Life in the Chiswick and District Sunday Football League is probably just about as far removed as it is possible to imagine from the glitziness of the occasion Patrick Roberts intends to savour at Hampden on Saturday.
But as he looks to light up the Scottish Cup Final and conclude his 18-month loan spell at Celtic on a high note, Roberts has revealed that the skills which have endeared him to the club’s support were honed while facing his older brother Adam, a midfielder with Barnes Eagles in the aforementioned Sunday league in their west London home.
“Adam’s not bad and he says I’m the player I am because of him being the bigger brother,” smiled Roberts.
“He used to kick me about the park. If you ask my mum, she’ll tell you that when I ran past him he used to kick me. He’s 22 now, nearly 23.
“I used to play with him and his mates and they used to kick me, which was good for me, looking back. Now it’s routine for it to happen to me on a Saturday and something I’ve been able to handle.
“I was the annoying little brother that used to dribble past him. It was fun to wind my brother up and you get in arguments and fights, but it was all fun.
“He is still playing for Barnes Eagles, which isn’t far from where I lived down south, and whenever I get down I’ll watch him play. He’s actually been in a couple of cup finals this season but he’s lost them both, so I hope I don’t lose on Saturday.
“When I have a day off and they are playing on Sunday I’ll sometimes go. There are usually a couple of dogs, a few fans and me watching. And usually a couple of fights!
“He appreciates it that I go along. He comes and watches me play and I love watching him just as much. We’ve got the support of our mum and dad who follow us around as well, like they did when we were kids. We’re a big football family.
“My dad is a Liverpool fan and my mum supports Everton, so there’s a bit of a divide there. They have all loved my time at Celtic, especially my brother, he always gets involved. He especially loves the away games, loves being part of my career.
“He gets to every game he can, if he’s not playing himself for Barnes Eagles, and was up at our game at Partick Thistle last Thursday. He gets right into it all.
“It is nice for me to have support like that – most players don’t have that. The family will all be at the final, cheering me on.”
Roberts has been in exceptional form in recent weeks, the business end of Celtic’s remarkable season bringing out the best in him as they completed their Premiership campaign undefeated.
“I just think players come into form at different times,” he said. “It is all about how you finish the season, and finishing it as strong as possible, mentally and physically, coming into every game, fit and positive and that is what I have done. I have kept focused and confident and scored a few goals recently which is good and if that has helped the team that’s nice.
“It would obviously be a great day for us on Saturday, the last game of the season, to finish off with all three trophies. That would be important for all the boys, not just me. We will look forward to that on Saturday.
“I think we thrive under pressure. When you get out onto the park, there is excitement, like when you get a good first touch and do well, that is important for me. It sets you up for the rest of the 90 minutes. You gain confidence through that and the more confident you get the more shots and goals you get. Getting that good first touch helps you do that in the game.
“I believe in confidence a lot. If I have all the confidence in the world I can try anything I want – that for me is the biggest part of my game – to be confident in your ability and never let that drop. It is not nice when you have a bad game. I just try to stay as positive as I can.
“To have the love and support I’ve had from the Celtic fans has been brilliant. I didn’t really know what to expect when I came up here so for it go it as well as it has is amazing.”