MORE than a quarter of a century since they last captured the Scottish Cup with that famous win over Dundee United, St Mirren easily negotiated the first hurdle on their latest tilt at emulating the heroes of 1987 with a professional dismissal of Second Division Brechin.
Two fantastic strikes were what ultimately separated the teams, but it could have been more had even a fraction of the chances the home team created been converted.
Danny Lennon’s men will face tougher opponents in the later stages of the cup, but the order of the day was to be in the hat, and Saints achieved this with ease as the manager admitted.
He said: “It was a fantastically professional performance as the important thing was to get through, but if I had one moan it was that we weren’t ruthless enough with the chances we made.”
If the Buddies are to sample Hampden glory again they were going to have to get past a Brechin team much-improved since the arrival of Ray McKinnon.
The former Tayport manager has wasted little time in showing why he was so successful in the Junior game, but he admitted this was a step too far for his charges. “We sat in and tried to hit on the counter only to be undone by a set-piece, but St Mirren are a good team who deserved the victory without any doubt,” he said.
The SPL team slowly eroded away the dogged determination of their lower league visitors, Kenny McLean warmed the palms of veteran City keeper Craig Nelson on several occasions and Gary Teale saw his cross deflected off the base of the near post.
McLean was getting closer with his every strike and it was the talented midfield youngster who eventually found the route to goal with a curling free-kick just after the half-hour mark to settle the Paisley side’s nerves.
With the resistance of City broken, a shock of any kind never really looked on the cards with Saints in full control of the midfield.
Indeed, any doubts about which of the two would be in the draw were put to bed minutes before half-time courtesy of a stunning strike from Jon Robertson who crashed home a volley from 30-yards to grab his first goal for the club.
The second half was another 45 minutes of constant one-way traffic as Saints poked and prodded at City who by now had dug a trench and decided to limit the potential damage, leading to a bit of a damp squib with one team in cruise mode and the other putting up the shutters. That they didn’t add to their tally will irk rather than worry Saints, who despite coming close through Sam Parkin and Lewis Guy, had to make do with a scoreline not entirely reflective of their dominance.