St Johnstone's Shaun Rooney thanks Queen's Park after historic League Cup win

St Johnstone's Shaun Rooney with the Scottish League Cup
Shaun Rooney spent two years with Hampden-based Queen's Park

Shaun Rooney says starting his career with Queen's Park helped him steer St Johnstone to a historic, first Scottish League Cup victory at Hampden Park.

The "delighted" 24-year-old defender scored in the semi-final against Hibernian before grabbing the only goal in the final against Livingston.

It comes five years after he left the Hampden-based Spiders.

"I love coming back here," Rooney said. "Obviously I played here with Queen's Park - happy days for me."

Rooney had to be patient after switching to McDiarmid Park from Inverness Caledonian Thistle last summer.

But, since coming into the side after Millwall recalled on-loan Danny McNamara in January, he has scored five goals, including four in the last eight games.

Asked about Callum Davidson leading St Johnstone to their first-ever League Cup final win, he said: "What a manager - what a gaffer."

He then joked: "It's just a pity he didn't play me at the start of the season or we might have been higher up the league."

Livingston manager David Martindale had switched Marvin Bartley from his normal central midfield berth to wide left to try to combat Rooney's threat.

"I was surprised to see him out there," the defender said. "I had a great battle out there with him - probably my toughest of the season so far.

"He matched me in every way and wound me up and pulled me. It was a hard battle but well fought."

Hardest few days of my career - Davidson

Midfielder Murray Davidson paid tribute to Rooney, "a great person and great character", but admitted to heartache at missing the game through injury.

Davidson, who also missed Saints' Scottish Cup final victory seven years ago, said: "2014 was probably easier because I ruptured my tendon in January, so round and round I was missing it and I didn't feel a part of it.

"This time, I played in the group stage and the semi-final against Hibs, so I've been a big part of it this time. It was the hardest few days I've ever had in my football career to pull out so late - more so for my family, my wee girl, people like that because it meant so much for them.

"There's a bit of me that feels I've let them down, but I'll get over it."

Davidson revealed it "was touch and go" until midweek whether he would be fit in time to play.

"I was told it was a six-week injury and, if I had another week, I would have been pretty much 100%," he said.

Davidson was touched by his team-mates' insistence that he be part of the trophy ceremony.

"I felt I didn't need to go up because I've obviously not played, but they made me go up and it means a lot. I feel part of it," he added.

"I'm devastated not to make today, but I'm absolutely buzzing for my team-mates."

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