LET'S MAKE A THIRD NATIONAL FINAL!

You have to go away back to the end of October to find the game that got us to this stage, but finally, three months after defeating Dundee United in the quarter finals, Saints face Rangers in the Co-operative Insurance Cup semi-final at Hampden Park tomorrow. It’s a 7.35pm kick off at the National Stadium.

Saints will be attempting to emulate the classes of 1969 and 1998 who managed to reach the final of the competition but as this will be the Club’s eighth appearance at this stage of the ‘League Cup’ you don’t need a degree in mathematics to work out that we have been left disappointed on five previous occasions.

Here’s how we’ve fared in the seven previous last-four encounters:

1961/62 Celtic Park, Glasgow Lost 2-3 to Rangers It was Bobby Brown who led Saints to their first post-war national semi-final and his players had to do it the hard way – emerging from a League Cup section which also contained Celtic, Hibs and Partick Thistle with just one defeat in the six games.

A 4-3 aggregate win in a two-legged quarter final tie against Motherwell saw Saints face Rangers in the semi-final at Celtic Park and 41,000 spectators watched a five goal thriller where, despite goals from John bell and Ian Gardiner, Saints were edged out by the odd goal.

Saints: Taylor, McFadyen. Lachlan, Little, Ferguson, McKinven, McVittie, Walker, Gardiner, Bell, Henderson

1962/63 Easter Road, Edinburgh Lost 0-4 to Hearts If the previous season’s performance in the showpiece final had been a case of heroic failure, there was no such consolation for Saints twelve months later when Hearts handed out a sound defeat. Stranraer, Clyde and Cowdenebath had been overcome in the group stages and their was plenty of credit when Second Division Saints defated First Division Queen of the South over two legs in the quarter final. However, Bobby Brown’s men were no match for Hearts

Saints: Ower, McFadyen, Lachlan, Little, J Young, McKinven, McIntyre, Townsend, B Young, Bell, Kemp

1967/68 Tannadice Park, Dundee Lost 1-3 to Dundee Willie Ormond was in the opening six months of his Muirton Park tenure when he led his side to the last four of the League Cup but his fortune was no greater than that of his predecessor and Perth fans were left to take a sore one from their local rivals.

A crowd of 18,000 saw Gordon Whitelaw give St Johnstone the lead 1-0 at half-time in this match but Dundee came storming back in the second half to win 3-1 thanks to two own goals by Saints’ Millar and a penalty from Jim McLean and they went forward to the final against Celtic

Saints: Donaldson, McGillivray, Coburn, Miller, Roney, McPhee, Aird, Whitelaw, McCarry, McDonald, Wilson

1969/70 Hampden Park, Glasgow Beat Motherwell 2-0 Success at last in a League Cup semi-final! It began in the sectional ties where Saints emerged with a tremendous 100% record in six games against Kilmarnock, Dundee and Partick Thistle and when Falkirk were dispatched with surprising ease in the quarter finals (an 11-3 aggregate victory), Perth fans began to dream of Hampden Park. They got their trip to Mount Florida but it was for the semi-final tie against Motherwell. Would they get back to the grand old stadium for the final? Buck McCarry and Fred Aitken provided the answer to that with a goal apiece in a 2-0 win over the Fir Park side in front of 19,970 fans.

Saints lost 1-0 to Celtic in the final

SAINTS: Donaldson, Lambie, Argue, Gordon, Rooney, McPhee, Aird, Hall, McCarry, Connolly, Aitken

1992/93 Hampden Park, Glasgow Lost 1-3 to Rangers It was to be a long 23 years before Saints managed to get through to the semi-final of the League Cup – now re-named The Skol Cup.

With League Cup ‘sections’ a thing of the past, Saints had straight one-off games against Alloa Athletic, Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock to overcome in the previous rounds and they did so successfully.

That led Alex Totten’s side to the Hampden game against Walter Smith’s Ibrox side and it was a former Saints players who broke Perth hearts that night – Ally McCoist netting a hat trick to put the tie well beyond Saints before Paul Wright struck from the penalty spot late on.

Saints: Rhodes, McGowne, Redford, McGinnis, Inglis, McClelland, Moore, Turner, Wright, Arkins, Curran

1998/99 Easter Road, Edinburgh Beat Hearts 3-0

A great performance from Sandy Clark’s side who had earlier defeated Stranraer, Falkirk and Hibernian. Nick Dasovic put Saints ahead in the 41st minute and then stunned Hearts with a second just four minutes later with one of the THE great Saints goals – a 30 yard drive from Allan Preston. George O’Boyle put the icing on the cake towards the end with a cheeky finish past Rousset to set up a final against Rangers which was lost 2-1.

Saints: Main, McQuillan, Preston, Dasovic, Kernaghan, O’Neil, O’Boyle, Kane, Bollan, Dods, Simao

2006/07 Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh Lost 1-3 to Hibs

Owen Coyle’s First Division troops almost produced another cup shock but were eventually edged out of a final place against. Kilmarnock.

Steven Fletcher had given Hibs a 3rd minute lead in front of a packed stadium but Jason Scotland headed Saints level in 76 minutes to take the tie into extra time. There was heartbreak for Saints in that extra 30 minutes though as Murphy scored 2 minutes after the restart and then Benjelloun scored a third in the final minute to put an unfair complexion on the scoreline.

Saints: Cuthbert, Lawrie, Stanic, McInnes, McManus, James, Hardie, Mensing, MacDonald, Scotland, Sheerin

PHOTO: Jason Scotlanfd heads home the equaliser against Hibs in the semi-final tie at Tynecastle in 2007

Tickets for this season's semi final remain available from the McDiarmid Park Ticket Office today and tomorrow between 9.30am and 5pm.