Kilmarnock’s Ash Taylor recalled “that moment” at Hampden Park that still rankles as he prepared for the Viaplay Cup semi-final against Celtic at the national stadium on Saturday.
The 32-year-old defender still carries a painful memory of the 2017 Scottish Cup final when he played for Aberdeen against the Hoops.
With the score at 1-1 in the second half, Jonny Hayes broke clear on the right but the Irishman’s pass was played in behind Dons midfielder Kenny McLean, who could not gather and the chance to regain the lead was gone.
The men from the Granite City were then left shell-shocked when Celtic substitute Tom Rogic scored a dramatic injury-time winner to complete the domestic treble in an unbeaten season for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
It is a Hampden experience that scarred Taylor and he is keen to make amends, saying: “When people ask about that moment between Jonny Hayes and Kenny McLean I always say that if he scores that we go on to win it.
“Unfortunately we didn’t and Rogic goes up the other end and scores and it is just those fine moments in cup finals that defines the game and it spurs you on to try to taste that success.
“It is always there because we were so close against such a good Celtic side at that time.
“In the Betfred Cup final earlier on they gave us a doing (3-0) but this time it was so close and we were so unfortunate, especially with the performance we put in as well.
“It was my last game in my first spell at Aberdeen and it will always sit with me but it is important on Saturday that we put in the performance that we can try and take something from it.”
Kilmarnock go into the game on the back of a 2-0 defeat by Celtic at Parkhead in the cinch Premiership on Saturday but Taylor will take only the positives.
He said: “It is a different scenario, a semi-final, a cup game, you are at Hampden so it is a different environment.
“People will say it is a free hit, but in football you are not getting many free hits.
“It is a cup game and you want to go into the game thinking you can get to the final so you have to go in with as much confidence as you possibly can to try to get yourself there.
“We seen them at the weekend, we put on a good performances and those split moments where you switch off, they can punish you.
“It is important for us to try to stay concentrated throughout the whole 90 minutes and try and land a blow or two.”
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