Jamie MacDonald will draw upon unforgettable outings at Hampden and Anfield as Raith Rovers seek to stun Celtic.
The Stark’s Park stopper is acutely aware that few onlookers give the Fifers a prayer at Parkhead.
After all, they have not emerged victorious from Glasgow’s east end since 1962.
But MacDonald has been written off before and history tells him to approach tonight’s Premier Sports Cup quarter-final showdown with a mentality of: why not?
“Let’s not beat about the bush — it’s going to be really difficult, but football has thrown up funny results in my time and Celtic have been a bit up-and-down,” MacDonald told Courier Sport.
“We need to make sure they don’t build up an early head of steam, maybe get the fans turning on the team and create a little anxiety. It’s all about starting well and feeling our way into the game.”
MacDonald is one of the few members of the Rovers squad who knows how it feels to dump Celtic out of a cup.
He was the keeper in 2012 when Hearts claimed a 2-1 Scottish Cup semi-final triumph over the Hoops — with Craig Beattie’s manic, shirtless celebration now cemented in Gorgie folklore.
🏆 "And Hearts have a penalty in the final minute of the 90!"
🎯 Up stepped Beattie…
— Heart of Midlothian FC (@JamTarts) April 9, 2019
Hearts would go on to hammer Hibernian 5-1 in the final.
“That game against Celtic is one of the best of my career,” MacDonald continued.
“It is maybe overshadowed by what happened in the final, but the semi-final was almost better in a way — just because of the manner of the win.
“We led right up until the 86th minute and when they equalised you think you’ve lost your chance. So to score a 90th minute winner was the sort of sheer elation you don’t feel too often.
“I actually stayed pretty calm. There was no way I was catching Beats [Beattie]. I would have been knackered!
“Although it’ll be different on Thursday, the task is the same: you’ll spend a lot of time without the ball, so can you defend well and use the ball with quality when you have it?”
And MacDonald reckons a John McGlynn defensive masterclass at Anfield in August 2012 bodes well for that task.
The veteran keeper was between the sticks as McGlynn’s Jambos defeated Liverpool 1-0 after 90 minutes, with David Templeton’s famous strike wiping out the first-leg Europa League deficit.
The irrepressible Luis Suarez settled the contest in extra-time but it remains a night of immense pride for MacDonald.
Absolute pandemonium in the Hearts end as they equalise against Liverpool at Anfield 👏 pic.twitter.com/NJ446CMrXT
— Fitba Culture 🏴 (@fitbaculture) July 7, 2020
“Just like no-one gives Raith a chance at Celtic; no-one gave Hearts a chance at Liverpool,” he added. “They put out a terrific side that night — Carragher, Gerrard, Suarez — and we took them all the way.
“The gaffer [McGlynn] knows what it takes to be disciplined and organised.
“Even this season, if you take away that crazy 25 minutes against Hamilton [going from 4-0 up to 4-4], we have been solid.
“We have seven clean sheets from 11 games and that solidity will need to be our platform.”