March 18, 2012 – the day Killie finally broke their League Cup final hoodoo. A day that will live long in the memory of all who were there – not least me! This day was probably the greatest day of my entire life, and that’s a big statement to make about a game of football!
Having seen Killie get beat in two League Cup finals on March 18 – 2001, when we were beat 3-0 by Celtic and Henrik Larsson and 2007, when we went down 5-1 to Hibs – I wasn’t too confident going into the game as we were up against a strong Celtic side who were challenging for a treble. Still, myself and around 15 or so of my friends piled on a train to Glasgow Central before getting another from there to Mount Florida to visit the cathedral of football that is Hampden Park.
We arrived into the ground from the pub just in time to see the kick-off. We took our seats in the upper tier of the main stand to find Ben from Biffy Clyro at the end of our row – a good omen! The first half flew by, with both sides playing well and both creating chances. Our keeper, Cammy Bell saved us a few times, but we were happy enough going into half time at 0-0.
The second half started well, but Dean Shiels spurned a perfect chance when you’d have bet your mortgage on him scoring from his position. From there Celtic started to take the game more, and most of the Killie fans were surprised when Kenny Shiels, our boss, took off Gary Harkins for the mysterious Dieter Van Tornhout with 12 minutes to go.
However, we would all know who he was five minutes later. Ben Gordon released a pass on the near side to Lee Johnson who whipped in a cross to Van Tornhout’s head… GOAL!!! Celtic were stunned, someone had the temerity to take their treble away!
With four minutes of injury time, there was controversy at the other end. Celtic appealed for a penalty – they didn’t get it. Minutes later the whistle blew, and we’d won it!
We celebrated all night in Kilmarnock and paraded the cup down John Finnie Street.
A day to cherish forever.