HE was the hero of the hour, the wounded warrior who had battled through what was later found to be potentially life-threatening injury to ensure claret and amber ribbons were draped from the Scottish Cup for the first time in 39 years back in 1991. A contribution that would not soon be forgotten, unlike the man himself.

Unbelievably, one of the undoubted heroes of perhaps Motherwell’s finest hour was left behind in the Hampden dressing room - broken ribs, ruptured spleen and all – as the team bus made its way back to Fir Park to kick-off the celebrations.

It was left to a sports writer (who else?) to save the day, and make sure that Maxwell was deposited at hospital, rather than back to join in the festivities with his teammates.

Not that he is bitter, mind you. Having been heartbroken as friends and colleagues from that squad have tragically passed since that incredible May afternoon 29 years ago, he counts his blessings that he is still here, and that he is able to savour his place in Fir Park folklore.

“I was lying in the dressing room and Graham Clark, the journalist, poked his head around the door and asked ‘Are you alright Ally?’” Maxwell explained.

“I said ‘Well, no’, and it was only then that we realise everybody had gone. Whoever was counting the players onto the bus that day didn’t do their job very well because I was left behind.

“Graham was the one that ended up taking me to the hospital, nobody from Motherwell knew where I was. The doctor said that even the trip there in the car was dangerous given the condition of my spleen, and I really should have been in an ambulance.

“How they didn’t notice I wasn’t on the bus I’ll never know, but I suppose it was understandable amid all the euphoria.

“I was in the hospital for 12 days in total, although I signed myself out to take part in the open-top bus parade the next day against my doctor’s wishes. There was no way I was missing that, so I promised the doctor I’d be very careful, and I wouldn’t let anyone touch me.

“When I see the photos, I can’t believe how white I looked, but thankfully I didn’t do myself any further damage and in time my spleen healed. It could have worked out a lot worse, so I’m thankful.

“I’m one of the lucky ones. I was over for the anniversary celebrations a couple of years back and it was hard to believe that some of the guys weren’t there. They were fantastic people who just so happened to also be wonderful footballers.

“Myself and Davie Cooper were basically inseparable for a couple of years because I used to drive him to training and back home again. He was a great guy and an unbelievable talent.

“We all miss them. But we celebrate their lives and what they gave to us. We were lucky to have them at the club and in our lives.”

If Maxwell doesn’t hold a sense of resentment about missing out on the celebrations, he could be forgiven for doing so over the infamous challenge by Dundee United’s John Clark that left him with those broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and double vision. Significant handicaps for a goalkeeper.

The memories would have been flooding back to countless Motherwell fans that were present as BBC Scotland screened the full match on Sunday night, but not Maxwell, who barely remembers a thing after that flashpoint.

“I really don’t have too much of a recollection of the second half,” he said. “I knew straight away after the challenge that I was struggling. I didn’t necessarily know the extent of why I was struggling, but I was having trouble with my breathing so I knew it must have been quite bad.

“I didn’t see it coming, he caught me on the blindside and because my arms were so far up in the air he caught me on the ribs, and the impact made me do a back somersault.

“The way I landed caused further injury as well. He’s a big lad! I knew straight away that something was wrong because there was a gurgling sound coming from my stomach and I was struggling with my breathing. Obviously, I had broken or cracked some ribs, so it was difficult to move and difficult to breathe as well.

“At that time though we didn’t have substitute goalkeepers, we only had two subs and even at that, Colin O’Neill wasn’t fit and was struggling with a knee injury. I had no choice but to play on. On another day if I was fully fit I might have saved a couple of their goals, but you have to give credit to Dundee United for the fightback.

“I remember a ball that looped under the crossbar and I caught it and then landed in a heap in the middle of the goalmouth. I think that was in the first-half of extra-time. Dave Bowman then came up and kicked a huge bit of mud right in my face.

“I then remember touching the one over the bar late on, and I just remember the final whistle going.

“I don’t remember too much after that. I don’t even really remember lifting the trophy. I’ve seen the photos, but I don’t remember it that much. I remember the video clips more than actually doing it.

“There’s that many photographs and that many video clips that I can see at any time now thanks to social media, so I don’t feel robbed of anything. It’s in the bank.

“I was one of the lucky ones to have been playing, and it meant so much to our fans that I would never try to take anything away from what is one of the most cherished memories of this era of Motherwell fans.

“Thank goodness for Stevie Kirk’s goal that won us it. The rest is history.”

The moments that Maxwell so modestly recalls don’t do them justice, particularly the tip over the bar from Maurice Malpas late into extra-time. It was an incredible save for a fully fit goalkeeper, but for one suffering the injuries of Maxwell, it was miraculous.

“I remember the ball falling to Maurice Malpas,” he said, “And although he was one of the best players in the league, my first thought was that there’s no way a defender is going to score past me with a shot.

“Just as he hit it, Craig Paterson stepped to the side a little bit and that let me get a good look at the shot coming through.

“I knew that I wasn’t moving very well, so I had to attempt to jump a little bit earlier and thankfully I managed to get off the ground and get a hand to it and get it over the bar. I thought, ‘I’ll take that one.’”