As it happened: St Mirren 3 - 2 Hearts, Scottish League Cup final
Welcome to our live coverage of the Scottish Communities League Cup Final between St Mirren and Hearts. You join us as the teams make their way onto the pitch at Hampden Park, led by their respective managers Danny Lennon and Gary Locke, the latter man appointed this week to the post in succession to John McGlynn.
St Mirren kick off but Hearts win possession via a throw-in, only for Saints to win one in turn.
First half-chance to Hearts as John Sutton nicks in front of Craig Samson but the angle is too acute.
Sutton again closing down on Samson who kicks his clearance against the big Englishman and is lucky to see the ball go behind for a goal kick. Good start by a forceful Hearts.
Here’s the St Mirren line up: 1 Samson, 2 van Zanten, 3 Dummett, 4 McAusland
6 Goodwin, 10 McGowan, 21 Teale, 24 Newton 9 Thompson, 29 J McGinn
St Mirren’s first real attack is dealt with fairly comfortably by Hearts.
The Hearts team: 1 MacDonald, 4 Wilson, 5 Barr 6 Webster, 14 Walker, 29 McHattie, 7 Stevenson, 10 Taouil, 19 McGowan, 9 Sutton, 21 Ngoo.
We’ll give you the subs as they are used.
Paul McGowan tries a very ambitious chip from the edge of the box but it goes wide of the Hearts’ goal.
GOAL Hearts Ryan Stevenson, St Mirren 0 Hearts 1
Stevenson picks up the ball at the edge of the box following a clearance and after several twists and turns he fires a low fizzer past Samson into the corner of the net - great start for Hearts.
That early goal was a sickener for St Mirren, but Hearts were looking the more likely to score from the outset. Play’s a bit aimless at the moment as both sides contend with the changed scoreline - do Hearts press for a second or do St Mirren start a forward charge?
Saints’ defence looks shaky as Sutton just fails to connect with a Jamie Walker cross.
The ball goes to Darren Barr at the edge of the box but the Hearts midfielder makes a total hash of his shot which trickles well wide.
Gary Teale has been a great threat on the right for St Mirren in recent months. He breaks down the right but Steven Thompson would have needed to be a giraffe to reach his cross.
After Thompson is caught offside, the ball moves fast to the other end where Walker’s deep cross is well met by Sutton only for the ball to hit the upright and bounce behind, with goalkeeper Samson beaten. What a break for St Mirren.
It’s all Hearts just now. Captain Jim Goodwin is playing noticeably deep as the St Mirren defence appears frail. Up front for Hearts, Sutton is having a fine game.
First sight of Esmael Goncalves. He controls a long one on his chest, turns his man and fires in a long one that is straight at Jamie MacDonald. Over a quarter of the game gone and it’s breathless stuff with advantage very definitely to Hearts.
Michael Ngoo’s first effort is nearly a goal. He chases a fierce Kevin McHattie free-kick and sticks out a leg right in front of goal, but Samson reacts instantly to save.
Now it’s Mehdi Taouil’s turn as the St Mirren defence can’t deal with his trickery. His cross-shot is just missed by Ngoo with Samson stranded.
And just when you think it’s all one way traffic, St Mirren start to play some football. They win two corners in succession to get some Paisley breasts a-thumping, but they cannot capitalise as the Hearts defence proves equal to the challenge.
Fans of the Tynecastle club will undoubtedly be happier, though will they regret the missed chances by Sutton and Ngoo? As they proved against Celtic in the semi-final, you cannot write off St Mirren these days.
GOAL, St Mirren. Goncalves. St Mirren 1, Hearts 1.
Brilliant equaliser by Saints. Thompson comes deep to pick up the ball and sends Teale clear with a stunning pass. The right winger races in on MacDonald but at the exactly most dangerous moment, he slips the ball left to Goncalves and the on loan striker makes no mistake. Against the run of play maybe, but a fine goal and now we have a cracking game in prospect.
Totally unselfish play by Teale for that goal. The way he drew MacDonald and then presented Goncalves with an open goal was sheer class. And it has to be said that though play has been rushed at times, there has been a fair bit of quality play on show from the likes of Teale and Walker.#
It should be noted that Goncalves was booked for his celebration by referee Craig Thomson. But the ref had no choice by the letter of the law as Goncalves took off his shirt. Stupid rule.
MacDonald rescues a suddenly shaky Hearts defence, clearing from Teale’s feet after a mistake by Andy webster.
Approaching half-time we have seen a fine Cup Final full of attacking play. It’s mostly been Hearts but St Mirren have looked much stronger since the equaliser, and this match is finely poised.
We move into one minute of additional time.
At half-time it’s St Mirren 1, Hearts 1, and it’s anybody’s call as to how this game will end. Pie and Bovril time - back in ten minutes or so.
Good final so far and promise of plenty to come in the second 45 minuites. Must add a word of congratulations to both sets of fans for the atmosphere they are creating.
Apparently half-time replays showed that Ryan Stevenson’s shot took a slight deflection for the Hearts goal. Still his goal.
GOAL St Mirren. Thomson. St Mirren 2, Hearts 1.
What a start to the second half for the Saints. Thomson wheels inside the box and fires a left-foot shot past MacDonald.
Terrific work down the left by Paul Dummett in the run-up to that goal. Hearts come back immediately but can do nothing with a corner.
Having dominated the first half, Hearts find themselves 2-1 down at the start of the second. Now we’ll surely see what the Tynecastle men are made of.
Taouil’s brilliance inside the box sees the midfielder fire in a cross which Ngoo knocks towards goal with his thigh only for Samson to react well once again and divert the ball wide.
Walker has been a thorn in the right side of St Mirren’s defence and once again he sets up Taouil though his shot is weak.
Now it’s Saints’ turn to lay siege to Hearts goal, the ball eventually breaking to McGowan outside the box, his shot going well wide.
St Mirren are noticeably not charging forward to try and get what would sutrely be a killer third. Good captaincy by the experienced Goodwin who is dragooning his men officer-fashion.
Ngoo’s forceful run down the left wing ends with a poor shot. Hearts must do better if they are to crack a massively improved Saints’ defence.
A bit of the fizz has gone out of Hearts at present. Gary Locke decided to freshen things up and sends on Arvydas Novikovas for Jamie Walker - strange one, that.
GOAL, St Mirren. Newton. St Mirren 3, Hearts1.
What a fairy tale this could be. Conor Newton, on loan from Newcastle United, scores his very first goal for St Mirren with a rasping right-foot shot that beats MacDonald low to the goalkeeper’s left.
It was such a simple goal, too. Newton played a good old-fashioned one-two with Goncalves and strode clear to fire home.
Ngoo is shown a yellow card even as Darren Barr makes his way off the pitch with his face etched in pain, Jason Holt replacing him. Ngoo had been warned earlier about wayward behaviour and caught referee Thomson’s eye once too often.
At this point in time, with Hearts looking thoroughly disjointed, you would have to say the Cup is heading west, and not east along the M8.
It will be interesting to hear Gary Locke’s explanation for taking off Jamie Walker who had looked a real threat for much of the game. Steven Thompson’s replacement by Sam Parkin is much more understandable as the veteran striker has run himself into the ground.
Thompson has been one of the heroes for Saints. Indeed, they have all been heroic to come from one down to lead 3-1. Dummett, Teale, John McGinn McGowan, and Goncalves have all been outstanding, with Goodwin and Marc MAusland good in defence.
Gary Locke makes his last throw of the dice, sending on Dale Carrick for Taouil. Danny Lennon also makes a change, putting on Graham Carey for John McGinn.
GOAL Hearts. Stevenson. St Mirren 3, Hearts 2.
This match is not over yet. After Kevin McHattie and Ngoo both went close, and after getting himself booked, Ryan Stevenson hits the bat from the six yard box but is only denied for a few moments as he collects the ball on the left and fires in a shot through a forest of legs for his and Hearts’ second.
Teale was also booked in the minutes before that goal.
Stevenson almost gets his hat-trick with a low left foot shot that Samson parries away, with the Hearts player hitting the post with his follow-up effort. This is now an absolute classic of a cup final.
Three minutes of additional time to be played. An incredible atmosphere inside Hampden as St Mirren pack their defence in anticipation of a final onslaught by Hearts.
Goncalves goes down injured and Lee Mair eventually replaces him. Vital seconds lost for Hearts.
It’s knife-edge time as Goodwin boots the ball out of play - anything to clear his lines.
Webster hauls down Carey and is booked.
FULL TIME - St Mirren 3, Hearts 2.
You cannot grudge St Mirren their glory, but hard luck on Hearts who might, and perhaps should have had, this match sown up in the first half.
Spare a thought for Grant Adam and Kenny McLean, the unused subs for St Mirren, and the rest of the squad who didn’t make it on the day. But down Paisley way, 14 men and a manager just became legends.
Hearts go up to get their medals. And not a smile to be seen, which given the parlous state of the club in recent months is hard to understand - they should be happy to be at Hampden at all, some would say.
The officials get their medals - deserved for not spoiling a terrific game.
Jim Goodwin leads up St Mirren and shows the trophy to the delirious fans. Oh to be a Buddy this night.
Each player is cheered as they take their turn to lift the cup presented by the very happy Mrs Joyce Banda, president of that well-known Scottish community, Malawi.
The black and white ticker tape cascades around the pitch as St Mirren celebrate their first cup win since 1987. Over the 90 minutes, and for their heroics in the path to the final, St Mirren just about deserved the victory. Hearts played their part in a very, very good cup final that surely every neutral lover of football must have enjoyed.
Some days the beautiful game can be just glorious.
And with that we’ll wish you a very good evening.