Budge splashes out "considerable expense" to help Hearts prepare for Celtic clash

By David Walton

December 15, 2020

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has revealed that owner Ann Budge has splashed out on a hotel to keep preparations as normal as possible ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup final.

There’s a bizarre feeling going into Sunday’s contest. Yes it’s supposed to be the showpiece for the biggest cup competition in Scottish football, but there’s a feeling of emptiness to it. Last season has already come and gone with the narrative having moved forward considerably, whilst there won’t be any fans in attendance for the game either.

The build-up to this one couldn’t be any unlike what we would normally be used to. The Scottish Cup final has always been an event that closed out the season and drew a line under the campaign, adding even further to the bizarre nature of it all.

But despite only being based around one hour from Hampden, Budge is splashing out on fancy accommodation for the Jambos so that they can have the best preparation possible for the game.

As quoted by the Edinburgh Evening News, Neilson said the following:

“I think it’s important that we do that (stay in Glasgow), like we did for the semi (against Hibs). Ann allowed us to do it – it’s quite a considerable expense, to be honest with you – but I think it’s important that there is no stone left unturned, no excuses, everything is done properly, so we can turn up and we are ready to go.

“We know they are a top, top team. We know they will be up for it. They have international players, so we have to prepare properly. There will be no complacency, we won’t be thinking ‘Celtic’s form isn’t this or that, they’ve not been playing as well’.

“We know it will be a tough game, but we believe we have a squad here that can go and win the game.”

Celtic can’t treat this like any other game

There will be a train of thought that goes along the lines of why Celtic should just treat this like any other fixture. After all, it’s just Hearts isn’t it?

That’s such a dangerous mindset to be in, especially when you look at how serious and monumental our Edinburgh rivals are treating this game as. The fact they’re splashing out on their accommodation to get the best prep possible is a key indicator of that.

You have to be aware of the extra bit of energy and aggression Hearts will have with this being a cup final. It won’t be 5-0 to Celtic or anything like a routine home clash. Hearts will come to Glasgow and fight tooth and nail to take this trophy – toppling Celtic would be such a feather in their cap this season.

Hearts owner Ann Budge has splashed out on their preparations ahead of Celtic clash (Photo by Paul Devlin/ SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic could do with putting themselves through a similar style of high-expense prep work and treat this game and opponent with the respect they deserve. And not only because we have a chance of winning another Scottish Cup either.

You have to remember that our season could also take a dismal turn if we lose this one too. This isn’t just about the quadruple treble anymore, it’s about keeping the momentum going and keeping the feel-good factor about Parkhead in place. With no Europe anymore, we have a massive opportunity on our hands to turn our season around with domestic-only football.

Beating Hearts is absolutely essential to lifting the storm clouds at Parkhead. So it’s of incredible importance that we put in prep deserving of cup winners.

In other news, we rank the likeliness of Celtic’s recent transfer stories from the sublime to the ridiculous.