It would prove to be a disappointing afternoon at Hampden Park as Shaun Rooney’s goal saw St Johnstone lift the Scottish Cup.
Callum Davidson’s side were worthy winners in a game that Hibs never really got going in as the Perth Saints secured a famous cup double.
The only goal of the game came on 30 minutes when former Hibs pair Callum Booth and David Wotherspoon combined before Rooney headed home from close-range
St Johnstone had opportunities to extend their lead after the break and had the luxury of being able to miss a penalty as Matt Macey – the busier of the two goalkeepers - made a wonderful save to deny Glenn Middleton.
The Hibernian line-up returned to a more familiar look today with only three players that featured against Celtic last weekend starting.
After a nervy opening Hibs were the first to threaten when a Jackson Irvine cross from the left sat up perfectly for Martin Boyle, only for the winger to take a fresh air swipe and the chance was gone.
At the other end, a St Johnstone throw in was worked into Chris Kane by Craig Bryson and the striker shot high over the crossbar under pressure from Paul Hanlon and Ryan Porteous.
On 16 minutes slack possession was surrendered by Porteous high up the field and this allowed St Johnstone to counterattack. They worked the ball into Middleton and the winger showed great control to evade challenges of Josh Doig and Hanlon before Alex Gogic did just enough to prevent him getting a clean strike at Macey’s goal.
Six minutes later Boyle and Kevin Nisbet combined on the right and from the latter’s cross Jason Kerr was forward to header over his crossbar under pressure from Christian Doidge.
Chances were few and far between however St Johnstone’s Zander Clark kept his side level with a fine save to deny Irvine after Joe Newell created the opportunity. Newell slipping the ball into Irvine and his angled drive was kept out by Clark’s feet.
Hibs were enjoying their best spell of the match however they were hit with a sucker-punch as St Johnstone broke the deadlock on 30 minutes.
Booth showed terrific tenacity to win possession on the left; the ball breaking to Wotherspoon who had time and space to pick out Rooney in the middle and he guided a close-range header beyond Macey.
Scoring in big games has become Rooney’s specialty after he netted the only goal of the game when the Saints defeated Livingston in the League Cup final earlier this season.
Hibs tried to respond before the break however the best they could muster was a driving run and shot from Newell that failed to trouble Clark.
The second half started with chances at both ends. First, Gogic threw himself at a Doidge cross only for his header to be blocked point-blank by Kerr.
Then, St Johnstone countered with pace and it took a wonderful last-gasp tackle from Newell to deny Middleton before the Hibs man was quickly on his feet to deflect Rooney’s follow up just wide of the far post.
Former Hibee Wotherspoon then brought out a save from Macey with a curling right foot shot as the Saints chased a killer second goal.
Not for the first time this season Hibs were finding St Johnstone difficult to break down with the Perth men content to defend deep and hit on the counterattack.
From one such counter the Perth side had a great opportunity to double their advantage when Hanlon attempted to block a through ball for Kane and inadvertently put Middleton in on goal. The attacker’s angled drive saved brilliantly by Macey.
The Hibs goalkeeper would have a busy second half and he was again called into action moments later to deny Wotherspoon.
With 17 minutes remaining St Johnstone were awarded a penalty kick after Porteous had played Kane through on goal and Paul McGinn fouled the Saints’ man as he shot for goal.
Middleton took the spot kick only to be denied by a wonderful save from Macey low to his left with the keeper quickly back to his feet to also deny Kane from the rebound.
It was a big let off for Hibs and they hoped it would prove a turning point in a game they had been second best in.
With 11 minutes remaining Hibs did fashion a half-chance when Melker Hallberg’s free kick was headed towards goal by Porteous, however Clark made a comfortable save.
In the end Hibs were unable to find a leveller and St Johnstone deservedly ran out worthy winners.
St Johnstone: Clark, Booth, Kerr, Gordon, McCart, McCann, Bryson (Davidson 64‘), Rooney (Brown 78‘), Wotherspoon, Kane, Middleton (O’Halloran 81’). Substitutes not used: Parish, Tanser, Craig, Conway, Melamed, May.
Hibernian: Macey, Hanlon, Porteous, McGinn, Doidge, Boyle, Newell (Hallberg 72‘), Gogic (Murphy 56’), Nisbet, Doig (Stevenson 75’), Irvine. Substitutes not used: Marciano, Gray, Magennis, Wright, McGregor.
Referee: Nick Walsh.