Blaise Riley-Snow has described the prospect of lining up at Celtic Park as ‘crazy’ ahead of a mouth-watering week for Raith Rovers.
It would be disingenuous to characterise the two-and-a-half years Riley-Snow spent in the Spanish fifth tier with Universidad Alicante and Alicante City as entirely low-key, one-man-and-his-dog spectacles.
There were a few fiesty local rivalries when passionate Valenciana villages crossed swords; bragging rights at stake.
But there were ample encounters played out to a handful of fans at local sports centres.
So, mere months after packing his bags, returning to the UK and taking a punt on a trial period with Rovers, the notion of walking out at Parkhead next Thursday remains a surreal one.
“I remember my mates messaging when I joined saying: ‘Imagine you get a good cup run and get to play Rangers or Celtic’,” laughed Riley-Snow. “So, for that to come true just feels crazy.
“It will be the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of by a mile and it’s the sort of stage you aspire to play on.
“It’ll be a great chance for the boys to showcase what they can do.”
Riley-Snow’s excitement about the upcoming trip to Glasgow should not be mistaken for a dismissal of Saturday’s clash with Morton.
That has his sole focus.
The towering midfielder will return to the Rovers squad after serving a one-match ban, eyeing precious points following an inconsistent, interrupted start to the season for John McGlynn’s men.
“We won’t let the Celtic game distract us,” he told Courier Sport. “I’ll only be on the pitch against Celtic if I do well in training and perform against Morton — that’s the same for all the lads; that’s the priority.
“We’ve got total focus on that game and a lot of respect for them. After the defeat against Queen of the South last week, we know how important it is that we get three points on the board.”
New Rovers deal?
Riley-Snow, contracted until January, was heartened by words of praise from McGlynn this week — and the admiration is evidently mutual.
Should the club wish to extend his stay, it seems the former Barnet kid won’t take much persuading to remain in Kirkcaldy.
He has swiftly grown fond of the Lang Toun.
“The weather is cold but the people are warm,” he laughs.
If this football lark doesn’t come off, a job churning out slogans for the Scottish tourist board may just await.
“I already feel more at home than I did in Spain. Part of that is the language factor — but the people here are so friendly in Kirkcaldy.
“I can absolutely see my future at Raith Rovers. I’m really enjoying learning from the gaffer. His view on the game, his attention to detail and man-management are fantastic.
“I feel like I’m improving every day.”