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From own-goal despair to cup final dreams

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Jack Ross | 12:46 UK time, Monday, 1 February 2010

It is fair to say that the world of football is not often complimented on its extensive vocabulary, and therefore it is ironic that one of the most apt and popular recent additions to the English dictionary had its origins in our sport.

Iain Dowie's "bounce-back-ability" is relevant to so many footballers and football teams the length and breadth of the country on a weekly basis because there are always winners and losers, and always heroes and villains!

The latter in both cases must demonstrate resolve and must aim to provide a positive reaction to the disappointment they have suffered.

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You may have guessed that this was leading to the events at Easter Road on Saturday, where my injury-time own-goal meant defeat to Hibernian, and the loss of a hard-earned point for St Mirren.

I must confess that no matter your age, experience or significance of the match, the desolation felt at such an incident is never diminished.

What does change, however, is how you manage these disappointments, and, even more importantly, how you respond to them.

Such setbacks can vary hugely, from result-changing moments to playing a bad pass during a game, and thus players can sometimes have days or weeks to mull them over and prepare a reaction, or in match situations only a matter of seconds before they must bounce back.

In each scenario and the many in between, players must display character and bravery and those who do, coupled with obvious talent, are those who prevail, and who maintain a career at the top level.

The point regarding courage is one which intrigues me, as often we associate it with aggression, and yet in my opinion, in football it is found in those players who demand the ball, those prepared to try passes, those prepared to stretch that extra yard to defend and so on.

The players who are prepared to do this on a weekly basis are in some cases the first to be criticised, and therefore must respond positively on a regular basis.

A football match can provide hiding places for those who want to seek them out; for others it is their place of work, their arena, and regardless of disappointments they will always be the players their team-mates respect and rely on.

At St Mirren, we have the perfect opportunity to overcome Saturday's defeat in the shape of a Co-operative Insurance Cup semi-final against Hearts, with the massive incentive of a Hampden cup final.

There are those who belittle the significance of this tournament and question its continued existence, and yet players are amazed at this opinion.

For many, it provides a realistic possibility of silverware, and a chance to become part of the folklore at their respective club.

We are acutely aware of those who have brought previous glory to St Mirren - after all, we pass a celebratory picture of the 1987 Scottish Cup winners every time we enter the stadium and are desperate to emulate their achievements.

The preparations for such a big game will not change much from normal, in a sense due to the frequency of fixtures at the present time.

In that respect, we will train on Sunday and Monday before meeting on Tuesday for the match.

There is no question that nerves are felt, and adrenaline flows before a player takes the field for any match, but prior to the semi-final there will be that extra edge to the dressing room as we prepare to kick off and play our way to the cup final.

If we achieve our goal, another not-quite-so revered football phrase will be dusted down, as hopefully we'll all be "over the moon"!


  • Comment number 1.

    Come on thee Saintsssssss!

    I hope somehow every player bounces back from the rather lackluster performances we've had to watch and plays out of their skin to send us into a cup final! Pleaseeeeee.

  • Comment number 2.

    I feel for you Jack after that own goal on Saturday, I look forward to witnessing your hat-trick tomorrow to make up for it!

    On the point about the League Cup's significance, fans would fel it has a lot more relevance if the semi-final wasn't played on a Tuesday night. This does nothing to improve the tournament's standing in the eye of the supporters.

  • Comment number 3.

    I have to say Jack. It was unfortunate your own goal on Saturday but I'd hardly be telling the truth if i wasn't jumping for joy when the ball hit the back of the net. Hopefully you can do us 2 favours in a matter of a few days by dumping the wee team out the cup.

    Bouncebackability is such a big thing in football. How you react to the downs in football can shape games and seasons. Teams that are fighting relegation who have stronger attitudes and charcters can prevail over teams that can't take defeat well. Football is a lot more in the mind than people think. Most players in the SPL aren't too different in individual talent especially outside the O.F. it's just about having the belief. John Hughes has turned us around just by installing the belief in the side and i believe that is a large part of why we are riding so high this season.

    Anyway all the best in the cup and i hope you gub that lot.

  • Comment number 4.

    Come on you Saints. Will be cheering from England tonight when those Saints go marching in!!!!

    I would love to come up for the final.

    Make history. Go for it Jack!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Oh yes!!!!
    Now for the final!!!!!

    Come you Saints..

    Oh when the Saints go marching in!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Fantastic result tonight Jack. Will be bringing my four year old son back from France for his first Final. Well done to you all.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'll give you that one Jack, made up for your own goal! (and the offside trap against Motherwell and Rangers)!

    Now make sure you're doing your best to lift that trophy come March 21st!

  • Comment number 8.

    Well done Jack, you truely deserve to be in the final as to the rest of the team and management. Every single one of you were superb tonight. Make us proud again on the 21st of March please!

  • Comment number 9.

    Jack, congratulations for living up to the promise you made in print.

    Tuesday night was tremendous: it more than made up for recent bad luck and disappointments and was probably the most enthralling Saints display since the Falkirk game in May.

    It was really evident in the moments before kick-off that there was an extra edge to the team. It would be great to see that intensity replicated in other games.

    Did you enjoy the wing back role more than your usual full back position? Fingers crossed we'll play the same way on Saturday too, after all 3-5-2 was how we shaped up last time we beat Rangers.

    Good luck on Saturday

  • Comment number 10.

    Well done Jacko, you & the rest of the team played amazing just like you said! I've forgotten about the hibs game already ;D

  • Comment number 11.

    The last time the Saints were in the League Cup final as 1956. lost 2-1 to Aberdeen.

    Interesting facts from that year:
    Suez Crisis caused by the Egyptian Nationalization of the Suez Canal
    Israel attacks Egypt during Suez Crisis and Britain and France Bomb Egypt
    Following UN resolution condemning the invasion supported by the United States Britain, France and Israel Withdraw forces from Egypt.
    Suez Crisis causes petrol rationing in Britain.
    The First C.N.D. Marches take place at Aldermarston
    Rock and Roll Dance Craze sweeps the World
    Prince Ranier of Monaco marries Grace Kelly
    Pakistan becomes Islamic Republic
    Alabama Bus segregation laws declared illegal by US Supreme Court
    Cuban revoltionaries including Fidel Castro land in Cuba at the start of the Cuban Revolution
    US Carries Out H Bomb Tests Bikini Atoll
    Warsaw Pact troops invade Hungary during the The Hungarian October Revolution .
    Elvis Presley releases his first hit
    Premium Bonds introduced in England to encourage saving
    British naval diver "Buster" Crabb Found Dead following covert diving operation on Russian Cruiser
    The Summer Olympics are held in Melbourne, Australia
    Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 signed into law on 29th June for the construction of 41,000 miles of interstate highways over a 20-year period
    16 year old Pelejoins Brazil's Santos team

    I was born... That makes me really feel old.....

  • Comment number 12.

    Well done Jack and the rest of the lads...fanastic performance and the formation worked a treat!!!
    Big game on saturday so lets keep the momentum going...
    Here's to the Final in March and a time for legends... :-)

  • Comment number 13.

    What a difference a few days make, Jack.

    Congratulations on your semi-final win. I can now watch the Final in peace, knowing that Hearts' season is effectively OVER.

    All the best for the Final, Jack - go on and WIN it, mate!

  • Comment number 14.

    Thanks again for the responses.

    The point made re players mentality is correct, as it is a definetely a factor in why some players and/or teams are more successful than others. The need to display this mental strength is not only evident after a defeat or bad pass/cross etc. but equally so on the back of winning a game or scoring a goal and so on.

    If as a player/team you can find the balance between being strong enough to overcome adversity and grounded enough to handle success then it should help you achieve positive results.

    With respect to my own position I was just delighted to play a part in the semi final success but I do enjoy playing wide in a five man midfield (although it did take me a few minutes to rediscover my wing back legs!)

  • Comment number 15.


    I watched the game yesterday and you played another blinder as a wing back. In fact all the team played solid.

    I thought that the Saints were very unlucky. I am still confident you can go to Ibrox and come away with a result.

    Andy Millen did make a very important point. The league survival is still more important that the cups. But it would be great to get your hands on a cup!!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Would it be fair to say you were mentally unprepared to play for Hartlepool?

  • Comment number 17.

    You played great at the weekend with the rest of the team.
    Just wondering if you would sign a new contract at the mighty saints along with billy mehmet and andy dorman.Do you think they will sign?

    Best of luck for the cup final and the league

  • Comment number 18.


    I thnk we should try to make a jack ross song



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