AFTER a two-year abstention from alcohol, Robert Snodgrass was finally able to toast a vintage moment in his career on Saturday evening.
The corks may have been popping long into the night to herald Hull City’s third promotion to the Premier League in eight seasons, but for Snodgrass, the champagne highs of not just helping to restore the Tigers to the top-flight, but completing the end of a personal journey will have made that glass or two of bubbly taste particularly exquisite.
After sampling just 40 minutes of top-flight action in 2014-15 after dislocating his kneecap on the opening day of his Hull league debut at QPR in August, 2014, no-one was more driven to achieve promotion than the Glaswegian.
It became not just a quest, but a crusade, with all the countless painstaking hours in the treatment room now truly meaning something tangible to the 28-year-old after the East Yorkshire outfit’s return to the big time at Wembley on Saturday.
The moment of closure also afford Snodgrass the chance to enjoy summer once again – after a write-off last year while he was on the recovery trail.
Snodgrass, who returned to first-team action in December after almost 16 months out, said: “I want to have a rest as I haven’t switched off for two years.
“I didn’t have a summer last year and haven’t had one single beer, to be honest. That’s from a lad coming from Glasgow! My mates and family think I have gone insane, to be honest.
“But I said to my family I would be there to celebrate (on Saturday) and, by god, we’ll do that.”
On his emotions after achieving his own mission of securing promotion, he said: “I find it hard to describe it, to be honest. I set out at the start of the season on a journey basically and I was still injured at the start.
“I saw the lads slipping lower and lower in the Premier League last season and when it got confirmed that Newcastle had won on that day (and Hull were down), I was there.
“I made a promise to myself that I would do everything I possibly could to try and get the team back in the Premier League and keep the lads’ spirits up and we have done it.
“It has been a journey for me and I have gone through the full process and I have done it and lifted the trophy.”
Snodgrass’s mum and dad, Irene and Steven, were also there to share in his redemption moment alongside pregnant partner Denise and many close friends from north of the border.
It made the day extra special for the winger, although he did spare a thought for two footballing friends from the losing side in fellow Scot Barry Bannan and ex-Norwich team-mate Gary Hooper, having commiserated with them after the game.
He added: “To have all your family here from Scotland who don’t get to many of the games and friends I grew up with at school who watched their mate lift a trophy and saw what I went through means that emotions were running high.
“I dreamt I would get automatic promotion with Hull, but sometimes you get two chances.
“I said to the lads at the start of the day that it is not often you get two chances.
“We let the first one go and I said: ‘Don’t let the second go or we will have so much regret’.
“I didn’t want to live with that regret especially seeing all my family and them having to pick me up.”