Carter Vickers opens up on Celtic penalty relief after heart-stopping Hampden moment as he reveals ref exchange

Cameron Carter-Vickers relived the moment he feared he’d conceded a penalty at the death in Celtic’s epic Scottish Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen - and admitted he DID foul Junior Hoilett as the clock ticked down in extra time.

Carter-Vickers had his head in his hands following his challenge on the winger as the Hoops support held its breath, but he escaped a spot kick after referee Don Robertson had spotted a foul by Hoilett on Alistair Johnston moments earlier. The indecent went to a VAR check and the USA international has lifted the lid on those mad few minutes, with the Dons still having enough time to come up with another goal to force penalty kicks before the holders squeezed through 6-5 in the shoot out.

Asked if he thought it was a penalty, the defender said: “Yes, I did, to be honest. It probably was a foul. We didn’t get given the (earlier) foul before but then we did. I thought it was given but then when it wasn’t I was happy. You obviously don’t want to concede late and then you’re thinking at that point it’s going to penalties. I was praying. The ref just said it was a foul against Alistair Johnston. And then I saw VAR was checking it. I said to him ‘If you’ve seen it on the pitch then just stick to your decision.”

Added to the spot kick drama was the fact Hoops shot-stopper Joe Hart, playing in his final season, stepped up to take a sudden death penalty and struck the post when he had the chance to win it - before making amends with the save that sent them through to the May showpiece where they will face Rangers or Hearts.

Carter-Vickers said: “We knew he was going to take one. We practise them in training and I’ve actually never seen him miss before. When he stepped up, I thought it would be a good fairy-tale for him, in his last season and hopefully scoring a winning penalty in the semi-final. It wasn’t meant to be but then he ends up saving the penalty which wins us the game, which is all good.”

It was a Hampden classic for the ages and the former Spurs man said: “I haven’t played in a game like that before, to be fair it was a crazy game. I thought on the ball we were good for large periods of the game. But it’s disappointing when you concede three goals. But to stick at it and win the game on penalties was a great feeling. As a group we always believe.

“Like I’ve said, defensively you’re looking to avoid conceding goals and win the game in normal time or extra time. But I don’t think as a group we ever stopped believing. The three seasons I’ve been here, every time I’ve come it’s been a difficult game no matter who we’ve been playing.

“Last season we beat Kilmarnock in a semi-final and that was pretty tight. We won 2-0 but we didn’t score the second until late on. I think back to the first year as well, Hibs in the League Cup final was 2-1. So again another tight game. Then the games against Rangers, they’ve always been tight. So I think any Cup game at Hampden is going to be tight. We’ve got much more to look forward to, 100-per-cent. Five more league games, all big games, and then obviously a Cup final next month.”