Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday has revealed via The Glasgow Evening Times that Celtic captain Scott Brown attempted a pre-match intimidation tactic to unsettle him at Hampden Park last week.
Halliday and his team-mates beat their bitter Old Firm rivals in a dramatic penalty shootout to clinch a spot in the Scottish Cup final on Sunday.
Given the tensions between both sides, the two sets of players were obviously up for the game, but Halliday believes that Brown attempted to one-up him before a ball was kicked.
As both teams engaged in the traditional pre-match handshakes, Brown appeared to glare at the 24-year-old midfielder, who did not look unsettled, and Halliday believes that his Hoops counterpart was trying to "noise him up" to some extent.
“He probably was [trying to noise me up]. You see that in every sport really," he's quoted as saying by The Glasgow Evening Times. “Cricket is supposed to be a gentleman’s game but you see sledging and what they say to each other.
“It is going to happen on the big stage. I don’t know, maybe he was trying to get in my head but it wasn’t going to happen. We were all set to enjoy the game. Scott Brown is the captain of the national team, he has had a wonderful career and he is obviously a big player for Celtic. But I am just happy we done what we done and concentrated on ourselves. That was the reason we got the result.
“Of course it would be easy to get sucked into it but I was already in that mental state that I was ready for the game. The hardest part of the Old Firm is the anticipation. You just want the game to start because you are constantly thinking about the game. You want to conserve your energy because it is easy to build up nervous energy and by the time you are out there you are mentally drained before you are physically drained."
Brown did not have the greatest of afternoons, with his botched clearance leading to Rangers' first-half opener through Kenny Miller, while the midfield veteran also missed from 12 yards during the shootout.
But the Bhoys skipper will certainly hope to atone for his performance next term - and he will have ample opportunity to do so, with Rangers' top-flight return guaranteeing a minimum of four more Old Firm clashes.