Kilmarnock midfielder Liam Polworth played for Inverness in a Scottish Cup semi-final four years ago but is now out to stop his hometown club reaching another.
The midfielder came through the ranks at Caley Thistle and was an unused substitute when they defeated Falkirk in the 2015 final to land the trophy before playing the full 90 minutes of their 3-0 defeat by Hearts in the 2019 semi-final.
On Friday, Polworth will be doing all he can to stop Inverness returning to Hampden when Killie travel to the Highlands for a quarter-final showdown on Friday night.
“I was at Inverness for a long time, since I was a kid, but this is a massive opportunity for Kilmarnock, and one I want to take advantage of,” he said. “I’m firmly focused on that. My family all stay up in Inverness and they’ll all be there, but they’ll definitely be supporting Killie for me.”
Kilmarnock lost to Celtic in the Viaplay Cup semi-final in January and Polworth would love another Hampden showdown to look forward to amid an ongoing battle to pull away from the cinch Premiership relegation zone.
“It’s a massive motivation to get back to Hampden,” he said. “When we went there the last time in the League Cup I felt like we gave a good show of ourselves against a good Celtic side.
“We gave them a good game so to get another chance to go to Hampden would be huge for us. If you can get to two major semi-finals in a season, it’s obviously a massive achievement.
“Our league form hasn’t been great, but if we can put back-to-back semi-finals together and hopefully improve our league form at the back end of the season, it will be a massive achievement.
“The Scottish Cup is something you look at at the start of the season. It will be a good distraction from the league as well.
“We need to put aside the whole league aspect of it going into Friday. We know it’s a one-off game, a big Scottish Cup game and it’s massive for the club and the players. We want to forget about the league for one week and concentrate on this.”
Polworth feels maintaining a Scottish Cup run into the latter stages can help boost Killie’s league form in the run-in.
“Any time you get a chance to progress to a semi-final, it’s going to help you,” he said. “It brings healthy competition and enthusiasm and that can all help towards the league form.
“We’d be back concentrating on the league, but players will have that wee bit in their mind where they’re thinking that with a semi-final coming up they want to be in the team because it’s a massive occasion.”
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