Cup final countdown very different for St Johnstone striker this time around as he fights for starting place against Livingston

Destiny is a powerful force. Nothing and certainly not Dundee United was going to get between Stevie May and a Scottish Cup winner’s medal seven years ago.

St Johnstone striker Stevie May is hoping to see some action in the Betfred Cup final against Livingston  (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
St Johnstone striker Stevie May is hoping to see some action in the Betfred Cup final against Livingston (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

There must have been an excited yelp at Ibrox from whoever realised that the player who had just scored a brace to put St Johnstone into the final at the expense of Aberdeen had in fact done so while wearing a shirt advising when the game would be played: 17 May. They might as well have given the cup to St Johnstone there and then. The promotional opportunities seemed boundless. Chairman Steve Brown certainly didn’t think twice as he gave the signal for shirts to be placed in mass production.

“I don't think we won it just because of me,” said May. “But it was a nice little thing for me, and it sold a few jerseys - the chairman made sure I didn't get any cut of that, you won't be surprised to know!"

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May is still wearing the same shirt but sadly, there’s not much evidence to suggest it will be hanging from one of the starters’ pegs at Hampden tomorrow as St Johnstone strive to win a first League Cup in their history against Livingston.

St Johnstone striker Stevie May shouts out some instructions to teammates during the Scottish Cup final victory over Dundee United n 2014 - it was played on 17 May

He can still play a part and already has, scoring twice in a group stage match against Peterhead. But he has featured only once from the start this year with Chris Kane expected to lead the attack. If manager Callum Davidson does elect to play a second striker, Guy Melamed seems the more likely option.

May, now 28 and in his second spell at the club, still believes he can have a decisive impact. “Definitely,” he said. “The boys have been doing brilliantly and I’ve not been playing the last few games. It is hard to get back because the boys have been doing really well. But the most important thing is getting this win over the line on Sunday. It doesn’t matter who plays or who scores.”

Coming, as they do, from a local boy, these are sentiments you can trust. The fact St Johnstone’s sole Scottish Cup win took place at Celtic Park rather than Hampden due to the upcoming Commonwealth Games did not matter a jot to May – he just wanted the trophy. “They could have given it to me in the basement. As long as I got a touch of it,” he said.

“To be honest, I've got good memories of Celtic Park. For me, we won the cup there and I made my Scotland debut (v England) there as well. It's a great ground. It didn't take anything away from the occasion at all. You maybe even get a little closer to the fans.”

May might yet experience the walk up the Hampden steps to lift a trophy but even then, it will be very different to the norm with no fans in attendance.

The local council have done their best to create some cup final atmosphere around town. Perth bridge has been lit up in blue this week while shops, although closed, have featured widow displays demonstrating their support. Otherwise, the build-up has been very different to the May-inspired frenzy of 2014. “It might help us focus solely on the job at hand,” the striker said.

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