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