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Wright: words can't express what it means to bring the party to Perth

TOMMY Wright delivered the first major trophy in St Johnstone's 130-year history then claimed his side's victory as evidence the romance of the Scottish Cup isn't dead.

The Northern Irishman, who lifted the Irish League Cup with Lisburn Distillery, hailed yesterday's achievement as the pinnacle of his managerial career, but admitted others would savour the success more than he: namely fans, players, staff and Geoff and Steve Brown, who have proved canny stewards of the club for the last 30 years.

"I think the English Cup has lost its magic but I don't think the Scottish Cup has," said Wright after the 2-0 victory against Dundee United at Celtic Park. "That is why, when everyone was wanting an Aberdeen-Dundee United final, I thought the real story was us. That has been proved to be the case."

He added: "It is the pinnacle of my career to win the Scottish Cup, but more importantly for me it means a lot more to other people - supporters, players, staff, and the family of Geoff and Steve Brown.

"They have put a lot into this club, and to get them the first major trophy in their history, words can't describe how it feels. Steve [the chairman] is joking now that he's done everything and he's going to step down. He said he had 25-year plan and after three he's already had Europe three times and a Scottish Cup."

Wright, whose parents were unable to travel from Northern Ireland for the occasion, celebrated the crowning moment with a Jose Mourinho-style sprint along the touchline to mark the clinching goal from Steven MacLean, which added to Steven Anderson's opener in first-half injury time.

"That was just a spur of the moment thing," said Wright. "I didn't go as far as Lenny [Neil Lennon against Shakhter Karagandy] did, he got right down to the touchline. I started running, then I thought 'oh God' the Dundee United fans are all that end. And I was never going to slide on my knees, don't worry about that."

Players and staff are heading for a party in Perth tonight but after beating Rosenborg earlier this season, thoughts are already turning to a third consecutive tilt at the Europa League - on a budget. "We'll still work within our means, we are fully aware of that," he said. "The chairman won't say there's X, go and spend it. St Johnstone's more important than Tommy Wright: it has to be here for another 130 years."

MacLean, who has defied career-threatening injury, relived his own celebrations, which involved removing his jersey, holding it above his head and running towards family and friends, including his 12-year-old son Luke, in the crowd.

"I had about 70 people here and I knew they were in that corner," MacLean said. "I always said if I scored I would run there and then the top came off. I knew I'd get a booking but it was late on so I thought okay, top was off."

Stevie May might have given the Perth side breathing room slightly earlier, were it not for a bizarre handball on the line. "I did think it had crossed the line but I wasn't sure," said May of the incident. "It hit my nose and I thought it was over, and when the keeper hits it back out my reaction was just to flash my hand out at it. It's irrelevant now anyway. I said back in January that I wanted to stay and win a cup and I fancied it to be our year. It's better than I ever could have imagined."

While all the pre-game hype centred on "May 17" it was Steven Anderson in his testimonial year, who was the unlikely first goalscorer. "I've got to dedicate this to Geoff Brown and Steve," he said. "It was time they got their day."

Merited as their win was, St Johnstone also carried most of the luck going.

"Today just wasn't our day," said United manager Jackie McNamara. "There is a thin line between winning and losing sometimes.

"We hit the post and the bar and losing the goal right on half-time was a real body blow. But we can play a lot better. We will learn from it and hopefully bounce back next season."

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