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Buddies dreaming of Hampden cup final joy

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Jack Ross | 11:38 UK time, Monday, 15 March 2010

Every aspiring young footballer dares to dream of the success they will achieve if they're lucky enough to turn professional.

If you are Scottish, then Hampden Park will inevitably feature prominently in these dreams; with visions of pulling on the dark blue jersey of the national side the ultimate aim.

If this eludes you, then a cup final victory surely follows as the next best thing, and, for all the players at St Mirren, this weekend provides us with the opportunity to realise that ambition.

Hampden Stadium, where Jack and his St Mirren team-mates hope to win the Co-operative Insurance Cup final by beating RangersIf I am being honest then our final fixture prior to the final provided the "nightmare" scenario.

A poor performance, both from me individually and the team collectively, saw us lose to a last-minute goal, drop another position in the table and face deserved criticism.

The preservation of the club's SPL status is of paramount importance, something which we are determined to ensure and which will always be our priority.

However, this week all roads lead to Hampden and it's vital we focus all our energy into the cup final, on a game which we believe we can win.

In terms of preparation for such a big game, there isn't a huge amount of change for a player.

The physical preparation will follow a normal routine: with the mental preparation being quite an individual thing for each player in any case.

I always visualise matches and direct opponents for any match I am going to play, and this visualisation starts as early as five or six days before the actual game.

For the cup final, the mental picture is made a little easier in that I experienced a Hampden cup occasion last season, when we reached the Scottish Cup semi-final.

My opinion of the stadium is that it's one of those grounds which is more impressive from the playing surface than it looks from the stands.

Having watched many games at the ground, I was aware of the atmosphere it can generate. But from pitch level it's a fantastic arena to be given the opportunity to play in.

Another factor is that the distance the pitch is from the stands can give the impression that the surface is bigger than it actually is.

While the dimensions of the pitch are large, there are several similar-sized pitches in the SPL, and yet they don't feel as demanding to play on.

In a similar vein, I believe Wembley is notorious for how it saps energy and causes tired legs.

But again, I think this is more to do with its surroundings and the occasions on which matches are staged at the ground than it being a significantly bigger pitch than others in England.

So, if the preparation is correct, and the arena is ideal for success, then what stands in the way of black and white ribbons adorning the cup on Sunday?

Only the stand-out team of the season, the SPL leaders: a team unfamiliar with defeat and a side we will have to be at our very best to overcome.

However, we have taken a difficult route to the final; have had to defeat three SPL clubs along the way and are determined not to let all that hard work go to waste by not providing a great performance on Sunday.

We know we'll receive great support from our fans and there will undoubtedly be times in the game when their backing will drive us on.

Indeed, one of my memories of the last trip to Hampden was seeing the number of St Mirren fans as we made the coach journey to the stadium.

It was a sight to inspire and I can't wait to see it again on Cup Final Day.

Lifting a trophy at Hampden: sometimes dreams come true!


  • Comment number 1.

    Best of luck, hope it is a decent game.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good luck to you and all the lads Jack. I remember the Scottish Cup win of 1987 and Paisley was absolutely crazy that day. A cheeky winner in the 89th minute would be great if you can visualise that.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'd like to say you're in with a shout, but after more 'human errors' going inn Rangers' favour at thw eeekend, its seems like a bit of a forgone conclusion.

  • Comment number 4.

    You'll need all of the luck and a strong referee to win it!

  • Comment number 5.

    Please, please, please bring home the trophy!

    There's nothing I'd like to see more than for St. Mirren to beat Rangers on Sunday!

    All the best - and here's hoping that this will help us get our act together in the league as well!

    Come on ye Saintssssss!

  • Comment number 6.

    Great post Jack.You're right all roads do lead to Hampden and hopefully they'll lead back from Hampden with a beautiful shiny cup in tow !!!Would be interested to hear if this week's training schedule will differ from any other week.
    I'm sure we'll all forgive Saturday's result if that Cup comes back to Paisley on Sunday. Please know that we are all behind you and that there's no reason why we can't beat them. I'm sure that last year's semi will stand you all in good stead. But whatever happens enjoy every moment of the occasion because we fans certainly will - most players never get that chance. All the best to you and the rest of the boys.

  • Comment number 7.

    when do the likes of us get this chance?
    should we go there feeling it might be beyond us, they are so strong, do we deserve to win?


    we should go as Cup Finalists. one of only two teams in the country to have earned the right to compete for the cup. and we should go with the singular belief that WE CAN, WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH, and WE WILL be the team with the funny hats on at the end of the game.

    when we score, we are winning the cup!

  • Comment number 8.

    I think the main thing for St Mirren is belief.

    So many times we see teams get in this situation and freeze but why should they?

    Are rangers that good or that intimidating i certainly dont think so.

    If St Mirren can cut out the errors and be brave and not invite rangers on to them then i can see them winning it.

    Oh and lets not forget as was mentioned above that the so call un - biased referees dont have one or two of those "human errors" that seem to benefit rangers on a regular basis

  • Comment number 9.

    If the players, the management + the fans believe we can win then nothing can stop us. Rangers have their flaws, and if we can exploit them then we are on our way to victory.

    If every player works together + supports each other then a victory can be ours.

    We beat them last year, drew with them this year with many chances to win and also lost narrowly in the cup at Ibr*x. If we take our chances then who knows?

    The fans will be behind the team from the word go, and if you Jack, and the other at players think that you want to win the cup than you have no idea how much all the St.Mirren fans want to win it too. Especially us that have never seen St.Mirren win a cup & would do anything to see us beat R*ng*rs on Sunday.

    The team has earned themselves a place in this final, if we don't believe we can win they what's the point of us turning up? If we have the belief and the metal ability to see it through, anything is possible. Although no one in the team has been playing at their best recently this is the best time to bounce back. At our best we can beat ANYONE else in the SPL. If we beat R*ng*rs in the cup on Sunday, I am positive that this will give us the push to avoid relegation.

    Jack, you know how well you + the rest of the team can play, all we ask is that you turn up on Sunday with a positive attitude, put 100% into everything you do + play how you know you can.


  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    Come on Jack and the boys. We can win this if we beleive. I can't wait for the celebrations in Paisley on Sunday night. Come on ye Saints!!!!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Signed up just to say all the best for Sunday Jack, to the whole team and Gus and Andy of course! Last year's semi final was disappointing so go out and give them a game - us fans will provide good vocal support. We can win this its one game, think Falkirk last season - what a day, what a support and what a game!
    Hope your next blog is disscussing winning the cup!!!

    C'mon ye saints!

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi Jack

    it is good to hear so many Buddies being enthusiastic and optimistic about the final on here. I think we can sneak it too if everyone plays near the top of their game, I think we've run Rangers close in the previous meetings this term and have been a bit unlucky with the final results.

    As well as wishing the squad and management team all the best I also want to let you and the rest of the squad know I am an angry Saints fan as well. The Cup form and performances have been great this year and last season too - the league form has been the opposite. A lot of fans are annoyed that thanks to players leaking gripes to the national press a lot of the chat after an amazing semi-final victory was about the bonus row, and now before the final most of the build-up coverage around St Mirren's preparations have been about the bonus row still not being sorted and the row with the directors over the after-match party. Whoever has leaked those stories has made the club look bad on the national stage, and the tactic of trying to embarrass the directors into seeing things the players way over bonuses doesn't seem to have paid off.

    Fans are ecstatic about the final and appreciate how well Gus and the team have done to reach our first league cup final in 55 years. We hope you make history for the club on Sunday, and we all reckon you deserve to get a share of the profits the club will make from the cup run and a party if you win.

    But a lot of fans also think the players need to get real. If it is true that the club would have posted a huge loss without the cup run money and sale of Stephen McGinn this year maybe the players shouldn't be fighting for months with the board demanding they deserve more money for playing well in 5 games so far when the league form (29 games) has been honking in 50% of the games so far. In the SPL we've been played off the park every time we've met newly-promoted St Johnstone (who are a good side) this season, and outclassed, out-thought, out-fought by Hamilton in every SPL meeting this season - we've yet to score a goal against the lowest-scoring team in the league and have taken 1 point from 9 against them. We're 11th in the SPL and haven't won an SPL game in our last 11 attempts... maybe this is not the time for players to be going to the press and moaning about bonuses or parties?

    Sort out the performances, amount of shots we have on goal, win some SPL games and it won't just be at Hampden where the team get roared on by a decent Saints support - you'll get in the league battles and arguments with the board too!

  • Comment number 14.

    Jack - I am sure other St Mirren fans will agree when I say you are our most consistant player. I think you deserve a goal in the cup final - please can you include that in your pre match visualisation? Any kind of goal - but we do like it best when cut inside and shoot!

    Good luck for the match, we'll be cheering you on from the hampden stands.


  • Comment number 15.

    Paranoid Celtic fans - they get everywhere.

    Hopefully a good game with a Rangers victory.

    Failing a good game a bad one with a Rangers victory.

    A Rangers victory.

  • Comment number 16.

    Probably a close game with a Rangers win. I hope that it is a good game and I hope that you play well. But as a Bluenose, I hope that you dont return with the cup!

  • Comment number 17.

    rangers are there for the taking and few would argue .
    i noticed a reference to falkirk v st mirren at the end of last season , i will say if st mirren can reproduce the first half an hour of that game then it could be interesting , st mirren exploded out the traps that day, i was at that game , i wasn't to sure about the sending off that day. it was certainly controvertial, never an elbow .
    anyway , it'll be interesting if bougerra doesn't play , he's been the one player all year that stands out for rangers , he covers david weir superbly but everytime i see someone play weir to feet and run's him , he struggles , football should always be played at pace and weir's pace and has gone . almost half his tackles are late . he should be the weak link .
    i hope it's a good game , scottish football needs something to shout about apart from referee's so i hope it's a game to remember .

  • Comment number 18.

    Jack, best of luck to you and the whole team on Sunday. Rangers are solid but not invincible. I am sure the guys can recapture the intensity and focus of the semi-final match to pull off a deserved win.

    I still don’t know where I’m watching it from yet. I have a ticket and, alas, a fixture clash. Our match secretary’s trying to move heaven and earth to rearrange a quarter final for our team but whether we’re in some as yet undecided pub in Aberdeen or actually at Hampden, we’ll be cheering on the Saints!

  • Comment number 19.

    It will be tough task but I believe you have to take your chances. It will be tight but if you have the belief dreams really can come true.

    Go on Saints and create History!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    Best of luck to you and the team, play positive and play to our strengths and we will have a really chance to get at their back 4.....
    Saints fans believe you can win, we will support to loud and proud!!!!
    Mon the Saints!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Just want to say Sunday is a special day regardless of the result. Magnificent achievement by all. Tactics are enjoyment.
    In saying that I will be a nervous wreck.

  • Comment number 22.

    re: #18 Match in Aberdeen cancelled. Now able to watch the mighty Buddies. Looking forward to it immensely, it's going to be a wonderful day.

    Good luck!

  • Comment number 23.

    good luck Jack, time for you all to start taking the chances you create ,get tore in from the first whistle right thru to the last. come on you saint's

    learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow


  • Comment number 24.

    Jack, another goal like the one you and Billy conjured up in the semi finals would mean the world to alot of supporters of the provincial clubs as well as us Buddies. I hope our support gets behind you and the lads the way the bloggers have responded and we have a day to remember. Enjoy your day, keep the faith


  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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