BRIAN EASTON made his excuses and located the nearest television.
It was May 11 last year, and he was injured whilst already relegated Dundee played out their last home match of the season, a humdrum 3-2 defeat to Kilmarnock. But another fixture was weighing heavily on Easton's mind: that evening Wigan Athletic were scheduled to play Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley, which meant a day of destiny for his two old Hamilton Accies pals, James McArthur and James McCarthy. The rest as they say is history. Both men played in the 1-0 extra-time win, secured by Ben Watson's late header, which shocked City's multi-millionaires to give the smaller club the first major trophy in its history.
This Saturday, however, the boot will be on the other foot. McCarthy - now at Everton - issued one of 40 ticket requests being handled by Easton, although McArthur must miss out due to his continuing involvement in the Championship play-offs with Wigan. Easton's £350,000 move south to Burnley in the summer of 2009 might not have panned out in precisely the same spectacular fashion as McCarthy and McArthur's deals to the DW Stadium, but this Saturday at Celtic Park the 26-year-old would dearly love to create some cup glory for himself.
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"I couldn't watch the final because we had a game that day even though I was injured for that game," said Easton. "But I did manage to shoot off at full-time and watch the final on TV and I was buzzing for them. I have been asked a few times if I was a wee bit jealous and if I'm being honest I was. I want some of that as well. Hopefully, if we can we can win it then they will be just as happy as I was for them.
"I texted the two of them at the time but I felt bad because they never really got a chance to celebrate it as they had to play Arsenal a few days later to avoid relegation which unfortunately, they didn't manage to do," the former Scotland Under-21 cap added. "But it will always be something for them to look back on. When you speak to them about how good the day was, they can't really sum it up. You can only imagine how good it is but hopefully we can get that feeling on Saturday and I can see for myself."
Having made less than 40 appearances in three years at Turf Moor, Easton appears revitalised by his move to Perth, in the throes of what he regards as the "most enjoyable season of his career". If his prolific team-mate Stevie May appears to be next in the line of young Scots being lined up for moves south of the border - Peterborough and QPR were leading the hunt in January - his example provides a cautionary tale of sorts.
"I would love to see Stevie stay obviously because we want to keep our players here and have another successful season next time round," said Easton. "I was keeping a look out for Hamilton scores and he was getting goals on loan but he has come on leaps and bounds since then. He has got the pace and physique to do well in England. Technically he is very good and he has proved this season he can bag goals at the highest level. So I think if he did move down to England he would do very well there. Some of the players who have gone down haven't done as well as Stevie has up here and they've managed to do very well for themselves. He could do well wherever he went, whether it was the Championship or the Premiership.
"When McCarthy and I were down there at first we weren't playing much," he added. "James was getting very fed up and a bit homesick. So I would probably tell Stevie to be patient because he could go down there and not be in the team right away.
"After a full season of being the top man here that could be very frustrating. It could get in your head. But if he gets the chance he will definitely take it."