AS STEVIE CRAWFORD announced his Dunfermline squad Tom Lang felt his heart sink.
His chance to cross swords with Celtic had gone up in smoke.
So the former Rangers defender intends to make the most of his fairytale reprieve with Clyde.
Lang was part of the Dunfermline group that traveled to Parkhead for their Betfred Cup last-16 tie in August and, having bust a gut to battle back from a hamstring complaint, was itching to land a place in the match-day squad.
However, he did not quite make the 18 and cut a conflicted figure in the crowd; beaming with pride as his teammates took the Hoops to extra-time, yet ‘gutted’ not to be involved.
Lang will make amends on Sunday afternoon when he lines up in the heart of the Clyde defence, having re-joined the Bully Wee on loan in January.
“I was at Parkhead when Dunfermline went there earlier in the season and, honestly, I was gutted not to be part of the squad,” recalled Lang.
“I was just coming back from an injury but I was fit to play and was really hoping to make the bench.
“Sadly, it wasn’t to be and you can’t help but think: ‘There goes my opportunity to play Celtic this season’.
“So, I’m delighted to get a second chance and hopefully I can make up for lost time with a good performance.”
And he is ready to put the lessons of that trip to Parkhead – which saw Celtic narrowly win 2-1 courtesy of a 114th-minute James Forrest goal – to good use at Broadwood.
“Everyone expected us to go to Parkhead and get absolutely battered, as a lot of teams do.
“I learned a lot from Dunfermline that day. It was an example of how you can stay disciplined, soak up pressure and they were very unlucky not to take it all the way to penalties in the end.”
Lang readily admits he has dreamed of bagging a late winner against Celtic.
You would expect nothing less from a boyhood Rangers fan who spent two years with the club as a kid.
However, after brief stints at Stranraer and Dumbarton, it was Clyde who truly gave him a chance to shine last term. He was pivotal in their promotion to League One, earning a move to Dunfermline which – as yet – is yet to pan out as he would have liked.
“I’ve already dreamed of a last-minute header a few times this week, I’m not going to lie,” he laughed. “Growing up as a Rangers fan, that is always something you imagine.
“But I would be equally proud – if not even more so – if I was to beat Celtic with Clyde than I would have been for Rangers.
“It’s the biggest game of my life and is win-win for us, with no pressure on Clyde and no-one expecting us to get anything.”
Lang, contracted to Dunfermline until the summer of 2021, is also acutely aware that he is playing for his own future, with Pars gaffer Crawford likely to be an interested observer of events.
“I’m only on loan at Clyde and it’s not as if my Dunfermline career is over – I really hope it’s not,” he added.
“I want to do as well as I can for Clyde for the rest of season and impress people along the way. Hopefully, Stevie Crawford is one of those.
“My aim is to go back to Dunfermline fully fit and pushing for a place in the starting eleven next season.”