Foder­ing­ham holds his nerve to win bat­tle of the bot­tle at Ham­p­den and toast sweet win over Celtic

The Herald - Herald Sport - - WILLIAM HILL SCOTTISH CUP SEMI-FINAL - STE­WART FISHER

YOU could call it wa­ter-gate.

It was re­vealed last night that Wes Foder­ing­ham, who branded beat­ing Celtic ‘the best mo­ment of my life’ on Twit­ter, showed his bot­tle to help Rangers book a place in the Wil­liam Hill Scot­tish Cup fi­nal de­spite ri­val cus­to­dian Craig Gor­don at­tempt­ing to psy­che him out by throw­ing his drink away dur­ing the penalty shoot-out.

Both men have worked with Scot­land and Rangers goal­keep­ing coach Jim Ste­wart, a man who is no stranger to us­ing such ploys to try to put off op­pos­ing stop­pers, and Gor­don got his re­tal­i­a­tion in first. While Ste­wart sent Rangers sub­sti­tute goal­keeper Cammy Bell off to re­trieve said item in the fran­tic con­clu­sion to this pul­sat­ing semi-fi­nal, the in­ci­dent didn’t ap­pear to do Foder­ing­ham much harm. The Englishman, work­ing from a list of each penalty kick taker’s pre­ferred side, made a cru­cial save from Celtic cap­tain Scott Brown, while Cal­lum McGre­gor and Tom Rogic were un­able to hit the tar­get.

“Be­ing a goal­keeper coach it’s your job to try and re­search other keep­ers,” said Foder­ing­ham. “Jim does that fan­tas­ti­cally well and Craig work­ing with him at Scot­land he’s prob­a­bly had one eye on that. But it didn’t pay div­i­dends for him. I don’t think Craig had a bot­tle but he could maybe have done with one!

“I just tried to fo­cus on the penal­ties and I got [the bot­tle] back from some­where,” the Englishman added. “Mag­i­cally. I don’t know what hap­pened. Jim does a lot of home­work on the penal­ties. We try and see which side play­ers favour. It paid off on the one that I saved so that was bril­liant.”

Foder­ing­ham went off into the night de­lighted with a save which he re­garded as the most im­por­tant of his life. It wasn’t the parry at mid height from Brown’s penalty which put the tin lid on a be­low-par out­ing from the Celtic skip­per, but the full length tip away from a wicked Leigh Grif­fiths free-kick right on 120 min­utes which was re­spon­si­ble for the match go­ing that far. He had a bit of luck on his side too, as the ball struck him on the back of the el­bow and bounced inches wide, as op­posed to an iden­ti­cal in­jury time free-kick from Hull City’s Robert Sn­od­grass in the Cham­pi­onship on Fri­day night, which hit the wood­work, the back of Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme’s head and bounced into the net.

“I’d say it was prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant save I’ve made,” said Foder­ing­ham. “Ob­vi­ously, if that had gone in we lose the tie with it be­ing so late in ex­tra-time and I was de­lighted I could play my part in the game. It hit my el­bow. It’s hap­pened so quickly, come off the bar and hit me and I was re­lieved to see it go past the post.”

The 25-year-old, who got a re­prieve when a low Grif­fiths strike hit the foot of the post with Pa­trick Roberts fluff­ing the re­bound, savoured his first taste of the Old Firm ca­coph­ony and looked ahead to a fi­nal with Hibs in May which will be the first Scot­tish Cup fi­nal be­tween two non top-flight clubs. There has never been one in the FA Cup south of the bor­der ei­ther.

“It was mas­sive,” said Foder­ing­ham. “It was the best game of my life, the best game of my ca­reer. I’m just de­lighted we could get the win. We played some fan­tas­tic foot­ball, stuck to our guns and it paid off. I’m de­lighted for the fans as well be­cause it’s been a long time com­ing. It was a lit­tle bit of a roller­coaster with them get­ting back into the game and go­ing to penal­ties at the end and win­ning it in that fash­ion.”

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