League Cup final: Dream comes true for Thompson
STEVEN Thompson won all three major domestic honours during his spell as a Rangers player, was part of a play-off final winning side at Wembley for Burnley and represented Scotland on 16 occasions.
But there was no doubting the veteran striker’s sincerity yesterday when he acclaimed St Mirren’s historic League Cup Final triumph against Hearts at Hampden as the highest point of his career.
A born-and-bred Paisley Buddie, Thompson saw his schoolboy dreams come true as he scored the second goal in Saints’ 3-2 win. The 34-year-old says he has felt destiny’s hand on his shoulder ever since he also found the net in the semi-final win over Celtic at the end of January.
“At half-time, just before we went back out, Danny Lennon said ‘It’s written in the stars, Tommo’,” smiled Thompson, who put St Mirren 2-1 ahead just 49 seconds into the second half. “I kind of already had that in my mind. I’ve been thinking about nothing else, to be honest with you, since we won the semi-final against Celtic. To say it’s been playing on my mind would be an understatement.
“I’ve gone through a world of different emotions, a lot of anxiety this week. I’m finding it difficult to explain exactly what it means to me. I suppose it means everything, for the supporters as well.
“It’s been 26 years without a trophy for St Mirren. To be involved in that moment, to have scored in that moment, to be part of the team that won, the pride that I’m feeling right now, … there aren’t enough descriptive words in the English language for it. To share it with these guys is excellent. The one thing I said to the younger boys was to make sure they realised what was at the end of this game for them. I told them they had a real opportunity to put their names in the bricks and become part of the club’s history, to achieve something that means something. I’m glad they got to do that.”
Such was Thompson’s sense of anticipation about yesterday’s final, he had to take medication in order to guarantee a peaceful night’s rest on Saturday. “I took a sleeping pill,” he revealed. “That was the easy way out. My wife had a migraine so she went to bed early, then I put the kids to bed. They were messing about until around nine. Then I just took a sleeping pill and that was me. I woke up today in a very positive frame of mind. I had it in my head what I wanted to do, I had it played out, exactly how I would like it to go. And now it has happened.
“I’m big on visualisation. I find it a strong key to sporting performance. So, yeah, scoring that goal has been playing over in my mind for about three or four weeks, even more than that, and it came to fruition.
“After I scored, I said to a few of the guys to make sure we won, now that we were ahead. When we scored the third goal, the two Geordie boys, Conor Newton and Paul Dummett, were having some chat as if we’d already won it. I said ‘Listen, we ain’t won it yet. Get the finger out.’
“I was off the pitch when Hearts scored their second goal and you feel a bit helpless at that stage. I had my eyes covered for a bit. But something told me that we would hang on and we did. I have to credit Hearts for the way they came out of the traps. They possibly should have had more than one goal at half-time. I said at half-time that we’d used our luck up for the day. If we weren’t going to get any more luck, we had to go and create it ourselves. We did that. In the second-half, we really showed our true identity. We passed the ball very well and could have scored more.”
Thompson admits it may be some time before the full significance of an occasion witnessed by his family, including children six-year-old Gracie and four-year-old Struan, fully sinks in.
“It’s going to take until tomorrow,” he smiled. “No, it won’t be tomorrow because I’ll still be drunk. But the day after, or the day after that, then I’ll get a bit of realisation and clarity over what has just happened. When it does hit me, I guess I’ll feel it. At the moment it’s all a bit floaty. I saw my kids in the stand today and they got a wee run about on the pitch afterwards as well. The sad thing is they will maybe not remember it because they are only four and six. But I guess they’ll be watching the DVD every night for the rest of their lives!
“My boy is unbelievable, always keeping a commentary going during the game. Normally I can hear him but today it was just a bit noisier than it is at St Mirren Park. Your family are always there for you when things aren’t going well in football. So when things do go well, it is great to share it with them. It really is just an unbelievable moment, hard to describe. My daughter is seven on Thursday, so it’s a big week for the Thompsons and it’s going to be a great one now.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
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