Robbie Neilson has dedicated Hearts’ Scottish Cup victory over Hibs to the late Marius Zaliukas.
The Jambos came away from their semi-final clash in the Edinburgh derby with a 2-1 after extra time. Craig Wighton and Liam Boyce goals were enough to seal a place in the 2019/20 final.
They will meet Celtic in a repeat of the 2018/19 finale. It was a great day’s work for Neilson but the day was overshadowed by the death of his former Hearts teammate, Marius Zaliukas.
Registering over 150 appearances in maroon, Zaliukas became a legend at Tynecastle as he captained them to a 5-1 win over Hibs in 2012’s Scottish Cup final, Hearts’ finest derby moment.
Neilson was still a player when Zaliukas first arrived in Gorgie and featured alongside him in Edinburgh many times. The current maroon boss has paid tribute to the late defender.
“I knew Marius, personally, for a number of years and its devastating for everybody at the club,” he said.
“It’s devastating because he was a big part of the club and a huge part of the history. He was captain of the 5-1 game against Hibs at Hampden.
“Hopefully we can give a slight bit of comfort to his family to say that this game is for him as well.
“He’s had a difficult period recently with his Motor Neurone Disease and we’re all thinking about his family at this moment.”