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A Refreshing Cup of Cheer



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.

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.

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.


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Born in 1963, Peter attended St Mary's Leith High School. Peter worked within the plumbing industry before studying a degree in journalism within the University of Stirling. Peter has been a lifelong sports fan and has volunteered within the Edinburgh Soccer School's programme on numerous occasions.


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