Hearts midfielder Don Cowie has stressed the importance of William Hill Scottish Cup success ahead of the fifth-round replay against Hibernian on Wednesday night.
The 34-year-old joined the Jambos just over a year ago from Wigan and was in the side which lost to their Edinburgh rivals at the same stage of the competition last term.
The Jambos went down 1-0 in Leith following a 2-2 draw at Tynecastle before Hibs went on to win the competition for the first time in 114 years.
Hearts had just come up from the Championship and would eventually finish third in the top flight with a European League qualifying spot as reward. Now, though, Cowie is looking for the Gorgie club to make an impact on the senior cup competitions having gone five years since winning the Scottish Cup.
He said ahead of Wednesday’s short trip to the Championship pacesetters: “It’s important for all of us, a club of our size we need to be challenging for trophies, getting to semi-finals and finals.
“There’s extra motivation with it being against your rivals and what’s it means to everybody in the city, but we need to start challenging to win trophies, we want to be in Europe.
“This club is on the way up, between the training aground and the stadium, everything is geared towards us being successful and we need to do that on the pitch as well.
“It’s a special game. Before I joined the club, it was just a case of watching it on TV and you think it’s a big game, but until you’re actually playing in it you realise just how big it is.
“We had a fans event on Sunday and it just reiterated how big it is. It means everything, and we’re all aware of that.
“It’s a big game, it’s going to be fierce, a big rivalry. The Tynecastle pitch didn’t help last week, Hibs came with a game plan, they were a bit more physical than they normally are, played a bit longer, they just played the conditions better than we did.
“By all accounts Easter Road is in better condition, so hopefully it will be a better game.
“They’ve shown that they’re capable of beating Premiership teams, they’ve done it countless times, and we’re well aware of that. I just feel that if we play to our best, we’ve got better players.”
Hibs made the most of their long overdue cup success and spent a year touring the trophy around Edinburgh and surrounding areas.
Former Inverness, Watford and Cardiff player Cowie conceded that their city rivals “were entitled to that” and looked forward to renewing the rivalry in the Ladbrokes Premiership as soon as possible.
Cowie said:”It was a great achievement.They got to two finals last year while playing in the Championship so you’ve got to take your hat off to them.
“They’re a very good team and it would be great for the city if they could get promoted and next season we’d have even more derbies.
“But the most important thing for us is that we win on Wednesday night.”