Hearts' Liam Boyce bigs up Celtic quality ahead of Scottish Cup final

By David Walton

December 14, 2020

It doesn’t appear that Hearts are smelling blood ahead of the Scottish Cup final as Liam Boyce vowed not to underestimate Celtic on Sunday.

The Jambos and the Hoops will face each other for the second consecutive time in the showpiece event of Scotland’s biggest cup competition. The match is a repeat of the 2018/19 season’s 2-1 win for Celtic at Hampden.

Some may say that the Bhoys’ recent form has picked up after recent wins against Lille and Kilmarnock respectively, but there has been plenty of damage done in recent months. Celtic went into the Lille game last Thursday night having won two games in 12, with every game looking like it was going to be a slip-up.

However, Boyce isn’t interested in any negatives the Hoops may have suffered in recent weeks. Instead, he’s bigged up how well Lennon’s side can play when they’re on their game.

As quoted by Edinburgh Live, Boyce said: “We know they have gone through a bit off a rough patch but they still have quality players,” he warned.

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“The semi-final against Aberdeen was probably the best game they have played this season and if they turn up on any particular day, then they are going to be brilliant. We will need to be on our A-game and not underestimate them, regardless of what’s happening at the club.

“That Aberdeen game showed that they can turn on the style and we need to be wary of that and be prepared.”

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This is 100% the right course of action from Boyce as he refuses to get sucked into the overconfidence some Hearts fans will undoubtedly have heading into this one.

The Tynecastle club’s season couldn’t be going any better. As well as their Scottish Cup final chance on Sunday, they’ve won six of their first seven league games this season. They’re heading into Sunday on the back of a massive 6-1 win against Queen of the South at the weekend. Everything about Neilson’s side suggests they’re flying.

But Boyce shows a bit of class here whilst making a fine point about our performance against Aberdeen. So often when players try to dismiss overconfidence they simply use generic language. Boyce actually makes a terrific point.

Hearts’ Liam Boyce is in line to face Celtic (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

When we went into the Scottish Cup semi-final match against Aberdeen, everything was going against us. Derek McInnes’ outfit, meanwhile, were in good form and climbing up the table. Celtic mauled them on the day and could’ve won by a lot more than the two goals it was secured by.

So fair play to Boyce for recognising just how good Celtic can be on their day, especially considering Neil Lennon is likely to bring back those who have underperformed this season in a bid to be loyal to the players that reached the final (Glasgow Live).

It’s all up for grabs next weekend, and mentality is certainly going to be crucial. Hearts seem to have the right mindset if Boyce’s comments are anything to go by – hopefully the same can be said for us.

In other news, Celtic have been given a grim January warning over one of their transfer targets.