Hearts striker Steven MacLean has claimed that lifting the Scottish Cup at Hampden would be more “special” than either of his previous cup successes – and the veteran admitted his 2003 medal with Rangers left him feeling like a “fraud.”
The Jambos will face Celtic at Hampden next month with MacLean looking to win the trophy for the third time – the other came with St. Johnstone in 2014 but with that game taking place at Celtic Park the trophy was presented on the pitch.
MacLean joked that he only got a place on the bench in the 2003 final after his Rangers team-mates had been out most of the week but insisted the chance to climb to the royal box at Hampden and lift the trophy next month would be “special.”
“Maybe going up the steps to get a trophy would be the one thing I missed on cup final day with Saints. And when I was a substitute at Hampden with Rangers in 2003 when big Amo scored with his header to beat Dundee,” MacLean told the Daily Record.
“I was actually coming on but Arthur Numan got injured and Kevin Muscat came on instead.
“That was the year we won the league on the final day of the season and half the boys had been out from the Sunday to the Thursday!
“That’s probably why I got on the bench. I went up for my medal but I feel like a bit of a fraud if I haven’t played. That’s maybe harsh but you know what I mean.
“When you play it makes you feel more special. It would definitely mean more to climb the steps having played this time.”
MacLean started last weekend’s semi-final win over Inverness Caley Thistle on the bench and will need to impress over the final five league games if he is to force his way into the starting XI.
With Aidan Keena and Uche Ikpeazu already fighting for a space, and the possible return of Steven Naismith, MacLean faces a tough task.
The Jambos welcome Rangers to Tynecastle on Saturday and it will be the ideal opportunity for players to stake a claim for the trip to Hampden on May 25th.