PADDY McCourt saw a grand total of three minutes of normal-time action in Scottish Cup finals and ended up with two winners’ medals to show for it.

Not only did the Northern Irish winger come on to showboat and see out time in the dying stages of Celtic’s three-goal victories against Motherwell in 2011 and Hibernian in 2013, he can even call himself a Celtic cup-winning captain if he wants to.

Signing off from his five-year Celtic stint at the end of that last match, he inherited the armband from Joe Ledley as the Parkhead side got over the line.“It was an emotional time, it was my last game and I’d known for a few months that it was coming so I was prepared for it,” recalled McCourt, now playing for Finn Harps and running his own youth coaching academy. “But I knew nothing about getting the captain’s armband before Joe Ledley handed it to me.”

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Having made a whistlestop visit to Glasgow yesterday, McCourt will be back in a week or so’s time to appear in his friend Scott Brown’s testimonial. By the time that comes to pass, of course, Celtic may have a historic first double treble in the bag. While he has never met Brendan Rodgers, he believes his countryman deserves most of the credit when it comes to transforming the fortunes of as many as half a dozen players who appeared to have uncertain futures when he first took over from Ronny Deila.

“I’ve always watched Celtic but even though we were still winning the league, like many fans it was getting a bit tedious,” said McCourt. “But the last couple of years I have really enjoyed watching them play again. The buzz is back and the most impressive thing is I could name five or six players who were struggling and looked on their way out but they’ve all been transformed under Brendan Rodgers into automatic first team picks.

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“Browny as a massive help to me when I was at Celtic and we are still great friends to this day,” he added. “He’s the fittest player I played with and under Brendan Rodgers he now looks the complete midfield player. I watched the last two Old Firm games and he didn’t need to come out of third gear.”

McCourt knows Rodgers’ cup final opposite number Stephen Robinson better. Assistant manager for much of Michael O’Neill’s giant killing exploits with Northern Ireland, he knows only too well how adept he can be at shackling technically superior sides.“I know Robbo well,” said McCourt. “He was Michael’s assistant when I played for Northern Ireland and he’s a really good lad. He understood that a lot of times you are playing against better technical players. I’m sure Robbo will have learned a lot from Michael’s approach in how to set a team up. Even if you are the underdog, how to close spaces, keep it tight and compact.”

**Paddy McCourt was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.’