St Johnstone defender Shaun Rooney targets top six as he welcomes new ‘Bellshill Cafu’ name tag

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SHAUN ROONEY now has his eyes set on a spot in the top six of the Scottish Premiership after helping St Johnstone into the Betfred Cup final at the weekend. 

The former Inverness man scored and assisted as Saints dismantled Hibernian at Hampden in the last four of the competition. 

And he now hopes his team can take that form into the league when they welcome Aberdeen to McDiarmid Park tomorrow. 

He said: “With a game coming the Wednesday after you’ve got to move on quickly. My celebrations were having a couple of beers with my dad and watching The Wheel! 

“All we’re thinking about is Aberdeen now. That [getting a place in the top six]is what we’re trying to do, and it starts against Aberdeen. It would be an important win if we can get it. 

“There are a lot of games before the final. Livingston are up there challenging for fourth after putting together a good run of wins. I hope we can get up the table and away from the relegation area by doing the same thing. 

“We’re massively due a change of luck. At Pittodrie we were a minute away from going in at half-time 1-0 up, which would have been huge. A poor penalty decision changed that for us. 

“We won’t be thinking about this game as revenge – we’ll just be trying as hard as we can to win it. It doesn’t matter how we do it.” 

Rooney was bombarded with celebratory social media posts from Saints fans following Saturday’s win over Hibs and some even branded him the ‘Bellshill Cafu’. 

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— Marc Hannigan (@HanniTheGent) January 23, 2021

In response, Rooney said: “I’ve had a lot of nice messages from fans and I had a lot of pals messaging me as well. They all want to be your pal after you score!  

“It’s good to be getting called names like that but I don’t take it seriously. The sooner [fans are back]the better. It might drive us on even more. Playing a final without fans is going to be different.  

“But I got used to it with Queen’s Park. There were maybe 600 in Hampden. But I had a good time there.”  

On his current form, Rooney added: “I was always going to give it my best shot. There’s no point in throwing in the towel at a new club just because somebody has got into the team in front of you. 

“That’s not me. I’ll never stop working hard and trying to improve. If somebody’s ahead of me, I’ll try and find a way to get better than him, get in the team and make my mark. 

“Obviously Danny was doing so well that I couldn’t get in for a while. But I did what I said I would and got my chance. 

“It’s good to know that if the manager wants me to do a job at centre-half, I can. It’s a good thing to have in my locker now. Being able to play another position helps me and the team. 

“But I do prefer right wing-back. It’s great to have boys alongside me at the back who are all around the same age, fighting for the same things and fighting for each other. 

“We all want to move this club forward, get into the top six and win a cup final.”

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