Danny Grainger has beaten Celtic before in the maroon of Hearts – and he’s hoping his former side can do similar on Sunday.
The Jambos are looking to end Celtic’s dominance in the Scottish Cup, Neil Lennon’s side winning the last three tournaments, including last year’s final against their 2020 challengers.
Grainger was part of the Hearts squad that won the cup in 2012, beating Celtic at the last four stage to reach the final, eventually thrashing Hibs 5-1. He says it’s a decent time to face Celtic.
“I think it’s probably the best time Hearts could have wanted to play Celtic, “ Grainger told NTOF. “There’s a lot of pressure on their shoulders, a little bit more nerves than their normally would be.
“I think it’s a great time to play them. Robbie Neilson will have his team looking to hit on the counter-attack and show them the respect they deserve, it is Celtic.
“But on the day, if your big players have good games, there’s no reason why Hearts can’t get a victory. Sunday’s the complete opposite of what Hearts have been used to. In the Championship, they are expected to be the stronger team.
“On Sunday they are the underdog. Whenever you play Celtic, you always are. I think it might actually play into their hands a bit, there’s nothing that they will fear. I think they will be positive and looking forward to the game.”
Grainger and his Hearts teammates pulled off a shock when they beat Neil Lennon’s Celtic en-route to the 2012 success. He’s explained what is needed to accomplish such a result on the big stage.
“When we went into the game against Celtic, we were looked at in the same way Hearts will be this weekend,” said Grainger. “Nobody will expect Hearts to get a result except those inside the dressing room and in the support.
“It’ll be the same this weekend. When you play for a club like Hearts there’s always expectation on your shoulders. But people like Andy Webster, Marius Zaliukas, Rudi Skacel, their experience was massive for players like me.
“It’ll be the same on Sunday, the little things they say to younger players or players who haven’t played in a cup final will have an impact.
“Celtic are there and if you can get them on the backfoot there’s hopefully a few chinks in the armour.”
A full conversation with 2012 Scottish Cup winners Danny Grainger and Andy Webster ahead of Celtic v Hearts will be available this Saturday on YouTube.
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