Five months ago it was like a scene from Grange Hill as Harry Maguire grabbed young Billy Gilmour like a sixth-former stealing lunch-money at school.
On Tuesday night Gilmour showed he had learned from the experience, running the show for Chelsea to send Liverpool out of the FA Cup.
Now he can’t wait to repay Manchester United centre-half Maguire for the Carabao Cup duffing-up back in October.
“Basically he was saying I’m a wee guy,” said the ex-Rangers midfielder. “He was pushing me off, gripping me by the throat, and that’s something I have to deal with. But I won’t let that happen again. That was a lesson.
“Obviously he is going to try to bully young players and that’s where I need to learn how to be stronger. I’ve been working on that and I can only get stronger. But, yes, definitely, when he gripped me, I remember that really well.”
Chelsea’s delighted fans loved seeing Gilmour nutmeg experienced Liverpool midfielder Fabinho on Tuesday, receive the ball in tight spaces, and pass his way through the runaway Premier League leaders.
There was more than a touch of a teenage John Terry about the way he ordered around older team-mates with Premier Leagues, World Cups and European trophies under their belts.
“I’m not here to be just a player being quiet,” he added. “I need to tell folk to get into position. It’s the same when people tell me.
“That’s how I get better and that’s how they get better. Just telling folk to help out. I have to communicate because it’s especially important in my position.”
Had he noticed Scotland manager Steve Clarke in the stands on Tuesday night? “I was actually speaking to (Liverpool’s Scottish left-back) Andy Robertson, and he told me after the game. He told me to keep doing what I’m doing.”
The infectious enthusiasm of Gilmour, who was spotted carrying a PlayStation before the Liverpool game, was mirrored by the supporters who chanted his name and toasted the emergence of yet another top talent at Stamford Bridge.
Former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas is already a fan and tweeted his approval after the game.
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