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St Mirren boss Danny Lennon heaps praise on Cup heroes
Danny Lennon admits he gave the half-time team talk of his life to cajole St Mirren into capturing the Scottish Communities League Cup for the first time in their history with a dramatic 3-2 win over Hearts at Hampden.
The Paisley side were lucky only to be trailing by Ryan Stevenson's 10th minute opener before Esmael Goncalves scored out of the blue in the 37th minute to take the teams into the interval level. The Buddies boss set about his players at the break and they responded with goals from Steven Thompson and Conor Newton before Stevenson reduced the deficit with six minutes remaining.
Asked whether at the interval he gave the team talk of his life, Lennon said: "Yes. I got into the players at half-time and reminded them that if they wanted to become legends there was a game of football to be played."
He went on: "Our problem in the first-half was that we didn't pass the ball. Hearts came out the traps well, they were one-up, they had the better opportunities and probably the only opportunity we had, we took it. That would have deflated them a little bit and gave us a lift but it was not the lift that got us started, that came when we got them in at the break.
"There was a little bit of emotion, there were raised voices, some comforting words but more importantly, I reminded them that these opportunities don't come very often. Some players will play their full career and never get the opportunity to play in a national final in the national stadium.
"And the reality is that for some of these players it might be their last, so my message to them was make sure that it was a day that they could remember for the rest of their lives and to be fair they gave us and everyone associated with our wonderful football club a memory to cherish for the rest of our lives."
Gary Locke, who was made permanent Hearts manager on Friday after being caretaker in the wake of John McGlynn's departure, bemoaned his side's sloppy start to the second-half.
"It is a sore one to take," he said. "Myself, the staff and the players are really hurting.
"I felt that if we could get the second goal we probably would have gone on to win it. We had a few chances and hit the woodwork two or three times but it wasn't meant to be.
"Full credit to the players they never gave up and that is the type of commitment and desire that is required but we shot ourselves in the foot by the way we started the second-half. I was disappointed with the first 10 minutes of the second-half because we just didn't get going at all and that cost us. That was the turning point of the game."
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