Communities League Cup

January 27, 2013


St Mirren

3 - 2


Communities League Cup

14:30 +00:00, January 27, 2013

Hampden Park, Scotland

Referee: William Collum

St Mirren sensed shock

St Mirren's players felt an upset was on the cards even before the -2 victory over Celtic at Hampden in the Scottish League Cup semi-final.

Danny Lennon's side pulled off one of the biggest cup shocks in recent times to book a final date with Hearts on March 17.

Match-winner Steven Thompson told BBC Sport Scotland: "The quality of our play in the second half... we knew we could cause Celtic problems and we did. It's a magnificent feeling.

"I think there was (belief beforehand). I felt it this morning on the bus, in the changing room. I think the first 10 minutes gave us a lot of belief. We created chances, scored the goal - these things give you great belief. I think it had been so long since we scored against Celtic that it just gave us the belief that we could do this."

St Mirren had lost their last eight games against the Scottish champions without having even scored a goal.

Debutant Esmael Goncalves gave Saints the lead in the eighth minute but that was cancelled out by Gary Hooper a minute before half-time.

Buddies goalkeeper Craig Samson saved Charlie Mulgrew's penalty four minutes into the second half and Mulgrew compounded his error in the 83rd minute by handling a Gary Teale cross inside the box, which allowed former Hoop Paul McGowan to score from the resulting spot-kick before Thompson grabbed a third.

Mulgrew ended a desperate afternoon by scoring with the last kick of the ball but it proved to be scant consolation.

McGowan agreed that Saints had sensed a shock had been in the making.

"I did," he said. "We've not played well against Celtic every game. We haven't scored since I've been here against them. That was another plus. We just knew it was a cup game and anything could happen.

"All credit to the boys - we showed great character. It's a great day for the club, for the supporters. We fear no-one. We know how good we can be. We're not always consistent enough but if we take that into the final I'm pretty sure we can come away with the cup."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon did not spare his players' feelings in his post-match analysis, questioning their attitudes and accusing them of a lack of hunger and poor discipline.

"There was a lack of intensity to our play in the first half, a lack of hunger. a lack of will to win," the Northern Irishman told BBC Sport Scotland. "I don't know where that performance came from.

"The second half we looked much, much better, The turning point was the penalties. I didn't think either of them were, but they took theirs and we didn't and that changed the game.

"Our attitude's been very, very good this season but I didn't like the attitude today and I've made that clear to them. There was a lack of discipline, lack of shape - we didn't play like a team today; we played like individuals.

"I'm not going to hide away from criticism - me first and then the team - we're open to that. There was certainly no complacency in our preparations, but the lack of intensity really concerned me today."

Danny Lennon, in contrast, was thrilled with the result.

"We're absolutely delighted," the Saints boss said. "I think this week it's been a fantastic effort from the backroom staff, with the preparation for the game, the tactics we've worked on.

"(The players) had the belief and showed their true potential. They can bring that to any game. It's a fantastic achievement and fantastic result, but more important was the manner in which they've got the result. That's for all our fans out there who've stuck by us through thick and thin."