Cometh the hour, cometh Craig Conway.
Conway was a Hampden Park hero for the Perth side last month with a goal and an assist to help blow away Hibs in their Betfred Cup semi-final.
The performance came as no surprise to Dods, who had seen the ex-Scotland international produce the goods in the last four of the same competition for the Tangerines against Aberdeen back in 2008 and then write his name in Tannadice folklore with his goal double and man of the match display two years later in Scottish Cup final against Ross County.
Whether it’s from the start or off the bench, Dods can envisage the veteran winger stealing the limelight one more time and playing a match-defining role in Sunday’s clash with Livingston.
“He’s a man for the big occasion,” said the ex-Saints defender.
“I first played against him when he was at Ayr and I was at Inverness. He looked really good that day.
“He missed a lot of football in his first year at Dundee United through injury but the season we finished third and won the Scottish Cup he really came onto his game. He was brilliant in the final – he scored and was man of the match. A lot of clubs were interested in him at the time.
“Craig was really good for Saints against Hibs in the semi-final. There must be something about that big pitch that brings out the best in him.
“Certain players like certain grounds, particularly forward players.
“He’s a confident guy and he’s one of the best crossers of a ball I ever played with. He’s still got that same ability to deliver quality balls into the box off either foot. It’s the sort of pinpoint accuracy strikers, and defenders up for set-pieces, love.
“He has that knack of timing his runs to the back post as well, which he did for his goal in the semi. You might not play him for 90 minutes these days but he’s a match winner. You’d back him to rise to the big occasion again.”
Dods was in the last Saints League Cup final team, when he partnered Alan Kernaghan in the centre of Sandy Clark’s defence against Rangers in 1998.
An unused substitute for United a decade later in the same competition, facing the same club, and then sidelined through injury for the Scottish Cup victory, the former Brechin City boss would never feature in another final.
There was no way we were going to leave ourselves as open.
“I’d only joined Saints that pre-season,” he recalled. “Jim Weir had done his Achilles at the end of the previous season and was out for eight or nine months. So it was brilliant to get into a cup final so soon after signing.
“We played Rangers in the league about four weeks before the final. Paul Kane got sent off after about 10 minutes but we kept having a go and ended up losing 7-0.
“I wouldn’t say it put us on the back foot for the final but we were more cautious going into that game. There was no way we were going to leave ourselves as open.
“They scored early but Nick Dasovic’s goal got us back in and even when they were 2-1 up we were trying our best to build pressure for an equaliser. We were going for it with balls in the box but nothing was falling for us. Rangers defended their lead well.”
He added: “I remember the older players did say that we should make the most of it because it might never happen again.
“There were two finals at United but I didn’t play in either of them.
“In the League Cup, I’d played every game and scored in the semi-final against Aberdeen. We won 4-1.
“The final was five weeks later. I wish it had been played the next week because my form dipped off a bit at the wrong time. Craig Levein ended up picking Garry Kenneth and Lee Wilkie so I was left on the bench against Rangers and we lost on penalties.
“It was the same for Craig Conway. He scored in the semi as well and was another who didn’t start. There were three of us who played most of the season who were dropped.
“That’s the hard choices a manager has to make, though. You can’t be too loyal. Callum (Davidson) will have to have the same mindset – picking the team he thinks will have the best chance of winning the cup for St Johnstone.
“It shows how important it is to keep your form.”