A Refreshing Cup of Cheer
Seventy-five years and counting.
The Scottish League Cup reached a said milestone this weekend, as Livingston faced off against Premiership rivals St. Johnstone, in the 2020/21 showpiece, at Hampden Park.
Both sides have graced the Final in years gone-by (albeit fleetingly). Livingston’s solitary appearance in Season 2003/04, resulted in victory over their more-fancied rivals Hibernian. Contrastingly; the Perth Saints were hoping for a case of ‘third-time-lucky’, having previously lost-out in 1969/70 and 1998/99, to Celtic and Rangers respectively.
Historically; the Scottish League Cup has been dominated by the Old Firm; with one or other appearing in all-but twenty of the previous Finals to-date. Its somewhat refreshing therefore; that both sides exited during the preliminary rounds.
First time since the 2016 Scottish cup final Hibs 3 rangers 2.
A final will be played that doesn't involve Celtic.
Good luck to either Livingston or St Johnstone one of them will end Celtic's reign of utter dominance over Scottish football.
— 🏴 Boyle🇻🇦 (@Boyle_67) February 28, 2021
Cliche or otherwise; this years renewal appeared too-close-to-call.
Last fortnight withstanding, David Martindale’s promotion to Head Coach coincided with a spectacular upturn in fortune for the West Lothian outfit; while the pragmatic approach adopted by Perth counterpart Callum Davidson, has triggered a similar spike in performance levels.
The tournament has hosted its fair share of upsets over the years; none more-so perhaps than on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary (23 October 1971), when League Champions Celtic, faced newly-promoted Partick Thistle.
On this day – 23 Oct 1971
Partick Thistle 4 Celtic 1
Scottish League Cup Final
— RB Football Memorabilia (@RBFootMem) October 23, 2020
The Celtic Line-up boasted no-fewer than Seven Players who had featured in their epic European Cup Semi-Final triumph over English Champions Leeds United, a mere eighteen months earlier.
And although their charismatic Skipper Billy McNeill was absent through injury, the general consensus viewed the Maryhill Jags as mere cannon-fodder.
As it was; their scintillating first-half performance produced four goals without reply; sending shockwaves through the East End of Glasgow and beyond. Despite the expected second-half rally by Celtic; Davie McParland’s more balanced Thistle collective, deservedly ran-out 4-1 Winners.
A crowd of 62,000 or so, were in attendance that afternoon, whereby entry to the South East Stand, could be obtained for the princely sum of £1. The successful Thistle side included Manchester United targets – Alex Forsyth and John Hansen (elder Brother of Alan), with a young Alan Rough in goal.
A five-goal thriller would have certainly provided a fitting tribute for this most-treasured of trophies. However when all was said and done come Sunday evening, the League Cup finals fate was determined on the smallest of margins. A case of ‘third time lucky’ for Davidson’s Saints, with Shaun Rooney clinching the only goal of the game via a header.
The League Cup provided fans with a glad distraction amidst a global pandemic, indeed a refreshing cup of cheer, which will have tasted even sweeter in Perth on Sunday afternoon.
We hope you enjoyed this article ‘A Refreshing Cup of Cheer’. What did you make of the Scottish League Cup final? Let us know!
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