Craig Conway's Hampden charms as both a St Johnstone and Dundee United player

There is something about Hampden that seems to agree with Craig Conway – whether empty or full.

St Johnstone’s Craig Conway with the League Cup following the final victory in February that gave him yet another sweet Hampden memory. Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

It is little surprise the 36-year-old seems champing at the bit to return to the national stadium for his St Johnstone side’s Scottish Cup semi-final against St Mirren. It could hardly be any other way when on his two visits to Glasgow’s famous south side bowl this year, he scored and had an assist in the 3-0 League Cup semi-final slaying of Hibs, and then created the goal that snared the subsequent 1-0 final success over Livingston.

The victory scenes at a deserted Hampden ten weeks ago may have been strange, but Conway knows what it is to deliver when the stadium is packed. He did that in May 2010, with two goals for Dundee United in their 3-0 thumping of Ross County in the Scottish Cup final.

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Conway has known disappointment in the arena, but has never lost a game there. Twice penalties shoot-out didn’t go United’s way in his time with the club. He hit the post in a League Cup final penalty shoot-out loss to Rangers in March 2008… ten months after the Tannadice men had been ousted from the semi-finals of the competition following an epic shoot-out against Celtic, but the good far outweighs any bad. Including one of only two starts across his seven-cap career, in a friendly draw with the US in November 2013.

“I really enjoy playing at Hampden,” said the midfielder. “I've got so many happy memories, it's one of those grounds I feel really good at. I've had some great days there and I'm looking forward to doing it again. More of the same would be brilliant. I've had some great days out there.”

Conway doesn’t know what the future holds beyond his current one-year deal in Perth. He is simply pinching himself about what he has packed in to this season, following his move from Blackburn Rovers. “If you had said we could bag one cup and and be in the semi-finals of the other, I wouldn’t have believed you,” he said, with the club also targeting a fifth-place Premiership finish in the next week. Such days, he didn’t entirely think were gone in the winter of his career, but more that the chances of them “slimmer and slimmer”.

“I just want to enjoy the games we've got left. I've had some niggles so I'm focused on getting back on the pitch and playing,” he said. “I'm slightly different to a lot of the lads, I'm not stressed about it. I'll speak to the manager when the time's right. I want to play on for as long as I can. I feel good body-wise. Once you're retired, you're retired. But I don't want to be one of these players who hang on to the bitter end. “I knew coming here I'm not 21 any more. So I need to look at my own expectations of how many games I can play. I feel when I have played – aside from one or two games – I've done myself justice.”

Especially at Hampden.

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