Why Anthony Ralston is relishing the week that was with Celtic and Scotland double

Anthony Ralston is having the time of his life. Whatever happens in the future, there will be few weeks as satisfying as the one he has just experienced.

Celtic's Anthony Ralston at full time during a Premier Sports Cup semi-final match between Celtic and St Johnstone at Hampden Park, on November 20, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Celtic's Anthony Ralston at full time during a Premier Sports Cup semi-final match between Celtic and St Johnstone at Hampden Park, on November 20, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

A late cameo against Denmark last Monday evening saw the 23-year-old right back win first Scotland cap and all being well he will make his first cup final appearance against Hibs next month following Saturday’s Premier Sports Cup semi-final win over St Johnstone.

Ralston is very much at the opposite end of the spectrum to match-winner James Forrest. While the winger is aiming for his 20th major honour of his remarkable Celtic career, Ralston is looking for his first. If successful, it will be one more than many thought he might get when sent out on a one-season loan to St Johnstone.

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Unfortunately for him, it was the wrong season – 2019-20 rather than 2020-21. He missed out on the club’s double cup winning campaign but can now win his maiden winners’ medal against Hibs next month for the club where he has staged a once unlikely looking comeback. He recently signed a new four-year deal.

Anthony Ralston in action for Scotland during a FIFA World Cup Qualifier between Scotland and Denmark at Hampden Park, on November 15. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

“It has been a great time for me in my life and for my family as well,” he said. “I am loving every minute of it. To get my Scotland cap was another dream I have managed to achieve. I am just looking to keep working hard, keep myself right, keep playing these games and do the best I can for the team.

“When you are in the game it is about focusing on the game. I just concentrate on doing the business when I am out on the park. But I can watch it back and take it in that way. I will find time to do it.”

All being well fitness-wise, he will relish a cup final appearance on the weekend before Christmas.

“I have been in and around the squad,” he said. “I have come here for finals as either a fan or as part of the squad. It is something that I personally look forward to now I am playing and something we are all looking forward to as a club.”

Ralston praised Forrest’s persistence. “He has had difficult time with injury, but that is the quality that he has got,” he said. “He can come on and make the difference for the team. You have seen it year in year out with him. He has been a big loss for us. But I am delighted and we are all delighted as a team that he is coming back into the fold now. He can bring that to our game and make the difference.”

Ralston was the nearest player to David Wotherspoon when the St Johnstone midfielder collapsed to the turf with what looked like a knee injury.

Ralston immediately sought to comfort the player and there was relief when Wotherspoon, although limping heavily, appeared on the pitch after the final whistle to applaud the Saints fans.

“You don’t like to see any sportsman or ex-team mate get an injury,” said Ralston. “Hopefully it is not a bad one. I will check up on him and see. I hope he is well and healthy. It was good to see him walk off. Hopefully it is nothing too serious.”

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