He’s got St Johnstone in his blood and a cup winners’ medal around his neck.
Betfred Cup match winner Shaun Rooney will go down as a Perth legend.
The Saints full-back went one better than his great uncle Benny, who was part of Willie Ormond’s 1969 League Cup final side that was on the wrong end of a 1-0 defeat to Celtic and ironically had his great grandfather Bob Rooney as their physio.
Dementia has cruelly prevented Shaun and Benny from swapping Muirton Park, McDiarmid Park and now Hampden Park memories.
Hopefully the former Inverness Caley Thistle defender’s national stadium heroics will resonate with one of the men who made the recently released ‘Greatest Saints’ book.
In fact, given what Callum Davidson’s marauding wing-back has just achieved, there should be a quick redraft to get him in there as well.
“He (Benny) is my great uncle,” said the Glaswegian whose powerful header was the only goal of the game against Livingston.
Neil Mochan, Bob Rooney, Jock Stein and Sean Fallon on the Celtic bench. pic.twitter.com/cKmaNXqobn
— PictureThis Scotland (@74frankfurt) September 20, 2018
“I don’t know if he watched it as he has dementia but I’m over the moon for myself and my family.
“I heard stories from my great grandpa who was the physio at Celtic at the time and I heard the stories about the European Cup but I didn’t know he (Benny) was as big as he actually is.
“My dad says he doesn’t drink on Sundays so we will see if he has a drink today!”
Semi-final hero Shaun Rooney powers in a header and @StJohnstone lead in the Betfred Cup Final! 💥
And just look at how much it means to Callum Davidson and his players 🔵 pic.twitter.com/aBe8D90qOr
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) February 28, 2021
Rooney’s contribution to Saints’ cup run has been remarkable – scoring in the quarter-final at Dunfermline, the semi-final against Hibs and now in the final.
But when he started the first group game at Kelty Hearts, he was only drafted in to replace Danny McNamara as the on-loan Millwall man was on his travels with the Republic of Ireland under-21s.
“I’ve played in every game of the Betfred,” said the 24-year-old.
“I came to the club under Tommy Wright and I didn’t know what the new gaffer wanted from me.
Recovering from St Johnstone setback
“He brought in Danny McNamara who was excellent and I had to bide my time.
“I tried as hard as I could to get into the team but that Kilmarnock game (when he was subbed after gifting the Rugby Park side their opening goal near the start of the season) killed me a bit.
“I had to bounce back and I did that.
“I had the Betfred Cup games when Danny was away on international duty so I have to thank the manager for playing me in the quarter-final when Danny was there and fit, ready to play.
“He picked me to play and I scored a goal. Danny was away by the semi-final against Hibs so I could relax.
“I just thank the manager for the opportunities he’s given me. He deserves a lot of credit but he could have put me in the side earlier!”
Rooney’s set-piece threat has transformed this St Johnstone team, meaning they can get involved in a tight and stop-start contest such as this and then decide it with a dead-ball.
The 31st minute goal was from Saints’ first corner of the match.
“Jon Guthrie was marking me tight but I gave him a bit of movement,” said Rooney. “A wee slip of the shoulder and I was away!
“It was a brilliant moment and I am absolutely delighted. It was a great header and I don’t know what their keeper was waving at!
“It feels absolutely amazing – you couldn’t write it. I’m delighted with the whole team performance.
Team spirit required to beat Livingston
“Everyone to a man was excellent today.
“When you play Livingston, you need to throw any thoughts of a game plan out of the window. It was all about the fight, a fight for everything.
“It was about working harder than them and to doing whatever was needed.
“It was a bit of a nervous start. Livingston came out and played balls over the top and they were fighting for everything but we were equal to that.
“They had us penned in for a bit but once we got past that we scored our goal and from then on they didn’t have as many chances.
“It was a bit like the semi-final against Hibs. The second half was an open game but I felt we did enough.”
The hero worship of Rooney in houses across Perth has gone off the scale and the reception he and the rest of the Saints cup winners can expect when they are allowed to mingle with supporters again will be quite the sight.
“We needed to create our own atmosphere today,” he said. “That’s why I’m in the changing room with a microphone singing the tunes!
“We just need to enjoy the night and enjoy the occasion.
“Nothing will take the shine off of this. We have worked hard throughout this entire tournament.”