Significant Moment: Did Carter-Vickers' comeback from injury at Fir Park ignite Celtic's path to winning both the league and cup?


Hoping to cash in on the latest moment of triumph, Celtic’s media team will doubtless have spent the weekend frantically piecing together the highlights of the season just gone.

These days, the DVDs tend to be on the shop shelves before the last of the confetti has been swept up at Hampden.

With the Premiership and Scottish Cup secured after a challenging campaign, there will be no shortage of pivotal moments to choose from.

When Cameron Carter-Vickers replaced Nicolas Kuhn at Fir Park on February 25, Brendan Rodgers’ side were drawing with Motherwell and poised to fall four points behind a Rangers side sweeping all before them at that juncture.

Unable to get himself fully fit after knee surgery the previous summer, the American international had been posted missing after Celtic shed points in four previous Premiership matches and when they lost their grip on the League Cup at Kilmarnock.

Carter-Vickers, left, celebrates Scottish cup final triumph with matchwinner Adam Idah

Carter-Vickers, left, celebrates Scottish cup final triumph with matchwinner Adam Idah

The moment Celtic's campaign reignited when Carter-Vickers returned from injury at Fir Park

The moment Celtic’s campaign reignited when Carter-Vickers returned from injury at Fir Park 

Defender Carter-Vickers got straight back to business in Motherwell match in February

Defender Carter-Vickers got straight back to business in Motherwell match in February

His return to the fold just after the hour mark in Lanarkshire coincided with the side regaining their defensive assurance and belief.

While Adam Idah and Luis Palma would score the goals in stoppage time to secure the three points, the influence of Carter-Vickers on Rodgers’ team would have been clear from outer space.

While the defender did play on the day Celtic later lost away to Hearts, he’s not missed a beat since. In the 12 subsequent matches, the Parkhead men have been unbeaten. The team ‘came alive’ — as their manager said they would — in time to clinch the double.

For their defensive rock, the satisfaction gleaned from recovering to play such a vital role was immeasurable.

‘The beginning part of the season was frustrating for me,’ said the 26-year-old. ‘I want to be out there playing and helping the team as much as I can.

‘I always knew what I had wasn’t something that was going to keep me out forever. I just kept working and preparing so that, whenever I did come back into the team, I could help out — and luckily enough I have done that.’

By common consent, Celtic’s display in the fifth clash with Rangers in all competitions this season was their poorest.

For all that, Joe Hart was only required to make routine saves, with his one moment of alarm coming before Abdallah Sima’s ‘goal’ was rightly disallowed after VAR spotted Nico Raskin’s push on the keeper.

Rangers had their moments of promise and seemed to have a grip on the game as it entered its final stages. But Celtic’s defence still held firm.

‘It was a game of moments, half chances, and it wasn’t just me and Scalesy (Liam Scales),’ said Carter-Vickers. ‘I thought we defended our box well as a team. We limited their chances as much as we could.

Cyriel Dessers is halted by Cameron-Vickers during Scottish Cup final at Hampden

Cyriel Dessers is halted by Cameron-Vickers during Scottish Cup final at Hampden

Manager Rodgers and Cameron-Vickers celebrate at the cup final triumph

Manager Rodgers and Cameron-Vickers celebrate at the cup final triumph

Cameron-Vickers and team-mates look relieved after sealing a league and cup double

Cameron-Vickers and team-mates look relieved after sealing a league and cup double

‘We didn’t create many chances ourselves but we managed to take the big one when it came along.’

Coming 17 minutes apart, the introductions of Paulo Bernardo and Adam Idah by Rodgers were to determine the outcome.

The fresh legs of the Portuguese were too much for the tiring figure of Raskin. Having seen his team-mate let fly, Idah looked lively in the off chance that Jack Butland would be found wanting. His gamble was to yield a spectacular reward.

Adding his voice to the many who wouldlike to see the on-loan Norwich City striker sign permanently, Carter-Vickers said: ‘He’s done great, especially when he first came in. He scored a lot of big goals late on, away at Motherwell, Hibs as well. This was a great moment for him.

‘He’s a great guy as well, everyone loves being around him. He’s proved over the last six months or so that he can help the team. He’s a good guy to have around.

‘I have been here three seasons now and we always tend to sign a lot of players. That’s just part of it. Since I have been here, every player we have signed has come here with the right attitude and tried to help the team as much as they can. That’s all you’re looking for.’

Cameron Carter-Vickers and full-back Alistair Johnston pose with the famous trophy

Cameron Carter-Vickers and full-back Alistair Johnston pose with the famous trophy

Saturday reminded you that resilience and perseverance are the most important qualities in any football side. After a campaign that threw up more challenges than anyone expected, the mentality of Rodgers’ players delivered.

‘It hasn’t been plain sailing all season, but I think at all times we have stayed cool and calm and kept working,’ said Carter-Vickers. ‘And I think, if you do that, you usually get your rewards at the end.

‘I thought the game was quite cagey stuff. I don’t think either team played great football. But I think we believe in each other as a group and we know we’ll keep working right to the end. Luckily enough for us, we got the goal.’



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