Fourth tier Kelty Hearts pulled off a significant Scottish Cup shock by stunning struggling holders St Johnstone in the fourth round at Central Park.
After a goalless 90 minutes, veteran forward Kallum Higginbotham broke clear to net an extra-time winner for the runaway League 2 leaders.
The sobering defeat extends the losing run of the Premiership’s bottom side to 10 matches and leaves Callum Davidson’s side in crisis just seven months on from completing a historic cup double.
After this dream win, Kelty will face another top-tier opponent, this time travelling to face St Mirren on the weekend of 12/13 February.
- Kelty to face St Mirren in last 16
- My job is under threat – Davidson
On the flipside of St Johnstone’s losing streak, Kelty went into the game having lost just one of their last 23 games in all competitions. They are too good for their division, while their visitors are perhaps not good enough for theirs.
But the gulf is still significant and the Fifers only went in level at half-time thanks to goalkeeper Darren Jamieson, who denied the top-flight side with a stunning double save.
Firstly, Jamieson was at full stretch down to his left to tip away a Chris Kane header before he clawed away Ali Crawford’s curling effort to the top-right corner.
Kelty were comfortable against a woeful St Johnstone, but Kevin Thomson’s side failed to cause a real threat in attack.
The holders tried to up the tempo after the break, with Liam Gordon and Jacob Butterfield going close with efforts from outside the box.
Nadir Ciftci also failed to hit the target with a header and side-foot volley. But in truth, all were half chances as Kelty reduced the away side to ambitious shots and desperate crosses.
The closest St Johnstone came was with an extra-time free-kick as Crawford crashed a set-piece effort off Jamieson’s bar.
But with Davidson’s men pushing for a winner, Kelty broke from a St Johnstone corner and delivered the killer blow as Alfie Agyeman fed Higginbotham, who raced clear, kept his cool and rifled past Clark.
St Johnstone did nothing to merit getting back into the game and Kelty could and should have added to their lead when the impressive Agyeman rattled the woodwork.
But 1-0 it would finish, meaning a 10th consecutive defeat for Davidson, who cut a dejected figure in the dugout all afternoon.
Kelty Hearts manager Kevin Thomson: “I said to the players before the game we weren’t here to make the numbers up. We wanted to have a go and, to a man, the boys were unbelievable.
“I’m proud of them, proud of the town, proud of all the supporters that got behind us. They’re a good full-time team, three divisions above us but at the same time, everybody will know me, if I’m in it, I want to try and win it.”
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: “The first half was really disappointing. I asked them to do certain things and for the first 30 or 40 minutes, they wouldn’t do any of it.
“Second half. we started to do those things and put them under a bit of pressure, but ultimately if you lose a goal as bad as that you don’t deserve to go through.”
Player of the match
with an average of 8.43
Squad number11Player nameHigginbotham
Squad number23Player nameNgwenya
Squad number14Player namePhilp
Squad number25Player nameO’Ware
Squad number7Player nameCardle
Squad number12Player nameTidser
Squad number9Player nameAustin
Squad number4Player nameForster
Squad number15Player nameFinlayson
Squad number16Player nameMcNab
Squad number10Player nameBarjonas
Squad number1Player nameJamieson
Squad number21Player nameBiabi
Squad number2Player nameBlack
Squad number22Player nameAgyeman
Squad number1Player nameClark
Squad number3Player nameGallacher
Squad number15Player nameGilmour
Squad number2Player nameBrown
Squad number9Player nameKane
Squad number21Player nameCrawford
Squad number6Player nameGordon
Squad number34Player nameButterfield
Squad number23Player nameÇiftçi
Squad number5Player nameCleary
Squad number4Player nameMcCart
Squad number14Player nameMiddleton
Squad number7Player nameMay
Squad number11Player nameO’Halloran
Squad number26Player nameCraig
- 23NgwenyaBooked at 116mins
- 12TidserSubstituted forBlackat 97′minutes
- 10BarjonasSubstituted forMcNabat 105′minutes
- 7CardleSubstituted forAgyemanat 78′minutesBooked at 117mins
- 9AustinSubstituted forBiabiat 90+2′minutesBooked at 120mins
- 2BrownSubstituted forO’Halloranat 92′minutesSubstituted forCraigat 105+1′minutes
- 23ÇiftçiBooked at 77minsSubstituted forMayat 79′minutes
- 9KaneSubstituted forMiddletonat 73′minutes
- Kevin Clancy
Match ends, Kelty Hearts 1, St. Johnstone 0.
Second Half Extra Time ends, Kelty Hearts 1, St. Johnstone 0.
Attempt saved. Stevie May (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Botti Biabi (Kelty Hearts) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt saved. Ross Philp (Kelty Hearts) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Attempt blocked. Botti Biabi (Kelty Hearts) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Alfredo Agyeman (Kelty Hearts) is shown the yellow card.
Kieran Ngwenya (Kelty Hearts) is shown the yellow card.
Thomas O’Ware (Kelty Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stevie May (St. Johnstone).
Alfredo Agyeman (Kelty Hearts) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.
Attempt blocked. Kallum Higginbotham (Kelty Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Kelty Hearts. Conceded by Liam Gordon.
Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Kallum Higginbotham.
Second Half Extra Time begins Kelty Hearts 1, St. Johnstone 0.
First Half Extra Time ends, Kelty Hearts 1, St. Johnstone 0.
Substitution, St. Johnstone. Liam Craig replaces Michael O’Halloran because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Kallum Higginbotham (Kelty Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.
Substitution, Kelty Hearts. Robbie McNab replaces Jamie Barjonas.
Attempt missed. Jacob Butterfield (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.