HEARTS manager Paulo Sergio wants his players to beat Celtic and reach the Scottish Cup final as a tribute to Jamie Hamill, who will miss several months of football with a knee ligament injury.
Hearts travel to Hampden Park on Sunday for the biggest match of their season and Sergio is determined to help ease Hamill’s torment by securing victory over Celtic.
The defender ruptured his cruciate ligament after twisting his knee during an indoor training session at Riccarton on Tuesday. He will not play again this season and is likely to miss much of pre-season training while recovering.
Sergio revealed his sympathy for the player and said Hearts should be doing everything possible to reach the cup final on his behalf.
“It is bad news for Jamie as he has done his cruciate and he will be out for a long period,” said the manager.
“He is one of the guys who never missed a day’s training and then this happens to him.
“I’m very sad for him. I have no doubt he will come back strongly as he is one of the strongest characters in our dressing-room. I am sure he will recover sooner than anyone could imagine as he is a strong guy.
“We all feel sorry for him. We will give him all the support he needs to get through this and hopefully we can deliver a good result for him on Sunday.”
Craig Beattie and Andy Webster are both expected to start at Hampden after missing last weekend’s league encounter with Dunfermline because of minor injuries.
Hearts confirmed they have now sold more than 10,000 tickets for the semi-final after the general sale commenced yesterday.