THE people of Perth have turned their streets blue as St Johnstone FC get ready to battle to bring home the Scottish Cup for the first time in the club’s 130-year history.
The team take on Dundee United at Celtic Park today in their first appearance in the final.
Founded in 1884, St Johnstone have historically floated between the top two divisions of Scottish football, obtaining the reputation of being a “yo-yo club”, with limited success in cup competitions.
Supporters hope it will be first time lucky for the city club – with champion curler Eve Muirhead revealing she hopes to be St Johnstone’s lucky charm.
The Olympic bronze medallist, who will join the club’sdirectors to watch the match, said she would love to see the Saints kick off celebrations in the Fair City.
“They have a chance to make history and I believe they will do it against Dundee United,” she said. “I used to go to games with my dad and brothers and we would fight for pictures of Saints players from the papers.”
Ms Muirhead, 24, went on: “I think everyone should be supporting their local team for the final.
“I’d like to think I’m a lucky charm because Saints have won all the games that I have been at this season. Hopefully that record will continue at the final.”
To show support for their home side, many Perth shop-owners draped blue and white bunting from doorways. Others have turned shop windows into St Johnstone shrines.
Special cup final pies and biscuits were baked ahead of today’s historic game in Glasgow and commemorative T-shirts produced.
Football fans draped a blue and white scarf and hat over the Famous Grouse sculpture on the A9 at the Broxden roundabout, which Dundee United fans will have to pass on their way to Celtic Park.
Almost 50,000 supporters from both sides were due to descend on Glasgow for what is the first final between two clubs from Tayside.
And while St Johnstone fans were hoping for a historic win, Dundee United fans – whose club took home the Scottish Cup in 2010 when they beat Ross County 3-0 at Hampden Park and also had a win in 1994 – will also be hoping to repeat past successes.
Celebration plans were made on both sides in the event of a win, with open-topped bus parades planned for the streets of both Dundee and Perth, depending on the final score.
Yesterday, Police Scotland said they hoped the game would be a good experience for fans travelling to Glasgow.
Chief Superintendent Andy Bates, divisional commander of the Greater Glasgow division and match commander for the game, said: “The build-up to the Scottish Cup Final is alwaysexciting. We want fans from both clubs to enjoy the day and I hope it is an unforgettable one for everyone involved.
“Public safety is a key issue with a large number of people travelling to Celtic Park to take part in what will be a truly memorable occasion. We would like everyone to get to the stadium safely and would ask supporters to ensure they allow sufficient time for their journeys.
“Additional trains will be running on the day and Police Scotland, along with British Transport Police, urged supporters to be considerate of all passengers.
Motorists were reminded to allow extra time for their journey or, if not going to the game, to avoid the area during that time.
Chief Supt Bates added: “We would remind supporters that alcohol is not permitted on buses and coaches.
“Officers will be stoppingvehicles as part of a national initiative to ensure compliance with legislation.”