St Mirren striker John Sutton has recalled how the 2005 Challenge Cup triumph helped propel Saints to the top-flight – now he hopes success 12 years on can catapult the team to Championship safety.
The experienced marksman netted the winner as the Buddies ran out 2-1 victors over Hamilton in the final and the 2005/06 campaign got even better after the Paisley club clinched the league title in the second tier.
Earning promotion back to the Premiership is not on their mind this season but Sutton hopes success over Dundee United at Fir Park on Saturday can aid their bid to climb off the basement.
The 33-year-old, who has helped Jack Ross’ side move to within a point of Ayr United at the bottom following a run of four wins in six matches, said: “It was different circumstances back then as that kicked us on to win the league that year, which was a brilliant double.
“It won’t be the same this year but hopefully it could kick us on to league survival.
“Hopefully it’s a bit of a confidence boost. But we can’t look too far whether we win or lose the cup final, it’s not going to determine whether we stay up or not.
“To give the fans a good day out that would mean a lot to all of us.
“It’s very exciting. I remember going into that game and the manager (Gus MacPherson) told us that a lot of players go through their careers without winning anything.
“We managed to win that day, that was a great achievement and it kicked us on to bigger and better things.
“Cup finals, whatever they are, don’t come around very often. I think Hibs and Rangers and even Hearts have proved that over the seasons being in the lower leagues, so it’d be a great achievement for this group of players. Everyone is desperate to win.
“There’s a confidence in the group, there’s no doubt about that. Dundee United are a good team but we know if we play as well as we can then we can cause any team problems.”
Sutton is no stranger to Fir Park having played for the Steelmen for five years across two spells and he is determined to ensure he enjoys a happy return.
Speaking to stmirrem.com, he said: “Fir Park is brilliant for atmosphere. It’s quite a tight pitch and the fans are right on top of you.
“It’ll be nice, especially since they got the pitch sorted out in the last few years.
“It’s a fantastic stadium, I enjoyed my time there. The good thing about it is that it’s compact and there should be a really good atmosphere.”