St Johnstone setpiece hero Scott Tanser believes they issued a significant statement by ending Livingston’s long unbeaten run.
The McDiarmid men will go toe-to-toe with Livi in the Betfred Cup final at the end of the month and there could hardly have been a better way to prepare for that than by being the first team to beat them in 14 attempts.
Tanser gave Saints the lead in West Lothian just seconds before the half-time break with a curling freekick then Shaun Rooney made it 2-0 with a terrific header on 51 minutes.
Dave Martindale’s side got one back through Scott Pittman with seven minutes remaining but the points deservedly went back to Perth.
There is still some crucial league business to take care of before they head to Hampden on February 28 but Tanser admitted this was a significant result with the silverware showdown in mind.
He said: “It is a big one because we have ended their unbeaten run, which was impressive.
“Someone had to do it.
“With it coming up to the cup final as well we have made a statement that we are going to stand up to them.
“Hopefully, we will bring the trophy home.
“We had a team talk before the game and we knew it would be a battle.
“We knew that as long as we matched them (physically) our quality would show through.
“By coming out with the three points we have definitely shown that.”
It was a sweet strike from Tanser, who punished Livi after their defender Aaron Taylor-Sinclair had fouled Chris Kane just outside the box.
He said: “I practice freekicks a lot because I’m on them so I’m ready for them when they come along.
“I spotted a gap in the wall and, personally, I thought the keeper gave me too much room.
“I spotted the gap and I knew if I could get it over the wall and hit it with pace it was going in and that’s what happened.
“When you get too much room it’s quite easy to direct it.
“It was a massive goal because it was just before half time and it gave us a boost and a lead to hold on to.
“Then we scored and went 2-0 up and it was about seeing the game out.”
The victory not only boosted Saints for the cup clash but also provided a real Premiership pick-me-up for the team that sits in eighth spot.
With sixth-placed St Mirren and seventh-placed Dundee United both winning on Saturday, they kept pace with them and remain just a single point behind the Tangerines.
They also opened up a five-point gap on Motherwell in ninth position.
Tanser is still looking up the table rather than down, saying: “I think there are only two points in it (between them and the Buddies) and our aim is the top half – we definitely think we are a top-six team.
“We had a slow start to the season but it’s very close now.”
Meanwhile, manager Callum Davidson gave an update on midfielder Murray Davidson’s chances of playing at Hampden.
He said: “Murray is 50-50 for the final.
“He is a quick healer so hopefully he will be back in time for it.”