Steven Thompson wants to be among St Mirren heroes
AS the supporter turned player, Steven Thompson still has his 1987 Scottish Cup winning scarf that is emblazoned with the St Mirren crest he now wears in his professional life.
He grew up surrounded by pictures of that triumphant team in his bedroom and dares to dream that Sunday’s League Cup semi-final against Celtic may be the first of two huge steps towards some modern-day young follower of the Paisley club having the striker’s image plastered on his walls.
“The 1987 final was one of my first games as a St Mirren fan. I felt I was in among a million people that day,” the 34-year-old said. “I am sure there must have been 25,000 St Mirren fans at that game so I would like to think some of them could scramble themselves to Hampden on Sunday and get right behind the team.
“We need every bit of support and we pretty much need the stars to align for us to win the game. The support can help.
“I have been quietly looking forward to Sunday and I am going to try and soak in as much of it as I can and store it in the memory bank. It is a great occasion and I hope that a lot of the fans turn out for it. I heard tickets weren’t really selling like hot cakes and if there is one stadium which suffers from not having a big crowd in it, it is Hampden. “
Scottish internationalist Thompson, who won the trophy with Rangers in 2005 and played in the 2008 FA Cup final with Cardiff City, appreciates it could be the last time he takes to the turf at the national stadium for the climax of a cup competition. That’s why tomorrow’s tie at Hampden will be a rare football day out for the whole Thompson family.
“My kids generally don’t go to a lot of games as they can’t sit still for more than two seconds,” he said. “My wife doesn’t like taking them along as she doesn’t get to watch much of the match. She is mostly telling them off, but I am taking them just in case I don’t get back. I would like for them to know when I am an old man and talking about my career, I can tell the two of them they were there. Both of them have been to Wembley. My four year-old boy Struan was at the FA Cup final when he was less than three weeks old and my daughter Gracie was one-and-a-half.”
As a man who “loves the club and loves playing for the club”, ending St Mirren’s 26-year wait for a major honour would eclipse anything else he has achieved in his career. Despite the overwhelming odds against such an outcome, Thompson has hope his offspring can witness dad “writing” history.
“I would like to think we have got a chance. The facts are that our record against Celtic recently has been extremely poor,” Thompson said in reference to the fact Danny Lennon’s team have lost their past eight games against their semi-final opponents, failing to score a goal while conceding 22 to the process. “We are aware of that, but this is a different occasion. It is not a league game and it is a cup semi final. Therefore it is a different dynamic with it being at a different ground as well. And quite often in semi-finals, strange things can happen.
“We know we are massive underdogs and we know Celtic have far better players than us which will make it an extremely difficult task, but if you don’t take any belief or optimism into the game, then you are as well not even turning up. I certainly believe if we go into it with a positive attitude, it will certainly help us once the game kicks off more than worrying about what has happened in the past with Celtic.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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