Motherwell ace Liam Grimshaw hopes to start Sunday’s Betfred Cup final for a crack at earning a second Glasgow win of his ’Well career over big guns Celtic.
The 22-year-old midfielder was outstanding as 16/1 shots ’Well stunned the Hoops 2-1 at Parkhead in a league game almost two years ago.
But Grimmy’s fine initial 14-match spell in Scotland, on loan from Manchester United, caught the eye of Preston North End, who snapped him up on a permanent contract in January 2016.
He only made five appearances for the Deepdale outfit before arriving back at Fir Park this summer via a loan spell at Chesterfield, and now has his eyes on putting Celts to the sword again in this weekend’s Hampden showpiece.
“I enjoyed my time up here last time and I think the squad’s even stronger now,” Grimmy said.
“We’re in the cup final and have a real chance of pushing on in the league as well.
“Whether I start the final or not is down to the manager.
“We’ve got a great squad of players. Obviously it would be a great game to play in.
“If we win this cup, it would be the top achievement I’ve ever done in football.
“Let’s just give it our best.
“I think Motherwell have won three cups in the club’s history.
“When you’re up against teams like Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen, it’s not going to come about very often.
“So we need to give it all we’ve got and hopefully get a win.”
Grimshaw and his mates know it will be tough to beat a Celtic team on an astonishing 64-game unbeaten domestic run, with ’Well rated as 11/1 outsiders by some bookies.
But Grimmy said: “I think every team in the world has weaknesses. We’ll have a plan and hopefully it will come off.
“Anyone who’s seen us play this year will know we’ve been good, apart from our blip.
“But I think if we go to Hampden and we’re on our game we can hopefully win.”
Grimshaw was speaking after making the first start of his second ’Well spell in Saturday’s 2-0 Scottish Premiership win at Aberdeen, having been a substitute in nine earlier games this season.
“I would say that was the perfect away performance,” Grimshaw said.
“Obviously, getting the goal on the stroke of half-time gave us a bit of something to hold on to.
“Although I don’t really think we needed that, because I thought overall we were the team who were always looking more likely to score.”
Grimshaw, who is contracted to Motherwell until the end of this season, said he’d coped fine with the demands of playing 71 minutes of an often frantic encounter at Pittodrie.
“I didn’t feel too bad,” he said. “I think the training we’re doing is standing the lads who aren’t in the squad in good stead, really, keeping fit.
“It just felt good to be back starting for Motherwell. I’m really happy.”
Grimshaw said he’d been hugely impressed by two-goal Louis Moult’s performance at Pittodrie.
“I think Louis’ performance was brilliant, as he’s been quite a lot of this season.
“If you’ve got someone who’s going to score goals like that for you, then you’re always going to have a chance.”
And the Burnley-born midfielder was also impressed by Motherwell’s defenders, who kept a clean sheet at a difficult venue having struggled badly in the first half of the recent 3-2 defeat at Ross County in their previous game.
A case in point was centre back Cedric Kipre who – very uncharacteristically – didn’t have his finest hour in Dingwall but was back to his best in the Granite City.
“It was set pieces we conceded off in Dingwall which we’re usually strong at,” Grimshaw added.
“If you look at the rest of the County game, we had quite a bit of the ball.
“Obviously, we worked on a few bits during the week and I think it was a lot better.
“Cedric is only a young lad, he’s only 20.
“Every young player has tough games but I think he’s done really well all season and he was good on the day.”