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St Johnstone defender Callum Booth hoping to reprise cup-winning double-act with David Wotherspoon

Callum Booth - standing, far right - and David Wotherspoon - standing, second from the left - celebrate the Hibs Scottish Youth Cup win.
Callum Booth - standing, far right - and David Wotherspoon - standing, second from the left - celebrate the Hibs Scottish Youth Cup win.

St Johnstone have a proven Hampden Park cup final-winning double-act Callum Davidson can call upon at the weekend.

And Callum Booth is hoping that he and David Wotherspoon will get the chance to reprise it on the country’s biggest footballing stage one more time.

Both Saints players were brought through the Hibs academy and both were part of the Easter Road under-19 side that won the Scottish Youth Cup in 2009.

It was a triumph that set the pair on the road to successful professional careers and that will bring them back to the national stadium for a Betfred Cup final against Livingston.

Wotherspoon, the Perth side’s player of the season so far, is a certain starter if fit and Booth is keeping his fingers crossed that he has done enough to catch his manager’s eye with an impressive performance in the recent 3-0 defeat of Motherwell.

“We played Rangers in that final,” said Booth. “They had a good team and we beat them 2-1. We won the under-19 league that season as well. It was a brilliant experience.

“Myself and David were on the left-hand side. Those were good memories.

“Out of our team that won the league and cup double it’s just me, David and Sean Welsh who are still in full-time football. We were the best in Scotland by some distance so it shows how hard it is to make that step-up.

“I remember when the first team at Hibs was struggling we all thought we should be playing but looking back now, you appreciate how big the jump is.

“David was at Hibs from about 15 so we have played with each other for ages and it’s funny that Alistair Stevenson is here as well. He was our youth coach at Hibs for many years.

“David is such an intelligent player, he really is. And I love that he is playing in front of me. He is always showing for the ball and he works back as well, so that helps me out.

“We do seem to have a good understanding and he is probably playing the best football of his career at the moment. He is absolutely flying and doing really well for us.”

Other than a play-off match for Arbroath against Queen’s Park, Booth hasn’t got any further game-time at Hampden under his belt.

“I was in the squad for the Scottish Cup final when Hibs lost 5-1 to Hearts,” he said. “But I knew I wouldn’t be playing.

David Wotherspoon, Danny Galbraith and Callum Booth before the 2012 Scottish Cup final.

“David would have had a chance. He was certainly in and around the team at the time. Being a Hibs fan, it was still hard to take seeing the team lose like that to Hearts, though.”

As well as he has played against Motherwell and Celtic, Booth knows it is far from nailed on that he’ll keep his place on Sunday.

“I’ve come back into the team for the last couple of games after being on the bench for five or six weeks,” he said. “I’ve done OK and the team performances have been good, so I’m happy with the way things have gone. To get a 3-0 win in the build-up to a cup final was brilliant.

“Now we need to wait and see what the gaffer is thinking for his team on Sunday.

“He certainly keeps us on our toes with his team selections. He likes to make a couple of changes here and there.

“There will be a lot of factors that come into his thinking, the opposition being a big one. We’ve got 18 or 19 senior pros and he knows that in most positions he’s got like for like quality. There aren’t too many guaranteed to start.”

I was meant to be in the prime of my career but instead I was sitting in my house unemployed.

A loan spell with Livingston early in his career that didn’t go as planned was character-building for Booth. That type of experience, and the stress of signing for Bury, a club that would soon be expelled from the English Football League, will help him savour this weekend.

“It was a bad time that summer,” he said. “It really was. I was meant to be in the prime of my career but instead I was sitting in my house unemployed. That was tough.

“I’m very thankful to Tommy Wright and St Johnstone for signing me and I’ve loved my time here. It’s a great club.

“You do appreciate the good times even more when you’ve been through something like that. There are so many lows in football. I’m happy with how I’ve bounced back.”

LONG READ: The making of St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson

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