outstanding for me all season, I would never criticise a goalkeeper for coming for the ball and making a mistake," he said.

Source: PA

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