Motherwell defender Charles Dunne helped steer the club to the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals – just four days after driving home strangers stuck in heavy snow.
Dunne (25) mimicked his good deed with a ‘hands on the steering wheel’ celebration after skipper Carl McHugh’s stunning winner earned the Steelmen a 2-1 home victory over Hearts on Sunday.
Referring to his act of kindness in helping freezing folk afflicted by the ‘Beast From The East’ freak weather spell last week, Dunne said: “I was just driving back home from the gym because obviously the Aberdeen game got cancelled.
“Then I saw someone on the side and it was chucking it down so I picked him up.
“I picked up three people and they got home safe and sound so that’s the main thing.
“It’s nothing big for me. I would do that for anyone.
“Play football or not, it’s just a nice thing to do.
“I didn’t even speak to them about football or anything.
“I just got them home and told them I hoped they’d have a nice day.
“Thank God we won the Hearts game! Probably if we had lost there would have been people coming out and saying: ‘When you were picking people up you weren’t focusing on football’.
“But we won so it’s got to be positive, we’ve got to be happy.”
Similar to ‘Beast From The East’, Dunne and his mates threatened to blow away the Jambos in a first half they dominated and established a one-goal lead.
But Hearts equalised and had the better of the second half before Irishman McHugh netted a belter to set ’Well up for a Hampden semi-final against either Aberdeen or Kilmarnock on April 14.
Former Oldham Athletic ace Dunne added: “The first half we probably did better than the second half but we dug deep and Carl’s scored a crazy goal. What a tackle from him!
“I nearly had a heart attack when I saw that go in!
“It was class, so everybody’s happy.”
A rare negative from Sunday’s win is that McHugh was booked for a first half foul and so is banned for next month’s semi-final.
The Steelmen are trying to go one better in this cup, having been runners-up to Celtic in the Betfred Cup after losing 2-0 at Hampden in November.
“Obviously it’s a blow that Carl’s suspended for the semi-final but we’ve got a squad of players,” Dunne added.
“Someone will step in, take his place and do well.
“We want to win it for Carl and hopefully be back into a final.
“Hopefully we can win the Scottish Cup.
“We’ve just got to be positive. We’re a positive bunch with a positive manager.
“Of course we’re glad to get the chance to go back to Hampden.
“The new boys who have just come up will also get the chance to experience it, which is brilliant.”
Seventh-placed Motherwell, chasing a top six Premiership place, have a huge encounter on the artificial pitch at local rivals Hamilton Accies this Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Dunne said: “It’s a massive game for us and it’s our rivals so we just need to beat them like we did in the game before.
“I really hate that pitch but it is what it is, you’ve got to deal with it. It’s part of the game.”
Dunne also revealed how pleased he is that striker Ryan Bowman has returned to the Motherwell side in the last three games, having missed a month after fracturing an eye socket in an aerial duel with Dunne at training in January.
Recounting how the injury happened, the pacy defender, who has one Ireland under-21 cap, said: “A ball just came in and neither of us pulled out.
“Ryan headed the back of my head and he came out worse for wear.
“So now he doesn’t mess with the big man!”
Bowman’s first two substitute appearances for Motherwell since coming back saw the striker wear a garish black protective face mask for the recent games against Kilmarnock and Dundee.
But the mask was missing for Bowman’s 40-minute outing against the Jambos.
“He didn’t like wearing the mask but if it helps him he should wear it,” Dunne said.
“I think he’s all right now. I’m glad to have him back.
“He’s massive up there, great in the air and can hold the ball up for us.
“We’ve got nearly everyone back so we’ve just got to try and stay fit and keep moving forward.”