Alex Smith backs Peter Houston for cup double club

ALEX Smith is proud that he is the only boss to have matched Jock Stein’s feat of lifting the Scottish Cup with two different clubs - but he would “love” Peter Houston to become the third member of their exclusive group.

Peter Houston. Picture: Michael Gillen
Peter Houston. Picture: Michael Gillen

The 75-year-old lifted the trophy with St Mirren in 1987 and then again with Aberdeen three years later to complete the rare double triumph.

Stein was the first to pull it off when he followed up his 1961 success with Dunfermline by winning the tournament a further eight times during his silver-laden stint as Celtic boss.

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But Houston, who first claimed the Cup back in 2010 with Dundee United, is now eyeing a second victory of his own after Saturday’s semi-final win over Hibernian teed up the May 30 final clash with Inverness at Hampden.

Peter Houston. Picture: Michael Gillen

Smith - who now works alongside Houston as the Bairns’ technical director - admits being mentioned in the same breath as Lisbon Lions boss Stein is among his most treasured honours.

But he would have no problem sharing the accolade with Houston.

He said: “Winning the Cup with two clubs is a very difficult feat and I think that is proved by the fact that apart from Jock and I, no-one else has done it.

“And even with Jock, he did it with one of the Old Firm sides, who are more liable to reach finals than the other clubs.

“Doing it with two provincial clubs is especially difficult. I’m very proud of that fact I managed it and it would be great if Peter could do it too.

“I actually mentioned to him this morning that it would be special if we could win it and he could join Jock and I on that list of successful two-club managers.

“I was very friendly with Mr Stein because Bob Shankly - who I worked with for about seven or eight years at Stirling - was his best pal. I was in their company quite regularly.

“It was a great privileged to be mentioned in the same light as him. I would love for Peter to join the club and have that accolade.”

Smith’s Saints triumph ended the Buddies’ 28-year wait for a Cup triumph.

The 1-0 triumph over Dundee United, secured thanks to Ian Ferguson’s extra-time winner, was celebrated with an open-top bus ride through Paisley.

But his penalty shoot-out triumph over Celtic with Dons in 1990 did not prompt the same kind of fevered joy in the Granite City, where the locals had become spoiled by success under former boss Alex Ferguson.

However, Smith reckons Houston will enjoy it more second time round if he can mastermind victory over Caley Thistle.

“My two victories were very different because St Mirren had not won the Cup for a long, long time,” he said.

“They were craving for it to happen and it got a much bigger reaction in Paisley than it did with Aberdeen, who had become used to winning under Alex.

“They were delighted we had won it but also a bit more blase about it too.

“If Peter can win it here, I’m sure he will find the experience a lot different to his last victory too. He played for Falkirk and was well appreciated as a player.

“He’s come back as a manager and I’m sure he will find the whole thing a lot more special.”