Hibernian striker Kevin Nisbet has dedicated the rest of his career to his father Thomas who died last Wednesday from liver cancer.
The Easter Road forward played through his grief in Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden Park where the Jambos won 2-1 after extra-time.
Nisbet, 23, who signed from Dunfermline in the summer, opened up to Hibs’ official website about his “hero”.
He said : “Dad was one of those ‘football dads’, in terms of giving up his time to drive me about from an early age.
“When I had a couple of setbacks earlier in my career and things weren’t going to plan, he never lost faith in me. He never stopped encouraging me.
“He wasn’t one of those pushy types trying to live their dreams through their kid. He just wanted me to be happy and make the most of myself.
“In the last few months it hasn’t been easy in terms of worrying about him and juggling that with football, but he was adamant that I – as best as I could – stayed single-minded when I was at training and playing games. Anything I do now will be for him.
“We’d known about dad’s condition for, maybe, the last three months, before I signed for Hibs.
“Terminal liver cancer. The words hit you. Unfortunately, his health deteriorated in the last week.
“It all happened very quickly. We hoped we’d have another couple of weeks with him, but it wasn’t to be.
“I’m grateful for that time we had but it has been hard. Dad’s been the driving force behind how I’ve been playing in the last few months.
“Not just because he’s my hero and I wanted to do it for him, but because he’s always believed in me. Ever since I first kicked a ball.”
The former Partick Thistle and Raith Rovers forward expressed his gratitude to Hibs management and players for their understanding and refused to use his personal tragedy as an excuse for striking an extra-time penalty against the bar at Hampden with the score poised at 1-1.
He said: “I let the gaffer (Jack Ross) and Potts (assistant John Potter) know. They’ve been so good with me.
“The gaffer and Potts were always saying that I could take time off, but I’ve not missed a session or a game. This was somewhere I could come in and feel comfortable.
“Again, the gaffer said I didn’t have to play on Saturday, but it was something I’d actually discussed with dad before he passed away.
“He told me that he wanted me to play and that he thought I should play, whatever happened.
“I would probably have done the same, but it made it a lot easier hearing him say that.
“I like to think I played my normal game. The penalty miss was a real disappointment, but my own situation had no bearing on that.
“Better players than me have missed penalties in the biggest games, and I could just as easily have hit the bar if I was playing without a care in the world. I wouldn’t stand for anyone trying to make any excuses for me.
“My reason for speaking out was to thank people who have offered their support, to me and my family in the last week.
“Darren McGregor has been there for me. He lost his own dad at a young age and knows exactly how I feel and how to juggle that with football. I have to thank Darren and the rest of the lads because they’ve all been great with me.”