DCSIMG

Keith Lasley hopes to be able to add to his cherished day out at Hampden

THE sages wax lyrical about living for the day and never looking back. But there are times when those good old days offer hope for the present.

In that context, Motherwell midfielder Keith Lasley can be excused for dredging up a day trip that's more than two decades old. As he and his team-mates prepare to face Celtic at Hampden Park this afternoon, he is motivated by his last visit to the national stadium for a Scottish Cup final.

"I've only been to one Scottish Cup final - that was St Mirren in 1987, believe it or not. My uncle Ian is a big St Mirren fan and he took me along. I was only about eight years old and it was a great day for my uncle.

"St Mirren were the underdog that day and managed to lift the Cup so that gives me hope. But history in all the Cup competitions tells you there can be an upset. There have been many over the years. It gives you inspiration that you can do it. The good thing is that we know if we play at our best, we give ourselves a good chance of winning the game."

But history can offer more than motivation. It preaches caution and a reminder that the occasion should not be taken for granted. "That was my first and last Scottish Cup final but I remember it, I remember the goal for a start because it was at our end. Ian Ferguson scored it. That's my only memory of actually being at a Scottish Cup final.

"History tells us it doesn't happen every year for (clubs like] Motherwell. That's a fact. Obviously we'd like it to happen more often than it does but the way it's gone, there's been a long gap."

Lasley made his debut for the Fir Park team back in 1999 and admits that fortunes at the club since then have been "up and down". "But this will definitely be the highlight. In the last few years we've been quite lucky that we've done quite well with our league position and we've played in Europe. There have been some big games in there but Saturday will be the biggest I've played in and you really appreciate reaching this stage because for us it doesn't happen every season.

"It's taken a long time, but at last I've got the chance to play in a Cup final. The younger guys probably think it will happen a lot of times in your career, that's only natural, but the truth is you might only get one shot. This is my first shot and hopefully we can grasp the chance."

Fittingly, his uncle will be there, along with other family members. "It's funny to think he took me as a kid all those years ago and now he'll be watching me."

 
 
 

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