The Rangers player who is very relieved to draw Celtic in Scottish Cup semi-finals

Kai Kennedy’s heart was racing. Just minutes after booking a place in semi-final for Falkirk, he was watching the draw live on TV. Not Rangers, he thought. Anyone but Rangers.

Kennedy has never played at Hampden before and on loan at Falkirk from the Ibrox club, the only thing that could stop him was the name of the last-four opponent. Unable to play against his parent club if pitted against them, it would need to be Celtic or Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The Highlanders came out alongside Falkirk, guaranteeing a non-Premiership club in the final. The League One Bairns, fresh from overcoming Ayr United 2-1 on Monday, will not be overawed in facing another side from the Championship in the Caley Jags.

“I was watching the draw and I thought we had got Rangers and I thought ‘oh no’,” said Kennedy. “I thought it meant that on my first game at Hampden I wouldn’t be able to play in the game. So when I realised it was Inverness I was buzzing about it. It’s an amazing moment for the club and I was delighted to be part of it. We have beaten Ayr and Inverness will be tough but anything can happen at Hampden. I didn’t want Rangers. I was thinking if I couldn’t play at Hampden after getting this far. I am still young and to get to Hampden at this stage of my career is great and I can’t wait to get there.”

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Falkirk had to come from a goal down against Ayr, who took an early lead via Dipo Akinyemi’s strike. However, in the second half, Callumn Morrison levelled from the spot before Kennedy’s 83rd-minute long-range strike deflected in off Frankie Musonda. The goal sparked bedlam in the home end and there were wild celebrations at full time as the Falkirk players partied to Tony Christie’s Amarillo.

Kai Kennedy celebrates his winner for Falkirk in the Scottish Cup against Ayr.Kai Kennedy celebrates his winner for Falkirk in the Scottish Cup against Ayr.
Kai Kennedy celebrates his winner for Falkirk in the Scottish Cup against Ayr.

“I just got the ball and I just seen the space and I had a quick look before I got it and I went for it,” recalled Kennedy. “My dad keeps telling me I don’t hit enough shots and I had the time. He keeps saying to me that I am doing well but I don’t hit it and I try to pass it. I thought I was too far out but I believe in my ability so I thought I should just hit it and see. When it hit the net it was probably one of the best feelings I have had in a long time. It is all about goals and assists for a winger and this is the most goals and assists I have had at a club. I have been working hard on and off the park and I am trying to get my body back to where I was. Everyone knows the ability I had a few years ago and I am trying to get back to my real self.”

Kennedy feels he can do that under John McGlynn, who he worked with at Raith Rovers. The 20-year-old could not praise his current gaffer highly enough – even if he dropped him to the bench for the Ayr match. “I have been at other clubs and I won’t criticise them, but for me, John is a top manager,” added Kennedy. “The way he is at training, how he keeps the standards up. I love the way it is but he certainly loves details. I don’t think he sleeps much before big games because he looks into everything. Even though I was dropped, I was gutted, but I wanted to play my part and to score the winner was great.”



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