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Jim Goodwin confident St Mirren can go ‘all the way’ in Betfred Cup

Soccer – Scottish Communities League Cup – Final – St Mirren v Heart of Midlothian – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Danny Lawson)

Jim Goodwin has told St Mirren to pay no attention to what the form book says as he urged the Buddies to believe in their Betfred Cup destiny.

The Saints boss was part of the Danny Lennon line-up that stunned Celtic in the semi-finals of the same competition back in 2013 before going on to write their name into Paisley folklore with victory over Hearts in the final.

But that famous Hampden triumph over the Hoops came just seven days after they had been humbled 4-1 at home by Highlanders Ross County.

Eight years on, Goodwin can see the parallels with his own side, and he believes the modern day Buddies are capable of upsetting the odds again.

While St Mirren have already dumped Aberdeen and Rangers from the competition, they go into Sunday’s last-four showdown with Livingston having won just one of their own six previous matches.

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The Lions, by contrast, are unbeaten in 10 games under new boss Davie Martindale.

But Goodwin insists those recent records will stand for nothing as they begin their assault on glory on the slopes of Mount Florida.

The Irishman said: “We have to have the mindset that this is our year – and we do.

“We believe we’re capable of going all the way, as will Hibs, St Johnstone and Livingston.

“I listened to David Martindale’s interview after the Celtic game this week and he is as positive and confident as I am.

St Mirren’s Conor McCarthy (right) scored the winner as the Buddies dumped Rangers out of the Betfred Cup

St Mirren’s Conor McCarthy (right) scored the winner as the Buddies dumped Rangers out of the Betfred Cup (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“There’s not a great deal between the teams that are left.

“Hibs will be favourites in everyone’s eyes because of where they sit in the table and the size of the club. You could also say they have the best squad left in the cup but it doesn’t matter.

“Honestly, form goes out the window on the day.

“Livi are the form team in the country along with Rangers over the last 10 games. They might be favourites in a lot of people’s eyes going into Sunday but I’ve been here before.

“I went into this game eight years ago off the back of a 4-1 league defeat to Ross County and we managed to knock Celtic out in the semi-final, so league form doesn’t matter.

“It’s a one-off game and the team which ultimately plays to the level they are capable of is the one who goes through.”

Covid restrictions mean one of the showpiece dates in the Scottish football calendar will once again be played out in front of an empty national stadium.

But the Paisley support have done their bid to ramp up the excitement levels after hanging black and white flags around the SMISA Stadium and the town itself.

And Goodwin says his team are desperate to repay that support with a place in next month’s final.

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“There’s a really good atmosphere around the club as you’d expect,” he said. “We arrived for training this morning and there was black and white St Mirren flags up all around the stadium so the fans have been busy last night.

“But that’s given the players a real lift this morning and just adds to the excitement of the occasion.

“The players are well aware of the importance of this game to everyone connected with the club.

“Having played in a game of this importance myself eight years ago, I know we would have brought 15,000 to 20,000 fans with us, but unfortunately the fans aren’t going to experience that.

“But they don’t need me to remind them how big it is and what’s at stake.”