Shaun Rooney's heroic header catapulted St Johnstone to Betfred Cup glory in a battle of the underdogs at Hampden.

The defender's first half goal ensured Callum Davidson went from Tommy Wright's Scottish Cup-winning apprentice to a legendary Saints gaffer in his own right as the Perth club lifted Scotland's other knockout trophy for the first time in their history.

Livingston started the game well but completely faded as the final went on as David Martindale's fairytale start to management made way for a sudden blow.

He tinkered with his Lions side as captain Marvin Bartley, typically a central anchor man in midfield, returned to fill in on the left flank.

But Davidson’s men were without their own enforcer as Murray Davidson missed out completely.

Zander Clark was the first keeper called into action when he had to bat away a Julian Serrano cross.

Moments later he was a relieved man when Efe Ambrose was the man latching onto a loose ball in the area instead of one of Livi’s forward players.

The Nigerian defender smashed the ball into the stands like he was defending his own penalty area to pass up the first decent chance of the cup final.

Josh Mullin’s effort with the outside of his boot was much better and withe the ball arrowing into the corner Clark produced a superb stop.

There was little goalmouth action in the opening half and pretty football was in scant supply.

Set-pieces were ten-a-penny however and Saints took the lead through one after 32 minutes.

A corner swung in from the right by Craig Conway found Rooney who powered a header past Robby McCrorie, despite the keeper getting a glove to it.

For all the plaudits bestowed upon Martindale's Livi side for their organisation and solid defence, the goal would have been easily averted by positioning a defender on the near post.

That opened the game up slightly and Livingston tried to roar back. Mullin's strike from close in was blocked at the last second, leading to a succession of corners that ended with Jon Guthrie's header flashing wide.

Rooney clearly felt a surge of confidence from the goal as he took a pot shot from 30 yards that needed the attention of McCrorie before his side trotted into the dressing room a goal to the good in the cup final.

And with just a minute gone in the second half they could have had one hand on the trophy.

Ali McCann's cut-back fell to David Wotherspoon and the Canada international prodded towards goal. McCrorie made a superb stop and the rebound was just out of reach for striker Chris Kane as the score remained 1-0.

Chris McCart's header produced another great save from McCrorie and suddenly Saints had the cup final in a vice-like grip, although Wotherspoon's dive wasn't a smart move.

The longer the afternoon went on the less Livingston looked like their energetic selves and the bigger that expansive Hampden pitch seemed to be when they were on the ball.

A club with just one major honour in the cabinet suddenly looked like a team that had been there dozens of times before - and Davidson is now a Perth immortal alongside his former mentor.

5 talking points

Rooney show

The right wing-back was the man of the match in the semi-final against Hibs and bulleted home his third goal in four games to hand Saints the advantage. His prowess forced Martindale into a curious tactical change as the Livi gaffer chose to throw Bartley on at left-wing. But there was nothing the captain could do when Rooney towered above everyone in the box to turn the tide of the final completely. He's a player going from strength to strength and had his long-ranger found the net before the break it would have been some strike. The Bellshill Cafu indeed.

Davidson comes out on top

Both gaffers pulled a few surprises in their team selection at Hampden. Martindale brought Bartley into a position he's rarely played while enlisting Steve Lawson to hold down the midfield. Davidson meanwhile left striker Guy Melamed on the bench despite a deadly double against Motherwell last weekend. It was a curious decision but one that paid off as Saints' wing-backs stretched the opposition while creating ample room for Conway and Wotherspoon to threaten. His side managed their slender lead in the closing stages excellently and it seemed like they'd been at this stage many times before in their careers. As for Livi, the less said about playing a 34-year-old defensive midfielder on the wing, the better.

Veterans roll back the years

When St Johnstone lifted the Scottish Cup in 2014, Liam Craig had been relegated by Hibs having left Perth at the start of that season. Fast forward two years and he'd sealed a return to Saints as the Edinburgh club then lifted the same trophy without him. But he was at the right club on Sunday afternoon and bossed the midfield for 90 minutes. Conway up the top end of the park put in a brilliant shift and produced a spectacular cross for the only goal of the game, completing a personal double to go with the Scottish Cup he lifted with Dundee United 11 years ago.

Going to war

This final was notable for the many running battles you'd expect from a game meaning so much to players who might never get such an opportunity again. Bartley received a heel to the head as he and Rooney grappled before an almost comical wrestling match between Jason Holt and Craig. What the game lacked in terms of free-flowing, attacking football - although St Johnstone managed plenty of that in their excellent second-half showing - it made up for in passion and true grit.

Oh ya viewty

It’s been a curiosity of football in the pandemic to see the TV angle at Hampden switched to the opposite stand. And it has to be said, it would be great to see that same angle with fans in. The way the BT South Stand drapes over the pitch and being able to watch both managers going through the emotional wringer of a cup final - it’s far superior. Keep the alternate view post-pandemic.