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I need to ask for an assist bonus – St Johnstone’s Zander Clark on cup heroics

Rangers v St Johnstone – Scottish Cup – Quarter Final – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

St Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark admitted he was just trying to cause some “havoc” in the Rangers area when he went up for a stoppage-time corner.

Clark reckoned he might take a Rangers player out of the equation when someone was assigned to mark him, with the home side looking to protect their 1-0 lead in the final seconds of extra-time of the Scottish Cup quarter-final.

Instead he was left on his own on the six-yard line and rose unchallenged to head home Liam Craig’s corner off the foot of team-mate Chris Kane.

The Saints keeper was not finished with the heroics, saving from James Tavernier and Kemar Roofe in the shoot-out before Ali McCann sent the Betfred Cup winners back to Hampden for a semi-final against St Mirren.

Clark said: “When I was on loan at Queen of the South I went up for a game against Hearts in the last minute and hit the wrong side of the post.

“If a goalie goes up he’s just trying to cause a bit of havoc. Everybody’s got a player they’re supposed to be marking.

“If somebody just picks you up, it’s usually one of the bigger ones. It’s about creating a bit of uncertainty. It is a risk for the defending team if you take a man off a centre-half or a striker.

“I saw it all the way, got a glance on it, it’s hit Kano and we’ve scored. That was that. It’s a great feeling.

“I’ll now need to see if the chairman will give me an assist bonus.”

Clark ran off in delight before being swamped by his team-mates, but he knew he had not scored himself.

“I could see Kano put it in,” he said. “But everybody was running to me, so I was milking it.

“Then I just wanted to make sure we were all in place for the restart. I didn’t want them scoring from the half-way line after that.”

Clark quickly got himself composed for his next major contribution.

“I was able to switch my focus quickly for the penalties,” the 28-year-old said.

“A shoot-out can be a bit of a lottery, but if you do your homework you give yourself a better chance – which we had.

“Thankfully I saved the first one and the standard of the penalties from our boys was incredible. I’ve saved another one and Ali has finished the job off.”

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