The last time they won at Hampden Park, Margaret Thatcher was still the Prime Minister and Rick Astley was riding high in the charts with “Never Gonna Give You Up”. St Johnstone themselves were in the third tier of Scottish football – and based at Muirton Park. Their current ground, McDiarmid Park, was still a farmer’s field.
Not since a 1-0 win over Queen’s Park on 15 September, 1987 have St Johnstone won a match on the Hampden turf – and that was a league fixture in the old Second Division. Only 627 fans watched defender Alan McKillop score the decisive goal – the last Saints player to hit a winner at the national stadium.
That is 627 more fans than will witness this Saturday’s Betfred Cup semi-final against Hibs, which is due to be the latest big occasion to suffer from the absence of a crowd.
Hibs supporters might otherwise have travelled through to Hampden with some trepidation as well - they have not won on their last four visits, since lifting the Scottish Cup on a famous afternoon against Rangers in 2016. The Easter Road side have since been defeated in two Betfred Cup semi-finals and two Scottish Cup semi-finals – twice against Celtic, once against Aberdeen and, most recently, going down to rivals Hearts in the last four of the Scottish Cup.
St Johnstone experienced Scottish Cup glory in 2014 for the first time in their history but that win, over Dundee United, took place at Celtic Park due to the Commonwealth Games, while their semi-final victory over Aberdeen was staged at Ibrox. The last St Johnstone player to score a goal at Hampden was Daniel McBreen nearly 12 years ago.
The striker put his side ahead in extra time against Rangers in a Scottish Cup semi-final in 2008, after the game finished 0-0 after 90 minutes. Nacho Novo later equalised from the spot for Rangers, with the Ibrox side winning on penalties. They have played at Hampden on two further occasions since then, failing to score in defeats to Rangers again and Motherwell.