Back in the day, cup winners used to be heroes. And if they weren’t one before the game, then they sure were after them. Nowadays, the introduction of 16 and now 18-man matchday squads means there’s places for scarcely used talents to find their way into a special moment of history. So, to celebrate these lucky few, we have picked some of the more obscure Scottish Cup winners from the past few years.
Chris Iwelumo (St Johnstone)
Famed for that miss, the four-times capped Scotland player enjoyed a cameo spell with St Johnstone in 2014 without making a first team start. The big striker, who had been signed in the January window, emerged from the bench eight times during his brief stay in Perth, and was on the bench for their Scottish Cup final victory over Dundee United. Goals from Steven Anderson and Steven MacLean won the club a first major trophy in their history but unfortunately for Iwelumo, he was not given the chance to make his mark on the day.
Danny Cadamarteri (Dundee United)
Signed from Huddersfield Town, Danny Cadamarteri boasted clubs such as Everton, Leeds United and Leicester City on an extensive CV. Craig Levein was the man who recruited the striker in 2009 to cover for an injured Jon Daly and Cadamarteri would later make it on to the bench of the Peter Houston team that blitzed three goals past Ross County in the Scottish Cup final. He was not called upon to enter the fray during the 90 minutes as Craig Conway netted a double and David Goodwillie scored an exquisite lob to win 3-0.
Paul Rideout (Rangers)
The striker cost Rangers £500,000 and scored a solitary goal in 12 appearances for the club. He was an unused substitute as the club beat Airdrie 2-1 to lift the Scottish Cup in 1992 and moved to Everton a matter of months later. It was with the Goodison Park club that he would experience arguably the highlight of his career, scoring the only goal in Everton’s FA Cup final victory over Manchester United. After life on the Merseyside, Rideout used the sport to travel, playing for Kansas City Wizards in the MLS before moving to China.
John Fleck (Rangers)
Who can forget the player that was once hailed as Scotland’s answer to Wayne Rooney? Fleck burst on to the scene at Ibrox aged just 17, and had supporters believing that he truly could be the next big thing. He got five minutes of action towards the end of Rangers’ thrilling 3-2 Scottish Cup final victory against Queen of the South. But, after a promising start to his career, Fleck failed to set the heather alight in Scottish football. That said, he is currently a consistent performer for Sheffield United, who are now in the English Championship.
Teddy Bjarnason (Celtic)
If Celtic were generous enough to let you have him on loan, the midfielder was a gem on Football Manager. However, in real life he failed to have the impact that was expected of him and made just one appearance for the Parkhead club. Despite not making an appearance, Bjarnason got his hands on a Scottish Cup final winners medal when Jean-Joel Perrier Doumbe scored a late goal after Celtic had struggled to break down a stubborn Dunfermline. The Icelandic player is now 30 years old and has no less than 36 caps for his country.
Chris Dagnall (Hibs)
He was a striker that didn’t score, at least for Hibs anyway. The Scouser joined the Leith club after a spell with Kerala Blasters in India and is another in the cast of those who were in Scottish Cup final squads without getting any minutes. Hibs ended a painful 114-year wait to get their hands on the trophy after a dramatic clash with Rangers, which was won by captain David Gray’s stoppage-time bullet header. Dagnall will barely be remembered by Hibees in the decades to come but his name is written in history for being in the squad that day.
Denis Prychynenko (Hearts)
Following a youth career in Germany, the enigmatic Ukrainian pitched up at Tynecastle in 2009. A midfielder, Prychynenko was known among Hearts fans as the kid who could take free-kicks and was willing to have a pop from anywhere up to 35 yards from goal. He was loaned out to Raith Rovers, where he failed to make a substantial impression, and upon his return he reached the peak of a relatively short Hearts career. Paulo Sergio included the youngster in the squad that routed Hibs 5-1 in the Scottish Cup final but he was an unused substitute.
David Bagan (Kilmarnock)
A name that will be known to Inverness CT and Queen of the South fans, among others, David Bagan represented his local team Kilmarnock for a period lasting four years. However, during that time when the club had players of Gary Holt’s ilk, first team opportunities were scarce and he made just 23 starts. One of those starts came on the big stage in 1997 as a Paul Wright goal was enough to break Falkirk hearts and send the Scottish Cup home to Ayrshire. A career in lower league football followed with his most successful spell in the Highlands.