New Hibs goalkeeper Cammy Bell has revealed how he was stunned to hear boss Neil Lennon recall a save he’d made six years ago as inspiration for his players ahead of their victory over Rangers last weekend.
Bell turned in a man-of-the-match performance as Kilmarnock shocked Celtic by winning the 2012 League Cup but, he admitted, it was the last thing he expected to be mentioned by Lennon as he readied his side for their match at Ibrox. The 31-year-old, who had signed for the Capital club as back-up to Ofir Marciano only a few days earlier, said: “The gaffer was talking of inspiring moments, big moments in games in the hotel building up to the game and reminded me of the day I stopped him winning the League Cup when he was manager at Celtic.
“He recalled how Gary Hooper had gone through one-on-one on me in the first minute at Hampden. He said it was a big moment in the game, that had Celtic scored then they’d probably have gone on to win comfortably because they were a far superior team to Killie.”
Bell admitted he was delighted to hear Lennon hadn’t forgotten that day and reckoned that recollection worked a treat as Marciano pulled off a terrific double save from Josh Windass and Jamie Murphy before John McGinn opened the scoring for the Capital club who eventually went on to win 2-1.
“I said afterwards in the dressing-room that those were game-winning moments,” said Bell, who believes his save from Hooper all those years ago helped convince Lennon to bring him to Easter Road on transfer deadline day.
He said: “It’s a great memory for me playing in that final but I’ve played against a lot of his Celtic teams and against Hibs last year in the Championship for Dundee United so I think he totally understands me as a goalkeeper and what my qualities are.
“He knows what I can do, that I’ve played in big games, that he can rely on me and hopefully that was in his mind when I became available.”