Even in a season when St Johnstone have won their first ever League Cup, they still have the power to surprise their manager with an ability to win a game of football in the most stunning of ways.
Callum Davidson admitted that he thought his team were out of the Scottish Cup when James Tavernier scored a goal with only four minutes left of extra-time at Ibrox.
But he, and everybody else watching the quarter-final against Rangers, hadn’t counted on his goalkeeper coming up for a last throw of the dice corner, getting his head to it and setting up Chris Kane for a dramatic equaliser.
ST JOHNSTONE EQUALISE IN THE 120TH MINUTE! 😱😱
Goalkeeper Zander Clark flicks it on and Chris Kane slots it home! 🔵⚪
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) April 25, 2021
Then Saints kept their hopes of a domestic double alive – and scuppered those of their opponents – by holding their nerve in a penalty shoot-out.
They scored all four of their spot-kicks and Clark had more heroics left in him, saving two.
It was an incredible finale.
“My players were fantastic,” said Davidson. “I’d have been really proud of them even if we’d lost 1-0.
“We didn’t just sit in. We tried to have a go.
“To concede with a few minutes to go of the 120 minutes against the top side in the country, you think: ‘That’s us out’.
“Big Zander has come up and got on the end of the cross to help us get the equaliser – that’s why he plays head tennis with us, he tells me!
“Penalties can go either way but fortunately they went for us.
“The players showed their character again. I’m so pleased for them.”
It isn’t often that a keeper is remembered for an assist rather than two penalty saves but it was that kind of night at Ibrox.
“The end of the game will be something he’ll remember for the rest of his life,” said Davidson.
“The first penalty was crucial. It was a great save and I thought he was outstanding all game. He pulled off brilliant saves when we needed them.
“All our penalties were really good – led by Liam (Craig) again.”
Saints are now just two games away from being cup double winners but Davidson was doing his best to not look too far ahead at what that would mean in terms of club history.
“I’ve got to try and be calm and level headed,” he said. “We’re just in a semi-final and we’ve given ourselves a chance of getting to another final.
“Rangers are a top class side with top class players and I’m so proud of the achievement tonight.”
Steven Gerrard was full of praise for Saints.
He said: “This was a tough game tonight and credit to St Johnstone, so congratulations to them.
“They defended really well, they were organised, they were stubborn.
“But we kept asking a lot of questions. We kept trying to create and I think over the course of 90 minutes and the 120 it was us who probably deserved to win it.
“But cup football doesn’t work like that and you don’t always get what you deserve.
“One thing that is crucial is the final moments when you get yourselves in front.
“We got the breakthrough with a fantastic goal from James.
“We needed to manage the ball better high up by the corner flags. We needed to be further up the pitch, pressing. Maybe stopping the game and being clever.
“We didn’t do that well enough, it led to a corner and then someone who is six foot eight for some reason is free in the box. That can’t happen.
“That’s on me, that’s on us and we have to accept responsibility for that.”