There will never be another Ibrox for Zander Clark.
But the St Johnstone goalkeeper who will always be remembered for his last-gasp contribution to the Perth club’s most dramatic equaliser ever is quite content to be back making important game-defining contributions in the more familiar surroundings of his own box.
Clark’s first-half save to deny Lee Erwin at point-blank range was a significant sliding-doors moment in Saints’ Scottish Cup semi-final victory over St Mirren.
This time, the goal glory was left to others.
👋 Morning, @StJohnstone fans!
— Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) May 10, 2021
“It came from the switch of play and it was a lovely first-time cross,” he said.
“It’s one of those where you just need to move your feet across and get something on the ball.
“Thankfully I managed to get a hand on it. I don’t know how it’s managed to stick but it stayed out.
“It was a vital moment in the game to keep the score level and it gave us a platform to build on.”
And he was actually close to not being on the pitch at all.
“I was touch and go,” said Clark. “I’d hurt my toe in some weird celebration.
“The best thing to do was not to play in the Hibs game to let it settle. We did everything we could and thankfully I was fit to play in the semi-final.
“Moments like this don’t come around too often in your career. It was the kind of game you want to make sure you can play in.
“It was just a shame I didn’t manage to assist Kano this time!
“His was a typical striker’s goal at Ibrox and again he got himself in the right position.
“Sometimes if you’re not at the game his hard work goes unnoticed.
“He runs off the ball, harasses defenders and can get something out of nothing. His hold-up play has been excellent.
“He has had to be patient but the manager has got great belief in him. It’s great seeing him pop up with goals.”
For all that St Mirren bombarded the Saints goal in search of a late equaliser, Clark didn’t have a save to make.
“Credit to the boys how they dealt with the last 10 or 15 minutes,” he said. “Winning headers and making blocks.
“I would imagine it would be some sort of record with the amount of balls that came into the box.
“St Mirren’s goal probably made us even stronger in terms of having the determination not to let them win another header.
“Whether it was free-kicks, corners or Joe Shaughnessy with his long throw, we dealt with everything after the goal brilliantly.
“It was certainly a nervy end but the win was thoroughly deserved.”
Clark hasn’t started day-dreaming about a cup double but he has let his mind wander back to when he was coming through the ranks at McDiarmid Park.
“A memory came up the other day going back years ago,” he said.
“I was thinking this could have been my last journey to Perth when I was going in for contract talks.
“But now I’ve found myself playing a lot of games for the club, been part of European football and have won a trophy.
“It has been a special season.
“At the start we were playing nice stuff but it just wasn’t going for us.
“We turned it around, won the League Cup, got top six and are now Scottish Cup finalists.
“It’s a season that will certainly live with me until my last breath. Words can’t really describe it.
“I was speaking to my old boy and he was saying I would’ve dreamt of this. But I don’t know if I could’ve dreamt of this. It’s so surreal.
“But it’s something we need to cherish.”