FOR JAMIE McAllister, scoring the clinching goal in a cup final at Hampden was a dream come true – and he is desperate for someone at Livingston to follow in his footsteps on Sunday afternoon.
McAllister netted just twice for the Lions in his season at the club but – like his run along the full length of the pitch to make it 2-0 against Hibs – he timed things to perfection to seal the CIS Cup victory in 2004.
The left-back slotted in Livi’s second just two minutes after Derek Lilley’s opener to complete a fairytale 90 minutes on the pitch as the West Lothian outfit battled administration off it.
McAllister will be keeping an eye on his old club’s bid for success tomorrow and he hopes the current side can emulate their triumph of 17 years ago.
He said: “It was a fantastic day, in fact it was a great year for us at Livingston, apart from the financial problems. It was a great team, full of quality, with a good blend of youth and experience.
“And we had a great management team in Davie Hay, Allan Preston, Billy Kirkwood and Paul Hegarty, and others behind the scenes.
“There was a real family feel and we all got on really well, the camaraderie was good, and it was great to go into work every day – one of the best dressing rooms I’ve been in.
“In that sense, it was amazing, and to go on and win the cup was just the icing on the cake, really.
“We were underdogs against Hibs but we had total belief that we were good enough to go on and win the game. It all came together and it was an unbelievable experience.
“It was definitely one of the highlights of my career.
“It was brilliant to score in a cup final. To go to Hampden and score in a cup final, you dream of that as a kid.
“I didn’t get many goals, I think it was one in every 60 games or something like that. I rarely scored in training, never mind a game, so it was amazing to get one in the final.
“I was probably more surprised than anyone to find myself in that position and to put in away.
“But it was a special feeling. My mum and dad, and my wife were in the crowd, so to score at Hampden in front of 50,000 was fantastic.”
Now assistant to Lee Johnson at Sunderland, Sunday’s final will bring back plenty of happy memories for McAllister.
He added: “David Martindale has been doing a great job with the team since he took over and I know Callum Davidson at St Johnstone well, and it’s good to see him doing well turning them around.
“It will be a good final. It’s just about who turns up on the day and it would be nice to see Livingston win it again.
“I loved my time there. I was only there a year because the team was broken up because of administration and we didn’t get a chance to build on the win.
“But that year was a great year and it’s one I remember fondly.
“We had a reunion a few years ago and wins like that create a special bond, you’ve got that connection, it’s special. Whoever wins on Sunday will be the same.
“There’s nothing better than walking up those stairs and picking up a trophy as a winner in a cup final. That’s why you’re in the game, you want to win as much as you can in your career, and hopefully Livingston can do it.”