It is “unbelievable” that St Johnstone’s cup heroes haven’t been in the Scotland conversation, according to Geoff Brown.
The former chairman, who had tears running down his face when the Perth club completed the double at Hampden Park on Saturday, has seen a few Saints stars overlooked down the years when they had a strong case for a call-up.
And after the likes of Shaun Rooney, Jason Kerr, Zander Clark, Liam Gordon and Jamie McCart didn’t even get close to Steve Clarke’s squad for the European Championships, the current crop are going to have to play the long game as well.
“I can’t believe not one of the players at St Johnstone have even had a whisper of being called into the Scotland squad,” said Brown. “I find that unbelievable.
“It might have been different over a full season.
“But I think it has a lot to do with the size of the club.
“But if they continue in this vein, they have to get international recognition.”
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) May 24, 2021
Saints played at the national stadium four times this season and only conceded one goal.
“The back five and the keeper are all big guys,” said Brown.
“Jason has captained the team to two cup wins, Liam is a shouter and an organiser and Jamie has been impressive.
“How many quality, left-sided centre-backs do we have to pick from in the country?
“And then you look at Shaun’s impact and the way Callum Booth has been performing.
“We have been so solid as a team over the last six months or so.
“The challenge is still to get more goals but everything else is in place.”
As you would expect, face masks were being worn in the Hampden main stand on Saturday afternoon but they couldn’t cover up emotions in the small St Johnstone section of it.
“I freely admit I was greetin’ at the final whistle and so was Steve,” said Brown.
“And why not? You have to have a passion for what you do or there’s no point being involved in a football club.
“What was the better cup win? That’s a tough one to call.
“Obviously the 2014 win was special because it was the first time St Johnstone had ever won a major trophy and the weekend of celebrations was fantastic for our supporters and the city of Perth.
“But after all the challenges presented by the pandemic for any club to win a cup double is incredible.
“We have a very good young manager with a real tight-knit group of players round about him.
“No one can say we got it easy. There were big hurdles to get over.
“We beat an in-form Hibs side which was third in the league, their highest placed finish for a long, long time.
“And, of course, we beat Rangers at Ibrox in the quarter final, where no Scottish side had won all season.
“Then we had to beat St Mirren and they were the only side that had managed to beat Rangers, putting them out of the Betfred Cup.
“Hibs went in as favourites but they hadn’t managed to beat us – or score against us – all season.
“They have the most potent forward line out with Rangers and they haven’t scored against us.”
With success following success for St Johnstone in recent months and years, Brown’s mind went back to a Scottish Cup tie in 1991 that was as far removed from last weekend as you could imagine.
“I remember not going to see my horse Dalkey Sound running at a big race in Yorkshire and the trainer, Mary Revely asked if I was coming down,” he recalled.
“It was frosty and there was a chance it would be put off. The chances of a win weren’t great either.
“So I found myself watching a Scottish Cup tie against Berwick Rangers and Dalkey Sound duly won the race.
“It was big money at the time, winning £30,000 and I wasn’t there to see it.
“The game finished 0-0 and I could have been watching my horse.
“I was at the League Cup final back in 1969 against Celtic and I can’t remember how many semi-finals we lost down the years.
“But days like Saturday have more than made up for it!
“Hopefully we all get the chance to celebrate but players are on holiday now and we’ve no idea when the restrictions are going to be lifted.
“I know fans are already looking forward to Europe but right now we have no idea if they will be able to get to games abroad.
“We’ll all just have to wait and see what pans out.”
Brown paid tribute to the club’s head of youth, who has helped develop some of Saints’ cup winners – at Perth and, ironically, at Easter Road.
“You have to applaud the job Alistair Stevenson has done and continues to do,” he said.
“He brought in so many of the players that have made the first team and won us the cups.
“There won’t be many clubs with so many players coming through their system.
“It’s especially great for the fans to see local guys like Stevie May, Liam Gordon and David Wotherspoon playing for the club.”