Hearts will turn up at Hampden this afternoon fuelled with a desire to defy the doubters, according to Steven MacLean.
The veteran striker says the squad are acutely aware that they have been written off for today’s William Hill Scottish Cup final, with so much of the pre-match build-up focusing on Celtic’s bid to complete a historic treble treble. The forward says that only acts as a spur to the Tynecastle side as they attempt to end the season on a high.
“We want to go out and prove people wrong,” said MacLean who is looking for a third winner’s medal in the competition. “Hopefully we can turn up and win it and then tell the people who have been writing us off to go ram it right up ye! You use stuff like that to show people that we do have what it takes.
“There will probably even be some Hearts fans who don’t think we can win but there will be others who believe we can and it is important that we use that as well so that we can create a feeling in the dressing room where we all want to go out and show people what we are about and that we can put a performance on and bring the cup back to Gorgie.”
With eight of the last eight major domestic trophies in the bag Celtic are a formidable force and up against a team who have failed to win any of their post-split fixtures. The odds are stacked against MacLean and his colleagues but they are undaunted.
Having beaten champions Celtic earlier this term and with a trophy at stake, the team who led the way in the league for the first few months of the campaign but ultimately had to settle for sixth place, believe they have one more big result in them before the season ends.
MacLean, who at 36 is one of the experienced heads in the dressing room, added: “Look, it doesn’t need to be talked about a lot but players who have a bit about them, and we have a few boys like that, just know. They understand what people have been saying. I’m sure all the younger boys are on social media and they will have been having a look and they will realise what everyone is saying. We have to use that as an incentive to go out and show whoever was saying it that they were wrong and we can beat Celtic.
“We know our form has not been great but the manager was playing a lot of different players. Celtic have been a bit in and out of form as well but they will fancy their chances of coming to Hampden and all their big players turning up.
“But we will be ready for what they have got. We are looking forward to it. We are confident we can do it.”