Paul Dummett and Conor Newton

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Who was the last Newcastle United player to score the winning goal in a cup final? The answer isn't Bob Moncur, George Hannah, Bobby Mitchell or Alan Foggon - but Conor Newton, who netted the decisive goal for St. Mirren in last weekend's Scottish League Cup final.

And the last Magpies player to set up a goal in a cup final? That's Paul Dummett, who laid on the second goal in the Buddies' thrilling 3-2 win at Hampden Park.

Both youngsters are on loan to the Paisley outfit from Newcastle, where they have been since the age of nine, and have been making the most of the open top bus parades, civic receptions and general adulation which come with lifting silverware.

Of course, the Magpies haven't experienced that since they brought the Fairs Cup back to Tyneside in 1969 but defender Dummett and midfielder Newton have enjoyed every minute since St. Mirren beat Hearts on Sunday.

"It hasn't quite sunk in yet," ex-Whickham School pupil Newton told nufc.co.uk. "It's been a bit of a whirlwind experience from Sunday to now, when I'm just starting to come back down to earth.

"You can't walk five steps in the town without someone cuddling you or kissing you or telling you how much of a legend you are. All the lads are getting absolutely mobbed but I probably get it a little bit more because I scored what turned out to be the winner. It's nice - it's not what you're used to and it doesn't happen every day so you've got to savour it.

"Normally I'm lucky if my friends recognise me, let alone anyone else. It is a lot different but I'm just enjoying it while I can. I would never have expected to be involved in something like this so early in my career, but I'm thankful for it."

Another new experience for the 21-year-old Geordie duo, who until this season were used to playing in front of a handful of spectators for Newcastle's under-21 side, was stepping out in front of 44,036 passionate fans at the Scottish national stadium.

Former Red House Farm juniors player Dummett admitted: "It's very different. It's the loudest crowd I've played in front of. When we walked out, all the fans were screaming and waving flags and scarves. They wanted to see us to create history and we did that.

Conor Newton scores in the Scottish League Cup final

"I was buzzing when I walked out of the tunnel but nervous at the same time and I think you could tell in the first 20 minutes of the game that we were nervous."

Ten minutes in, Hearts took the lead when Ryan Stevenson's shot hit Dummett and spun past Craig Samson. "At least I've scored in a cup final now," the young left-back smiled. "I was gutted because I think I maybe should have been closer to Stevenson before he hit the ball, so I was relieved when we scored the goals, and I set up one so I think that made up for the deflected goal."

Esmael Goncalves equalised but still Hearts dominated and the Buddies were fortunate to be on level terms at the interval.

"The manager had a bit of a go at us at half-time, saying if we were going to win this game we needed to play our way and start passing the ball, because that's what he likes us to do," Dummett explained. "We came out at 1-1 and knew we needed to do something about it, so we started passing the ball about.

"And a few seconds in, after a couple of passes, I crossed it in and Steven Thompson's done an unbelievable finish into the top corner.

"He'd been telling me for weeks that the game meant the world to him because he lives in the area. He's played in other cup finals before but he's from Paisley and he'll be living in the area when he retires, so he'll be remembered for that. I'm just happy that I helped him by setting up that goal for him to score."

Then in the 66th minute came Newton's big moment as he strode forwards, exchanged passes with Goncalves and lashed a low strike past Jamie MacDonald for his first senior goal.

"It was a good time to score it," he said. "The ball dropped and I tried to take a touch over the lad's leg, but it caught between us and I came out with it, played a one-two and just hit it first time.

Conor Newton and Paul Dummett

"Once I'd played the one-two, you know where the keeper is and you know where the goal is because I'd made that run through. I just thought 'I'm going to take this as early as possible and keep it low.'

"It made it a good game to watch - 1-0 down, then we equalised and got two goals in quick succession and a bit of a nailbiting finish when they got one at the end and hit the woodwork twice. It was a horrible game to be involved in at the end because that last ten minutes seemed like an hour."

But despite Stevenson's late second, the Saints held on to end their long wait for success and spark joyeous scenes among the black and white section of the famous stadium, which included a contingent of more than 100 friends and family from the North-East of England.

The memories will stay with the pair for the rest of their lives and both hope the experience will stand them in good stead when they return to Newcastle at the end of the campaign. 

Newton said: "The shirt's going to get framed and I don't know about the medal yet.

"You can take a lot of confidence from it. It's not every day you get to play in such a big occasion and come out on top. Maybe a few people notice you a bit more because of what went on and it can't be a bad thing, put it that way."

And Dummett added: "The experience of playing in front of 50,000 fans and winning a trophy is brilliant. For a couple of the players, it was their first winners medal at 34. I'm 21 years old so hopefully I'll have other opportunities in my career to do that. Now, I know that I can."

Photographs courtesy of Allan Picken Photography (top) and John Millar, St. Mirren Football Club (centre and bottom)