It’s been a turbulent time for Heart of Midlothian since they last won the Scottish Cup. Europa League matches against English Premier League teams, administration and relegation. Then promotion and qualifying for Europe as a newly promoted outfit.
Now with a Scottish Cup final on the horizon, it has the potential to be a fantastic end to the season for Craig Levein’s side.
Familiar foes from cup winning campaigns
The last time the men in maroon won Scotland’s premier cup competition, they had to get past junior side Auchinleck Talbot at Tynecastle. They did so in 2012 thanks to a 1-0 win with the goal coming from young striker Gordon Smith.
Talbot were unlucky that year, having a goal at 0-0 harshly ruled out for offside. However, the Jambos met them again in the capital this year. This time they grabbed a more convincing result against the Ayrshire outfit, thanks to a 4-0 win in Gorgie.
Later on, they were held to a 1-1 draw at Firhill against then bottom of the Championship Partick Thistle. They would squeeze past Gary Caldwell’s side 2-1 in the capital in the reverse fixture.
And yet, they also met Thistle back in another winning campaign, in 2006. Coincidentally, it was also at the quarter final stage, same as this year.
The footballing gods seem to throw up some noteworthy fixtures for London clubs in other finals which coincide with a Hearts Scottish Cup victory.
In 1998, as Hearts got the better of Rangers, Charlton met Sunderland in what was then a First Division playoff final. The exact same fixture as the League 1 playoff final that will take place at Wembley on Sunday.
In 2006, as the Jambos got the better of Gretna on penalties, Arsenal were set to play Barcelona in the final of the Champions League at the Stade de France in Paris.
In 2012, on the exact same day as Hearts smashed city rivals Hibs 5-1, Chelsea were crowned champions of Europe for the first time. The final was held in opponents Bayern Munich’s back yard, the Blues beating Bayern on spot kicks.
And so, in 2019, both previously mentioned London Premier League clubs will contest the Europa League final. Fellow Londoners Tottenham Hotspur have made the Champions League final where they’ll meet Premier League runners-up Liverpool.
So with London’s finest contesting several noteworthy trophies, is fate suggesting a Scottish Cup upset could be on the cards with the Jambos coming out on top once more?
The last time Hearts met a Celtic side managed by Neil Lennon at Hampden Park, they set up a capital city final against Hibs in 2012.
They won arguably the biggest Edinburgh derby of all time comfortably but it’s thanks to a dramatic win over Lennon’s Hoops that they were able to do so.
The Jambos were the underdogs against a strong Celtic side, similar to the manner in which they enter this year’s final. Several of that Celtic side would go on to feature in the Premier League. Victor Wanyama was a substitute with the likes of Fraser Forster, Ki Sung-Yueng, Joe Ledley and Gary Hooper starting.
Former Celtic striker Craig Beattie’s 92nd-minute penalty set up the first all-Edinburgh final since 1896. It was Hooper that pegged Hearts back with an 87th minute equaliser for Celtic after Hearts legend Rudi Skacel slotted the Jambos in front just after half time.
Scottish Cup record
Hearts have won the Scottish Cup more than any other non-Old Firm side except Queen’s Park, winning it on eight occasions. With 14 final appearances, their record is pretty impressive.
With two of their last three Scottish Cup victories coming against Rangers and Hibs, in 1998 and 2012 respectively, this would complete a fantastic trio of cup triumphs against three of the club’s biggest competitors.
Perhaps, as suggested with some of these particular omens, it’s just meant to be.