SCOTT BAIN has thanked manager Brendan Rodgers for keeping his promise as he prepares to face Aberdeen in the Betfred League Cup Final at Hampden on Sunday.
The Celtic boss announced yesterday the keeper would keep his place at Hampden following his earlier appearances in the competition against Partick Thistle (3-1), St Johnstone (1-0) and Hearts (3-0).
Scotland international Craig Gordon will be on the substitutes’ bench where he has the opportunity of picking up his fourth League Cup winner’s medal, a record for a Hoops shotstopper, as CQN reported yesterday.
Bain, who signed a permanent deal with the champions in the summer after his loan stint from Dundee, said: “I’ve had brief chats with the manager about the situation.
“It’s good that he’s shown faith in me to play in the Cup games until now, so to go another step and play in the Final is great.
“Obviously, it’s a real boost for me that he’s got that belief in me.
“We had a brief conversation last season about me playing in the Cups and the manager has always been a man of his word.
“Because of that I thought I would play and feel I’ve done well in the games I have played, so I think he’s been happy with me.”
Bain has played at the national stadium before it dramatically changed circumstances. In fact, the goalie admits he hasn’t got much recollection of the occasion!
He had been released by the Dons and had joined Third Division Alloa as a part-timer when they played Queen’s Park in front of about “50 people” and he admitted: “I can’t remember the score, but we must have won because we battered everyone in that league. It was just people’s families who attended that day.
CLOSE SHAVE…Scott Bain is grounded as Mikael Lustig clears from Livingston’s Craig Halkett. Pic: Geo.
“I have had the best preparation to play at Hampden because I have played at Parkhead, Ibrox and Murrayfield and I am looking forward to the atmosphere and the game.
“All I can do is keep proving myself to myself, the gaffer and my team-mates and show I can come in and play at this level when I’m needed.
“The fact I’ve played a game every three or four weeks hasn’t really affected me.
“I definitely feel I’ve become a better goalkeeper here. Everyone is here to make me improve and I feel I have done. Being put in the situation of not playing to playing has also helped me mentally.
“I’m 27 now so if I can get another good few years at this club I’ll just keep steadily improving.”
Bain added: “I’ve not really thought about Sunday yet. We have a big European game first and I think it’s good that we have this distraction as it’s a massive game we need to focus on.”
Gordon will be in the No.1 position against Rosenborg in Trondheim tomorrow night in an encounter where three points are a must if Rodgers’ men are to get out of Group B and look forward to European football in 2019.
A triumph in Norway against opponents who were beaten 1-0 in Glasgow earlier in the tournament would set up the Celts nicely for their third successive Betfred League Cup victory – and boss Rodgers’ seventh domestic trophy in a row.