Scottish cup final shoot-out hero Graham Watson admits his only feeling was relief when he converted a penalty in Aberdeen’s 1990 triumph.
At 19 years old Watson was the youngest player on the Hampden pitch and had only broken into the team weeks earlier.
Suddenly he was thrust into a high pressure make or break moment with Celtic 8-7 ahead in a penalty shoot-out.
Miss and Celtic lifted the Scottish Cup.
Score and the sudden death shootout, after a 0-0 draw, continued.
He held his nerve, then Anton Rogan’s spot kick was saved by Theo Snelders.
Thirty years ago on Tuesday, on May 12 1990, Brian Irvine then scored to secure the Scottish Cup for Aberdeen.
Now 49, Watson said: “It was total relief more than joy when the penalty went in.
“I was just trying to block everything out and focus on getting a nice connection.
“It wasn’t really going through my mind that if I missed we would lose the cup, I tried to block that out.
“It was only after I scored I thought about that a bit more.
“To be in the cup final and win was a bit of dream considering I hadn’t even played four or five games before that.”
Lifting the Scottish Cup should have been the catalyst for a successful career at Pittodrie.
However the following season the midfielder suffered a bad leg break playing as an over-age player in a youth tournament in Holland.
He was ruled out for a year and the early momentum of the cup winning breakthrough had gone.
Watson made 20 appearances for the Dons before starring for Clyde, Livingston and Forfar Athletic.
He retired at 28 and has been in the police force for the last 21 years.
Watson said: “I was living on a bit of a cloud after winning the Scottish Cup because it all happened so quickly.
“I was looking forward to more success and signed a four-year contract right on the back of that.
“I had high hopes. Unfortunately I then broke my leg when playing as an over-age player in Holland.
“It was just one of those things, but it was pretty bad timing.
“There is not much you can do about that.”
Aberdeen were gunning for the domestic cup double having secured the League Cup earlier that season with a 2-1 final defeat of Rangers.
Midfielder Paul Mason netted both goals in the that final triumph.
Teenager Watson came on for Mason with 15 minutes of extra time remaining.
Aberdeen’s Brian Grant and Celtic’s Polish international Dariusz Wdowczyk both missed spot-kicks in the regulation first five to force it in sudden death.
He said: “When it went to penalties I didn’t think for a minute I would have to take one.
“I was just standing at the side, watching but when it got to sudden death and people kept scoring I suddenly realised I might have to.
“It came down to myself and Brian Irvine as the only outfield players left that had not taken a penalty.
“There was a bit of a debate on who was going to take it and I don’t think either of us were particularly keen to.
“Dariusz Dziekanowski scored his penalty and one of us had to go next, so I stood forward and walked up to take it.
“The goals seemed a mile away as I walked up so I broke into a jog.”
Referee Graham Smith added to the tension by ordering Watson to replace the ball after he had placed it on the penalty spot.
Watson said: “I wanted to make sure the ball was spotted well but the ground was quite rough.
“I couldn’t get the ball to sit right on the spot and it kept rolling back.
“So I put it a bit forward from the spot and the referee pulled me up for that and I had to re-spot it.
“After that there was a bit of bedlam in the crowd with the Celtic fans but I was pretty oblivious to that.
“Earlier on Hans Gilhaus had told me that if I had to take a penalty pick a side and don’t change your mind.
“All I was thinking about was shooting to where I had decided to put the penalty.
“He (Pat Bonnar) dived the wrong way.”
That triumph was the last time Aberdeen lifted the Scottish Cup.
The Dons were set to face Celtic in the semi-final on April 12 in a bid to end that three decade drought but the match was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The SFA have confirmed Aberdeen will get the chance to emulate the ’90 side as the 2020 Scottish Cup will be completed.
Watson’s converted penalty was the second time he had netted against Celtic in Glasgow in just 10 days.
The previous week he had scored in a 3-1 defeat of Celtic at Parkhead, with fellow youngster Eoin Jess netting a double.
He said: “It was a bit of a tap in with my left foot, but it was still a great feeling to score at Parkhead.
“If I had missed it though I think I would have been slaughtered.
“Beating Celtic before the cup final was a great result considering we had a mixture of experience and youth playing that day.
“After that win I wasn’t taking anything for granted about being in the squad for the final.”