“I have said to the wife she won’t see me until we go on holiday on Wednesday, I’ll just meet them at the airport!” said the striker. It would be MacLean’s third Scottish Cup winner’s medal but at 36 he knows he may not have many more opportunities to add to his collection which is why he intends to make the most of any celebrations. That and the fact he has some making up to do.
MacLean has shown longevity in a career which will stretch for at least another year thanks to his current contract, and he is just as determined to display durability when it comes to the post-Hampden partying.
There were restrictions when he was on the bench as Rangers won the league in 2003 and then followed it up with the cup triumph over Dundee and even when he helped St Johnstone to their first ever Scottish Cup win, defeating Dundee United in 2014, he had a limited time to indulge.
“It’s funny, I was only a young lad at Rangers when we won the cup in 2003. I was on the bench for the last day of the season when we beat Dunfermline and Celtic beat Kilmarnock but we just had to match their result. So we won the league on the Sunday and we all went out that night.
“I made sure I was in the next day because, as a young lad, I was trying to do all I could to get in the cup final squad. But I don’t think half of the players turned up until the Thursday! It was guys like Barry Ferguson and all that. They had to be dragged out of the pub by their wives and the manager.
“They turned up on the Thursday and Friday and we did nothing because the manager [Alex McLeish] didn’t want them training because he didn’t want any of them getting hurt.
“So I trained with basically whoever was left and those trying to get into the squad and I think in the end Peter Lovenkrands was struggling and he pulled out and I got myself on to the bench. I was actually going to come on but Artur Numan got injured and Kevin Muscat went on instead. But it was good.
“You don’t get the bus parade with Rangers but it was a good night out after it. My son had just been born as well so my wife was there. It was good for her to get a night out as well.”
There was a different vibe and an open-top bus parade five years ago in Perth but again there were constraints.
“Obviously the one with St Johnstone was wild,” said the man who netted in Saints’ 2-0 victory. “And it would probably have lasted a week but I had my A-Licence to get to. I was probably fortunate I had to be there or else I might have been drinking all week!
“It was a great night. I remember we went out in Perth with my family and everybody and then on the Sunday all my family came up to Perth and we had a good day and a good night. But I had to go and do my A-Licence on the Monday.”
The only cut-off this time is the midweek flight and having seen the photos of past Hearts glories and heard tales of the extended partying he is glad he has given himself some leeway. But if he is celebrating, he will ensure he raises a glass to the manager who brought him to Gorgie. Craig Levein has borne the brunt of the fans’ flak in recent weeks and months as the league campaign, blighted by several serious injuries to key players, failed to live up to the early-season promise. But MacLean believes he deserves more credit and the experience of finally winning silverware.
“If we could create history as well it would be great for the manager and the staff and the fans as well to see that,” he said.
“It’s funny, I spoke to him leading up to the League Cup semi-final and I never knew he hadn’t won anything as a manager or a player until he said that. So it would be extra special for us because he’s the one who brought us all to this club, even the young lads in his role as director of football, and it would be nice for us to pay him back with a Scottish Cup win.
“When you’re walking off at Tynecastle and he’s getting a bit of stick it should hurt us, it certainly hurts me. It is not nice to hear. I haven’t spoken to the other lads but I am 100 per cent sure they will want to do it for the manager as well.”