Callum Davidson will never forget they key role Stevie May played in St Johnstone’s sliding doors Scottish Cup moment and he is now backing the striker to open the gateway to another trophy triumph.
Tommy Wright’s team were massive underdogs as they went into the semi-finals in 2014 against an Aberdeen side rejuvenated by new boss Derek McInnes and flying high after capturing the League Cup at Celtic Park earlier that season.
But Saints were on their own journey to a Parkhead party with 27-goal frontman May in the form of his life.
However, it may have been the Dons who went on to lift a cup double that year had things worked out differently.
Niall McGinn had already seen May cancel out his first-half opener when he had a golden chance to head the Reds back in front at Ibrox.
But the Northern Irishman nodded wide and as Aberdeen held their heads, May stood tall to snatch a late winner which set Saints up to lift their first ever major trophy against Dundee United in the final.
Now it is Davidson’s team who are bidding to lift both domestic cups in the same season following their Betfred Cup triumph.
And how the McDiarmid boss – Wright’s assistant seven years ago – would love to see May roll back the years and produce another semi-final masterclass against St Mirren on Sunday.
Looking back to that Dons clash, he said: “It was a big game. I remember Aberdeen missing a big chance in about the 70th minute when someone had a header at the back post.
“Me and Tommy turned round to each other and went, ‘Ooh, that was pretty lucky’.
“We started with Mayzo up top with Stevie MacLean. We then shifted him wide left and he went on to do the business for us.”
Two serious knee injuries suffered during a stint at Sheffield Wednesday have robbed May of the dynamic burst which made him such a potent threat as a 21-year-old.
Now he is 28 and what he has lost in pace Davidson believes he is making up for through experience and nous.
“Back then, he just had those energy levels that were so important,” he added. “It’s great to have him here again but back in the day it was a younger Stevie May.
“Now he’s a little bit wiser, a bit more experienced.
“But I can see him shaping up for another big moment. You see it every day in training, which is a big positive for me.
“We’d all like to see Stevie get back to the days of scoring 25 goals a season. If he does that he probably won’t be here the following season.
“It’s a catch-22 but I know what I’d prefer. He’s working hard behind the scenes. We just need to turn his work rate into a few more goals and we’ll see Stevie flying again.”
Davidson ended his playing career empty-handed but is now a leading candidate for the manager of the year award after a sensational first campaign in charge of Saints.
The 44-year-old – who is missing four players due to a covid outbreak – said: “The first couple of months in the job were pretty tough but my wife will say I’m now a lot more relaxed at home, maybe a bit more fun – actually she won’t say that as I’m not fun at any time in the year.
“It would mean loads to get to the final. It’s a massive game.
“I did say before winning the League Cup that there’s no point in enjoying the final unless you win it. I’m probably going to go in with the same mindset.
“If you look at my cup record as a player, it was horrendous. So maybe I’m getting a little bit of reward for that now.
“Lifting the Scottish Cup would be one of my biggest achievements ever in football, especially doing it with a team like St Johnstone that is very close to me.”