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Craig's cup final cheer!

Hignett has happy memories of Rovers' Worthington Cup final 17 years ago

24 February 2019

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Craig Hignett was delighted to finally break his cup final duck, on this day with Rovers 17 years ago.

The midfielder lost both the League Cup final and FA Cup final with Middlesbrough in the 1996-97 season, as well as the First Division play-off final with Barnsley in May 2000.

However, it was fourth time lucky when he visited the Millennium Stadium with Rovers on February 24th 2002, as Graeme Souness' side defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-1.

Hignett came on for Keith Gillespie 15 minutes from time and was pleased to play his part in the triumph.

"Graeme Souness had done brilliant with it," said the current Hartlepool boss.

"He got the club promoted the first season I was there and then we finished sixth in the Premier League and won the League Cup, beating Spurs in the final.

"I was a little bit disappointed not to start it, but I came on and got a bit of action.

"It was a great day because I'd been involved in three cup finals previous to that and hadn't won one, so that was the first one that I actually won and it just makes the day a whole lot better."

Hignett joined Rovers from Barnsley in July 2000 and went on to score 14 goals in 68 appearances in a three-year spell.

Along with the League Cup success and helping the club secure promotion to the Premier League in 2000-2001, Hignett admits it's the friendship with his former Rovers team-mates that he cherishes the most.

"I've got such an affection for that club because I've made life-long friends there," said the 49-year-old.

"We had a great team spirit, some great lads in the dressing room who I keep in touch with regularly. 

"We had some great characters - Craig Short, Garry Flitcroft, David Thompson, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Henning Berg, David Dunn, Keith Gillespie. You could go right through the squad.

"We were all so close that we had such a good team spirit, we were all together. It was just a really good set of lads, who were all good players as well.

"The club was just a fantastic club to be at at the time I was there."

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