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Livingston vs St. Johnstone. Scottish League Cup Final.

Hampden Park.

Livingston 0

    St. Johnstone 1

    • S Rooney (32nd minute)

    Livingston 0-1 St Johnstone: Shaun Rooney seals first Scottish League Cup win for The Saints

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 28: St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson lifts the Betfred Cup trophy  during the Betfred Cup final between Livingston and St Johnstone at Hampden Stadium on February 28, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)..**please note image is FREE for first use 1:21
    St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson praises his side for the win and vows to 'celebrate properly' when it is safe to do so

    St Johnstone won the Scottish League Cup for the first time in their 137-year history as Shaun Rooney's first-half header sealed a 1-0 victory over Livingston at Hampden Park.

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    The towering right-back held off John Guthrie to power a header into the bottom corner, beyond the despairing dive of Robbie McCrorie from Craig Conway's corner, much to the joy of his manager Callum Davidson.

    It was Rooney's fifth goal of the campaign, three of which have come in this competition including one against Hibernian in the semi-final, leading to St Johnstone christening him as the 'Bellshill Cafu' on their Twitter account.

    Although Livingston are seven points clear of The Saints with a game in hand in the Scottish Premiership table, they were second-best throughout the contest, failing to seriously test Zander Clark in goal.

    Player Ratings

    Livingston: McCrorie (6), Devlin (6), Ambrose (5), Guthrie (5), Serrano (4), Holt (5), Lawson (4), Bartley (4), Pittman (5), Mullin (6), Robinson (6)

    Subs: Sibbald (5), Forrest (5), Reilly (5), Emmanuel-Thomas (5)

    St Johnstone: Clark (6), Rooney (9), Kerr (8), Gordon (7), McCart (7), Booth (6), McCann (6), Craig (6), Conway (6), Wotherspoon (7), Kane (6)

    Subs: May (5)

    Man of the match: Shaun Rooney

    Before the game, Davidson insisted that if St Johnstone were able to match their performance from their 3-0 win over Hibernian in the semi-final, they would give themselves a chance of lifting the trophy. It may have been a less emphatic scoreline, but Davidson's players were well worthy of their victory, dominating the game after a scrappy opening quarter.

    Livingston's form under David Martindale has been eye-catching and it was they who had the game's first big moment. The fit-again forward Scott Robinson did well to cushion a high, looping ball into the path of Josh Mullin on the edge of the box and his controlled volley on the outside of his right boot forced a fine stop from Clark after 17 minutes.

    From that point on, though, it was virtually one-way traffic. Just past the half-hour mark, St Johnstone made the breakthrough as Rooney held off the challenge of Guthrie before impressively generating sufficient power to direct his header into the net via the inside of the post.

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    Perhaps buoyed by that goal, Rooney attempted an ambitious effort from distance in first-half stoppage time that required the intervention of McCrorie in goal. That strike hinted at The Saints' growing confidence and they should have doubled their advantage at the start of the second period.

    Team news

    Callum Davidson made just one change for St Johnstone as Craig Conway came into the side at the expense of Guy Melamed. Experienced midfielder Murray Davidson was unable to feature after failing to recover from a calf problem in time. David Martindale brought Steve Lawson, Marvin Bartley and Scott Robinson into his starting line-up with Craig Sibbald, Alan Forrest and Gavin Reilly all making way.

    The lively David Wotherspoon was picked out on the edge of six-yard-box by Alistair McCann, but his scuffed effort was parried by McCrorie with the loose ball just evading Christoper Kane who would have had a tap-in had the ball spun in a different direction. Shortly after Jamie McCart beat McCrorie to the ball from a corner, only for the covering Efe Ambrose to make a crucial, goal-saving intervention.

    After failing to add a second goal, St Johnstone noticeably retreated further backwards in order to protect their advantage and they coped admirably with Livingston's aerial onslaught from set-pieces and throw-ins, Jason Kerr, Liam Gordon and McCart, standing firm at the heart of their backline.

    Martindale made four changes during the second half in a bid to wrestle the game back in his side's favour but it was to no avail as St Johnstone held firm to secure their second major trophy, following on from their 2014 Scottish FA Cup final success.

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 28: St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson lifts the Betfred Cup trophy  during the Betfred Cup final between Livingston and St Johnstone at Hampden Stadium on February 28, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)..**please note image is FREE for first use 1:21
    St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson praises his side for the win and vows to 'celebrate properly' when it is safe to do so
    0:21
    Livingston manager David Martindale wants his side to use the defeat as motivation to finish the Scottish Premiership season strongly

    Man of the match - Shaun Rooney

    The man for the big occasion. Shaun Rooney was superb as St Johnstone booked their place at Hampden against Hibernian in the semi-final and was their key player again for the main event.

    Aside from his match-winning goal, Rooney was a thorn in Livingston's side all afternoon, with his rampaging runs from wing-back giving the out-of-position Marvin Bartley a torrid time.

    Rooney showed plenty of attacking endeavour throughout but also helped out defensively as Livingston's pressure mounted during the second half.

    Shaun Rooney celebrates after his goal against Livingston
    Image: Shaun Rooney was the match-winner in the Scottish League Cup final

    What's next?

    St Johnstone are next in action at Hamilton while Livingston will look to bounce back from this setback when they host league leaders Rangers, live on Sky Sports, with both games kicking off at 6pm on Wednesday night.

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