Dieter Van Tornhout hopes it will be third cup final lucky

KILMARNOCK striker Dieter van Tornhout is looking for cup final glory at the third time of asking after suffering two of his bleakest days in football on the big stage.

Van Tornhout, who returned to training yesterday after a hamstring strain, is determined to enjoy Sunday’s Scottish Communities League Cup final against Celtic after huge disappointments in showpiece games in his native Belgium and in the Netherlands.

The 26-year-old endured a shock 2-1 defeat by Germinal Beerschot when bidding to win the Belgian double with Club Brugge in 2005. And his next appearance proved a personal disaster as he suffered a serious knee injury as his Roda JC side lost to Feyenoord in the 2008 Dutch cup final.

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“I have played two cup finals, one in Belgium and one in Holland,” the striker said. “I lost two so hopefully the third one will bring a better result.

“In Holland I broke my knee so it was not a good experience. I was out for nine months. That’s football, anything can happen. After that you become better for it. And now there is a new chance for a cup final and to win a cup. Hopefully on Monday I’m very happy.”

Van Tornhout is determined to enjoy the day against a Celtic side who are on course for the treble after winning 21 of their previous 22 domestic games.

“We need to enjoy the day, the game and try to play as free as possible,” he said. “They maybe have a little more stress because they can win the three Scottish competitions. We should and need to enjoy the day and the game.”

Kilmarnock have beaten Rangers twice this season and also drawn against Celtic and Van Tornhout said: “For us, it will be nice to play against bigger teams because they give us a little bit more space.

“We try to play football as much as possible so the big pitch can be in our advantage.”

Van Tornhout is optimistic over his fitness after missing Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Inverness after pulling out of training last Thursday with hamstring pain.

“I had some tightness in the hamstring,” he said. “It came from my back, I had quite a stiff back. Today I trained for the first time and it went very well. It should be fine.”

Meanwhile, the SFL has confirmed that both finalists in Sunday’s final will be wearing their second choice strips to avoid a clash of colours. Celtic will wear their grey-and-white striped top, which has green sleeves, with Kilmarnock in an all-yellow outfit that has blue piping.

SFL Operations Director David Thomson said: “Celtic were drawn as the home side, however competition rules dictate that both sides must change their strip when it is decided that the first choice of strip would clash.”