Nicky Clark knows what it feels like to reach a Scottish Cup Final at Hampden – but marks it down as a game to FORGET.
The Dundee United striker starred for Rangers at Hampden in 2016 as they lost 3-2 to Hibernian after an injury-time winner by David Gray.
It’s a game that will be remembered for so much more than being Hibs first Scottish Cup triumph in 114 years.
Fighting broke out on the pitch as thousands of fans ran onto the Hampden turf, with some attacking players.
He’s never once looked at the medal as it provokes unhappy memories.
But Clark hopes to create a Hampden memory to be proud of this year as United face Celtic in Monday’s quarter-final, bidding to earn a return to the national stadium.
“I played in the final for Rangers in 2016 but that’s not a day to look back fondly on,” said Clark.
“When you lose a final it’s horrible and I’ve not even looked at the medal, it’s at my mums and dad’s house.
— Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) May 21, 2020
“She likes having them there, it’s sitting there with my dad’s medals.
“Playing in a final at Hampden is obviously a fantastic occasion.
“But you have to win it to look back and have good memories.
“It was a bad day, a crazy day to be honest.
“The way it finished was mental with the late goal and with the fans coming onto the pitch.
“I was at the far side of the tunnel, when the whistle goes you’re obviously devastated.
“First it was one or two fans running past and you just think ‘idiots’.
“After that, it was thousands and you think ‘oh oh, trouble’ and get off as fast as you can.
“I made a beeline for the tunnel.
“The only good thing is it saved us that walk up the steps to pick up the losers’ medals. That was something at least.
“It’s pretty much the only game in my career I haven’t watched back. I have no interest in seeing it again.
“With what happened at the end, we were off the pitch really quickly. Someone then came into the dressing-room to hand out the medals.
“I can’t even remember who did that, someone came in with a pile of them and gave them out before we left.”
Nicky Clark: Hampden visit left me feeling empty last year
United reached Hampden last year but were beaten 2-0 by Hibs in front of an empty stadium.
And Clark would love nothing more than stunning Celtic to clinch a return trip to Glasgow to star in front of United fans.
“That was another weird one,” added Clark. “Playing at Hampden with no fans there.
“It didn’t feel right and it was another frustrating day for us.
“It will be different on Monday when we have a big support behind us at Tannadice. We will have fans behind both goals.
“Normally, Celtic and Rangers get the Shed but this time the club have kept it.
“Celtic have improved massively this season as it’s gone on.
“When we played them at Parkhead we did well and got a point but they blew us away when they came to Tannadice.
“We were a bit off it and couldn’t get near them. Credit to them, they were brilliant.”