MATTHEWS EYES FIRST FINAL APPEARANCE

Adam Matthews' vow to return to the big stage will start as Celtic face Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Last Updated: 16/03/12 at 06:40 Post Comment

Adam Matthews: Hoping to lift League Cup trophy

Adam Matthews: Hoping to lift League Cup trophy

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Adam Matthews sat watching his Cardiff team-mates just miss out on Wembley glory and vowed to return to the big stage soon.

And that chance could come on Sunday, with the 20-year-old in line to play for Celtic in the Scottish Communities League Cup final against Kilmarnock.

A teenage Matthews had played 35 times for Cardiff before the 2010 Championship play-offs, but did not feature as his side lost 3-2 to Blackpool.

"I've been in a play-off final but didn't play so this will be my first one," Matthews said. "I wasn't on the bench, just in the squad. I was only 17.

"It was a disappointment but that made me a better player and more determined to play in big games.

"When you become a footballer, every footballer wants to play in a final. That's one of the reasons I came to Celtic.

Hopefully it will be a good occasion and we'll get to lift the trophy at the end of it."

Matthews played in the 4-0 William Hill Scottish Cup win over Dundee United but manager Neil Lennon has regularly rotated his side this season, with right-back one of the most unpredictable positions.

Although Matthews looks favourite to start amid an impressive debut season at Celtic, Cha Du-ri and Mikael Lustig have both played in recent weeks.

When asked if he expected to start, Matthews said: "I'm not sure, but whoever has played in the right-back position has done well, we have got three different-class people to play in that position so it was always going to be tough to keep my place.

"But hopefully I justified myself against Dundee (United) and can keep my place for the final. A player would be gutted to miss out on the final but I just have to keep working hard in training and it's the gaffer's decision."

Matthews played in the memorable 3-3 draw with Kilmarnock in October, which started Celtic's 27-match unbeaten domestic run after they trailed 3-0, so he knows not to take anything for granted on Sunday.

And watching his former Cardiff team-mates on their recent return to Wembley - when they lost to Liverpool on penalties after a 2-2 draw - was further proof that complacency can be costly.

The Wales international said: "I spoke to a few of them, they enjoyed it but obviously they were gutted in the end.

"But I think that shows that anything can happen in cup finals. Liverpool were expected to win but Cardiff gave them a good go and were unlucky in the end."

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