JAMIE LANGFIELD is not the first footballer to return from serious injury to lift a trophy but his story may just top the lot.
The Aberdeen goalkeeper had a brain seizure in May 2011 that led to him subsequently undergoing surgery to have a blood clot removed, the player readily admitting he was not far from death's door. This was something a bit more substantial than the usual complaints about hamstring twangs and groin strains.
Now 34 years old and an Aberdeen veteran of almost nine years, Langfield's long journey back was completed yesterday as he helped the Pittodrie club defeat Inverness Caledonian Thistle on a penalty shoot-out to win their first trophy for 19 years.
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"I've gone from nearly dying two-and-a-half years ago to winning a cup with a team I love and I want to be a part of," said the goalkeeper.
"For me that's an incredible thing. I'm 34 now and these things don't normally come round. I'm so thrilled and don't think I'll get over it - I'll probably still have a smile on my face permanently. I've had a massive two-and-a-half years since my illness and this is what I dreamed of getting back to. I wanted a level of consistency playing, but to go on to win a cup was just something else.
"That was for my wife and my two kids Ruby and Maisie who have put up with me the last couple of years. They've really helped me through everything. So I just got all emotional as I knew how they would be feeling.
"I knew they would probably be crying and I just got caught up in the moment. I had the cards the girls gave me yesterday in my locker and I thought about them constantly. It was just all for them."
Langfield's save from Billy McKay's first kick of the shoot-out would prove a pivotal moment, the goalkeeper admitting that it was more than just guesswork.
"People say penalties are lucky but we do our homework on players now. Inverness had a shoot-out in the semi-final so I'm not saying I knew where McKay was going to go with his kick but I went the right way and I'm glad I got my hand on it and kept it out. And then Greg Tansey put it over the bar which was unfortunate for him. But by all accounts our boys weren't going to miss the way they were taking their penalties.
"We hadn't won a cup for 19 years so hopefully this can be the start of something special."
For Russell Anderson, in his second stint at his hometown club, it was special moment to finally lift a trophy at the age of 35.
"It's without doubt the sweetest moment of my career," said the Aberdeen captain. "I've waited a long time for that and so has everybody else at the club. When I was coming back here from Derby, winning a trophy was the furthest thing from my mind.
"I was hoping to get fit to hopefully prolong my career but, although you always dream of taking part in the latter stages of a cup, you're just thinking about trying to get in the team and improve yourself. You just wish you could bottle the feeling I feel now.
"I'm over the moon for my kids. They've seen a lot of the other side, when you're injured and sitting in stands in England many times when I should've been playing for them to watch me. I'm so happy for them.
"They were impressed with my shot in the first half which hit the post - I surprised them as much as I surprised myself. I'll be a cool dad for a day, if I'm lucky."