Beating your rivals in a cup final is sweet. Thrashing your rivals 5-1 to deny them their first Scottish Cup since 1902 is even better. That’s exactly what Darren Barr achieved with Hearts in 2012, with the Jambos lifting their third Scottish cup in 14 years.
The defender scored the first goal on what was a historic day for the boys in maroon. He got on the end of Ryan McGowan’s shot and turned the ball into the net.
He didn’t score many during his career, but Barr admits his final goal and celebration were something special.
The Annan Athletic assistant manager told NTOF: “I didn’t score many for Hearts, but it was strange enough that any time I did score, it was against Hibs! The corner came in and it just fell to me.
“I don’t know what came over me with the celebration. I’ll never forget the feeling where I couldn’t breathe as I was that happy. You hope for these times and finals and I was lucky to get to one.
“It was one of they moments, I absolutely loved it. I don’t think I would ever change it.”
“To see how much it meant was incredible”
It was an amazing occasion for every Jambo, something Barr and his teammates were well aware of.
The ex-Hearts man insists the influence of senior figures like Jambos legend Gary Locke and manager Paulo Sergio helped him and his teammates deliver that special performance.
Barr said: “I think that season we had done quite well against them. You had Locke in your ear everyday saying he couldn’t wait, it told you how much it meant to the fans.
“It was even intense walking out. Even after everything happened, to see how much it meant to the fans was incredible. I was lucky to be part of something like that.”
“Sergio was really good at calming all the boys down, he had that authority about him which was good. At the same time he had that calmness about him and he told us not to play to the occasion.
“We had big characters in that team that season. On that day all our big players came to play, especially Rudi Skacel. He’s a legend around the place and maybe it was set up for him. The mentality we had I think pulled us through.”
Time for new legends?
Craig Levein’s men will look to emulate the likes of Barr, Jim Jefferies and many more Jambos who have lifted the Scottish Cup. It’ll be a tough challenge against Celtic, but as the old cliche goes, form goes out the window for a cup final.
Barr hopes there are new memories to savour as Hearts go looking for an unlikely victory.
“That whole weekend in 2012 was brilliant. It was a long few days after the final, days I’ll never forget anyway!
“It’s a one-off game where anything can happen. They need to have some belief and confidence in themselves. I’m sure Levein will have them organised and well drilled.
“It’s a case of who wants to be the hero and I hope Hearts can do it.
“I’ll definitely have my maroon tinted glasses on!”