When opportunities present themselves in football, players are advised to grab them with both hands. In the case of Celtic goalkeeper Scott Bain, he only needed one.
In as a late replacement for Dorus de Vries after the deputy to injured starter Craig Gordon failed a late fitness test, the former Dundee No 1 capped off an unforgettable debut with a terrific reactionary stop from Rangers midfielder Josh Windass in the dying minutes of Celtic’s 3-2 win at Ibrox.
It seemed for a second that his efforts were going to be in vain when the ball deflected into the path of Alfredo Morelos six yards from goal. However, the striker managed only to poke his finish on to the inside of the post. Bain, scrambling back towards goal in the off-chance that the Colombian would fluff his effort, was able to dive gratefully on to the loose ball as it spun along the goal-line, preserving victory in a tremendously entertaining Old Firm encounter which twice saw the visitors fall behind and go down to ten men during the second half.
“I’d saved the first shot and I looked up and saw the ball going to him,” recalled Bain. “I just thought, ‘Aw naw’.
“Then luckily he has hit the post and I was able to scramble and catch it before it went over the line. I was expecting him to score but I knew I had to get up just in case anything happened. Luckily for me, it hit the post and rolled along the line.
“It was a massive moment in the game but the way we handled going down to ten men [after Jozo Simunovic’s red card] was amazing.”
The 26-year-old later admitted to savouring the scenes at full-time as the triumphant Celtic players celebrated the victory in front of the joyous away support.
In his own words, it’s been a “strange season” for the Edinburgh-born stopper. Having began the campaign as the starting goalkeeper at Dens Park, Bain then found himself banished from the matchday squad for a rumoured bust-up with manager Neil McCann.
Following an early January move to Easter Road, fate then turned in his favour while he sat in a Hibernian tracksuit watching on as Gordon suffered an injury during a 1-0 victory over Neil Lennon’s men at Parkhead. The news that the goalkeeper would miss 12 weeks caused Brendan Rodgers to scramble around for a new reserve, which he secured when a three-way deadline day deal enabled Bain to join Celtic on loan until the summer.
“It’s a funny old game. I was on the bench for Hibs at Celtic Park when Craigy got injured. You just need one thing to happen and it can kickstart your career.
“I woke up on Sunday morning with a text saying that I was playing. I knew Dorus was struggling and then word came through at 8am that he was out. I had plenty of time to get myself right and focused on the game.
“It’s a great chance but I’ll go in next week and work hard and stay humble as I’ve always done. But I’ll savour this for the next two days.
“This is the biggest game – and the biggest win – I’ve ever had. The scenes at the end were unbelievable. I’ve never seen the level of fans like that. I just wanted to savour and enjoy it. I don’t normally think about taking it all in. Today was special though.”
Rangers midfielder Greg Docherty, another who tasted the Old Firm atmosphere for the first time, refused to let the blame lie at the feet of Morelos for his costly miss.
“I don’t think he needs to say sorry,” said Docherty. “Yes that was a chance but we missed a few good chances before that. When they went down to ten men we slowed down our play, for whatever reason, and the annoying thing is that when we did get behind them we managed to create a chance like that.”