IT’LL BE BETTER THAN WEMBLEY

24/01/12. John Devlin. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Press conference pre-Celtic. Callum Higginbotham with trophy.
24/01/12. John Devlin. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Press conference pre-Celtic. Callum Higginbotham with trophy.
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u KALLUM Higginbotham has tasted defeat at Wembley, but wants to wipe it away with a win at Hampden.

The frontman was in a Rochdale team that reached the playoff finals at the newly refurbished ground in London in 2008, but was on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline with Stockport.

On Sunday, he’s planning to add Hampden to his CV, but wants to mark a win beside it and inflict an unlucky 13 on Celtic.

“Playing at Wembley was a massive occasion but this time, look at the opposition we’re playing, and playing them at the National Stadium. I think this is better than the play-off final I was involved in with Rochdale at Wembley.

“It’s probably my biggest game of my career to date, and yeah, I’m certainly excited now being the week of the game. I’ll get more excited as the week goes on.

“I’ve never been to Hampden, only seen it on the TV but I expect it to kick in when I get there and I think we have a really good chance of causing Celtic an upset.

“I don’t know if people are looking at where you’ve played before, but certainly having had a background that includes Wembley and Hampden can’t do any harm.

“Hopefully when people come round and have a look and see I can produce it on the big stage and the big occasion that can go in my favour. It’s a chance to prove that.

While many of the Bairns will be tasting a huge global arena for the first time, Higginbotham at least has his experience under the English now famous arch, to look back on.

“I was a bit nervous before kick-off. I settled into the game and did what I could then, but I was on the losing side then but I’m eager to do better than the last time I was at a national stadium.

“Wembley’s all in the past, I am just looking forward to Sunday and getting on a winning side this time round.

“Celtic are on a great run and looking for a 13th straight win. We have got to make sure it’s an unlucky thirteenth for them. And we can do it.”

Higginbotham has every right to look forward to facing Celtic after a courageous season playing off Farid El Alagui. But a cruel red card at Livingston for an off the ball icnident robbed him of a chance to test himself against Rangers, who led the SPL at the time.

Higginbotham watched on as Mark Millar stunning injury time free-kick sent Bairns to Dundee United in the quarter finals and on to Sunday’s semi.

“I wasn’t involved in the Rangers game, but everyone was buzzing again in training and this time around it’s the same - but this one is bigger, and I think Celtic are a lot stronger than Rangers were last time, they’re on a great run.

“Obviously the guys pulled us through against Rangers and I was back involved against Dundee United and I think I did myself justice then, playing well and scoring my penalty - but I need to put another big one in again on Sunday and beat Celtic.

“The gaffer’s told us to believe in ourselves and our one-touch passing. He’s told us he believes in us and to believe in our-selves because, if we don’t believe that we can beat Celtic, there’s no point turning up which I think is spot on.’’