Goalkeeper Luis Zwick could be set for final-hurdle heartache if Dundee United gaffer Ray McKinnon decides to go with his strongest line-up in today’s Challenge Cup Final against St Mirren.
On the road to Fir Park, Ray has shown respect for the lower-division knockout event by fielding strong line-ups in each round.
For his last line of defence, though, he has used this cup as a chance to give young German Zwick needed game time.
First-choice Cammy Bell has not been involved to date but his experience of the big occasion and high level of performance throughout the Championship campaign could see him get the nod on this occasion.
Given the part Zwick has played in getting United to the final, not least as he held his nerve when Queen of the South were threatening to complete a remarkable comeback from three goals down at the break in last month’s semi-final in Dumfries, in some ways that would be harsh.
However, irked by suggestions doing the build-up this game does not matter as much to the Tangerines as it does the Buddies, fielding his strongest available team would be a statement of intent from the manager.
And his reluctance this week to discuss who’d be between the sticks was clearly not just down to his usual habit of refusing to reveal his team selection any earlier than he has to.
“Don’t ask me that,” was his reaction when the subject was raised at his pre-match Press conference.
The answer came with a smile but there was also a clear indication the thought he should go with his regular No 1 has been on his mind.
“It’s something I’m thinking about but I haven’t made a decision yet, so you’ll need to wait for the team to be named,” was the serious answer.
If the manager does decide to make the change, it will not be the first time in United’s recent history a player has been left heartbroken when the team for a final has been named.
Club captain Sean Dillon will miss out today because of an ankle injury but, back in early 2008, he was fit and ready for action as Craig Levein’s team prepared to face Rangers in the League Cup Final.
Dillon had played in every round and was the team’s recognised right-back. When the line-up was announced, though, there was shock as his name only appeared among the substitutes.
In the build-up to Dillon’s testimonial against Hearts earlier this week, Levein named the Irishman as one of the best signings of his managerial career and to this day the pair remain on excellent terms.
When it came to team selection, however, there was no room for sentiment and the then-manager felt form at the time meant he had to opt for Mihael Kovacevic.
The young Swiss-Croatian had only signed a couple of months earlier and played just one first-team game before running out at Hampden.
But in it he’d turned in a flawless display in a draw against Celtic at Parkhead and that persuaded his boss he was the man for the final.
Should Zwick suffer the same fate, the current boss will hope his reaction to being left out will be the same as Dillon’s was nine years ago.
Despite his bitter disappointment, he did not let it affect what went on to become a long and successful career with United.
And while he’s had to play second fiddle to the excellent Bell in this campaign, there remains a feeling at Tannadice Zwick has the makings of a good goalie.