ST MIRREN manager Danny Lennon has revealed that he encouraged his players to believe that it was possible to defeat Celtic yesterday by watching old clips of past victories on YouTube.
The Paisley side had not scored a goal against Celtic in the eight previous meetings before yesterday, and their poor record stretches back longer. However, a supporter posted clips of great wins on YouTube recently, and Lennon felt it would be beneficial for his players to see that it can be done. A 4-0 victory in 2009 was included in the highlights package, as was a very rare 3-0 victory at Parkhead in 1990.
“What we were actually inspired by was previous St Mirren and Celtic games, away back to 1959,” said Lennon. “We watched them and there were some monumental results against them. The message behind that was to try to fuel the players with belief that it could be done.
“When you fuel them and they buy into it as much as that it brings their strengths and qualities out and that was there for everyone to see.
“What had inspired me was a fan had put a lovely montage on You Tube and it was so that we could believe. I’d been shown it prior to the Ross County game last weekend. It went way back to 1959 and it showed other great results. It was something we looked into.
“When you come into these games you’ll try anything, you’ll try something different and they didn’t let us down.
“It was a fantastic effort from everyone and I’m absolutely delighted for the fans. I could hear them throughout the game and hopefully we’ll start to see those crowds coming back regularly at Paisley and that was a thank you to them.”
Lennon addressed the fact that his side had been given no hope by almost everyone, with even Frank McGarvey, a St Mirren legend, commenting that “anything can happen in football, but Celtic will still beat St Mirren”. However, the Paisley side made a mockery of such statements yesterday and proved deserved victors.
“I think we were written off by every single one of you in here in the media,” he said. “That was something we know and we’ve had to deal with, a small club like St Mirren when you’re playing the best team in the country and the gulf between the two clubs is enormous.
“But it was the same so-called experts who wrote us off in the quarter-final against Aberdeen. It was the same experts who said we couldn’t be here but we are here and we now find ourselves in a major final. If you’re prepared to put that work, that commitment and have that belief, as it’s happened all week in cup football, the underdog can have its day.”
Intriguingly, before leaving Hampden last night Lennon popped into the SFL offices on the sixth floor of the National Stadium to tell officials there to put a couple of cup final tickets aside for a mystery young girl who he believes brought his side luck yesterday.
The manager explained: “I met lots of fans last week and one of them, a young girl from a local school, gave me a penny and told me that it would bring us luck in the semi-final. I kept it on me and took it to the Celtic game. I was rubbing it throughout the game and it certainly worked at both penalty incidents.
“I want to repay that young lady with tickets to the final. However, I don’t have her name. It would be great if she can get in touch with me at the club so she can come along but I will be taking her penny with me.”