BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
GARY FISHER was among the Hoops faithful at Hampden as Celtic dismantled Aberdeen to claim their first trophy of the Brendan Rodgers era.
Little did the Albion Rovers star know that he would be charged with derailing their bid for another.
Fisher, 24, grew up in Glasgow supporting the Bhoys and managed to get a ticket for last Sunday’s League Cup final, lapping up every moment of a handsome 3-0 victory over the Dons.
Just 24 hours later, Celtic were pulled out of the hat to face either Albion or Queen of the South in the Scottish Cup fourth round – and with a mammoth pay-day on the line, the men from Coatbridge claimed a dramatic 2-1 triumph.
Fisher is adamant it will be a dream come true to cross swords with his boyhood heroes – even if he expects to be inundated with requests for tickets.
“I’ve never had so many calls and messages from people, some you haven’t heard from in years. It just pops up as an unknown number – they’ll be getting ready to ask for tickets,” the former Kilmarnock youngster joked.
“No, it’s been a brilliant week. It’s funny, I was at Hampden on Sunday supporting them before the Scottish Cup draw was made. Then, a couple of days later, you are talking about playing against them.
“I try to get to the Champions League matches and when Celtic’s game is on a Sunday, but it can be difficult when you are playing – but they have been great to watch and by far and away the best team in the country.
“They were brilliant on Sunday – we might need them to have a wee off day compared to that!
“The midfield looked pretty handy, so I’ll have my work cut out. But the boys can’t wait to test themselves again that level of opponent.”
It will also give Fisher the chance to renew hostilities with Scott Brown – five-and-a-half years on from his only other meeting with Celtic as a fresh-faced teenager at Kilmarnock.
“I’ve had a couple of 90 minutes against Rangers, but I only played against Celtic once, coming on as a sub for Killie,” Fisher recalled. “Scott Brown scored that day and he is obviously still in there, so that would be a brilliant test.
“It’s a great platform for all the lads here, because so many of them could play at a higher level.”
With the visit of Celtic not until January 21, the challenge for Albion is now to focus on their League One campaign, with Darren Young’s men yet again exceeding expectations as they sit just six points outside the playoff places.
However, ahead of today’s encounter against Livingston, Fisher firmly believes having the Celtic fixture on the horizon will prove a boost, rather than a distraction, to their promotion push.
Fisher added: “The competition is fierce at the best of times here, but with the Celtic game ahead it is just going to make everyone desperate to be part of that tie. It is just another thing that can drive us on.”