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David Wotherspoon cries tears of joy after two years of agony

STANDING in front of the television cameras with his nine-month-old daughter Mia scooped up in one arm, the blue of the team he followed as a boy on his chest and the first senior medal of his career safely secured.

David Wotherspoon was left out of Hibs' Scottish Cup final team two years in a row
David Wotherspoon was left out of Hibs' Scottish Cup final team two years in a row

It was an image that encapsulated just what a very good year it has been for David Wotherspoon.

This is a man who, 12 months ago, would have been excused for staying under the bedclothes when Scottish Cup final day came around. Back then he was coming to terms with being left out of the Hibernian squad on the morning of the showpiece fixture for the second time in two seasons by his then manager, Pat Fenlon.

The Irishman had jettisoned the midfielder ahead of the 5-1 loss to Hearts at Hampden in 2012 and, in an act of some insensitivity even for the harsh world of professional football, left it until only a matter of hours before boarding the bus back to the national stadium to face Celtic to tell Wotherspoon that he had been frozen out again. That despite him making a contribution in most of the matches leading up to the big day.

Wotherspoon decided, there and then, that his time at Easter Road was over. The fact the clock was very clearly ticking on Fenlon's underwhelming tenure at the club mattered not.

Despite interest from across the city of Edinburgh from Hearts, the midfielder returned to the welcoming embrace of his native Perth to find peace and rebuild his confidence. Fatherhood came his way in August, a little after the start of the current campaign, and his return to form under the guidance of his most impressive manager, Tommy Wright, was capped on Saturday with a fine display in St Johnstone's historic triumph over Dundee United.

The comfort and security of home, in all its guises, have given Wotherspoon new life since last summer. When the celebrations started to mark his team's first trophy in 130 years, his thoughts turned immediately to those who have shared every twist and turn in the fulfilment of his sweetest dreams.

"I saw my cousins in the stand with my mum and dad and managed to get my missus, Sophie, and the wee one, Mia, on the pitch," said the 24-year-old. "It was so emotional. It is what dreams are made of and it is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.

"I couldn't wait to get my hands on the trophy, but I wanted to see my girlfriend and the wee one first. Mia was on TV because I had her in my arms when I was being interviewed by Sky Sports.

"She wasn't moaning. It was great. She's only nine months old and watched the full game, so that was tremendous. It still hasn't sunk in that I've won the Scottish Cup with my hometown team."

Does it make up for what happened at Hibs, a club he had played with from youth level and which had become such a sizeable part of his life? You bet.

The midfielder remembers all the emotions that surged through him as he sat in the Hampden stand for two consecutive years, watching his team-mates compete on a stage that shapes a player's career. Suddenly, though, they seem nowhere near as raw.

"My emotions were of anger, despair and everything rolled into one," recalled Wotherspoon. "You work the whole season to get to that moment and, when you don't get in, it is just heartbreaking.

"These are the things, though, which make you who you are. You have got to put them to bed and get on with your life. I was massively disappointed, but it didn't take me long to get over it because I made a fresh start by coming to St Johnstone.

"It was such a massive turnaround for me this year, going from sitting in the stand to winning the Scottish Cup. You couldn't have written it. This one counts and being a winner is what I play football for."

Much of the focus ahead of Saturday's final, of course, was fixed on Stevie May. He was the local lad made good, the Perth kid ready to write a glorious chapter in the club's record books.

May was, indeed, born in the Fair City, but he was brought up in Fife. He lived in Newburgh and went to school in Cupar.

Wotherspoon, on the other hand, could be considered the Real McCoy. "I grew up in Perth up until I was 16 [when] I went to Edinburgh," he said with some relish. "I went to Perth High School and supported the team when I was a wee boy.

"Stevie is a Newburgh lad and I think we played each other when we were younger, a long time ago.

"My granny is from Newburgh and we would stay through there some times. We would get a local game through there and I am sure he was one of the boys playing for them."

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