"It still hurts"; Hearts dressing room still haunted by their Celtic misery
Hearts centre-back Craig Halkett has admitted that their 2020 Scottish Cup final defeat to Celtic at Hampden “still hurts”.
Hearts are involved in this season’s Scottish Cup semi-final stage along with Celtic, Rangers, and Hibs respectively. They’ll face their Edinburgh foes on Saturday before Celtic take on Rangers the day after.
Therefore, Celtic could meet Hearts in the final of the competition for the 3rd time in 4 years. The Bhoys beat the Tynecastle side back in 2019 in a 2-1 win before overcoming them again on penalties after a 3-3 draw in 2020.
And it appears that the latest encounter at Hampden still pains the Hearts players. Speaking ahead of this weekend’s semi-final as he previewed the Hibs game, Halkett said as quoted by the Daily Record: “The 2020 semi-final was tight. They are fierce games against your rivals and Saturday will be the same. You want a fast start and the first goal. We were disappointed going a goal down at the weekend but we managed to come back and win. This week will be about us starting as fast as we can.
“I’ve been to a couple of Hampden games with this club but they were during the Covid pandemic and no fans were there. This weekend the support will be massive. We have sold out the allocation and more. And people are still buying tickets. We want to repay that faith.
“It still hurts losing the Scottish Cup to Celtic on penalties. A few of us who were involved still have that in the back of our heads. We need to reach the final and that’s about winning on Saturday.”
Hearts vs Celtic Scottish Cup final looks a very likely prospect
There was something about that 2020 Scottish Cup final against Hearts that just didn’t feel right. Yes, it was the result that completed the quadruple treble and all the rest of it – a truly remarkable achievement that won’t ever be devalued.
But in a way, it was difficult to truly enjoy. The game had already been pushed back into the next season due to the Covid pandemic. In addition to that, we were toiling in the Premiership and had already been knocked out of the League Cup too. The season was slowly becoming a catastrophe, and that Hampden success didn’t cover for that.
There were also real worrying signs in the performance levels too. Hearts at the time were a Championship side and we allowed them to net 3 goals against us and come back twice.
If the two sides played each other in next month’s final, Celtic would be in an entirely different place. A place where you couldn’t see Hearts being anywhere near good enough to stop them.
Of course, that can only happen if we beat Rangers in the semi-final this weekend. Hampden is bound to be rocking as Celtic fans sense another treble could be on the cards.
And going on to beat Hearts in the final for a third consecutive time? Well that would just put the icing on the cake.