HEARTS skipper Marius Zaliukas has admitted that the last couple of days have been the best of his life after lifting the William Hill Scottish Cup.
The Lithuanian and the rest of his team-mates partied long and hard on Saturday night following victory over Hibs and again yesterday as they took the trophy back to Gorgie.
An open-topped bus weaved its way through the streets of Edinburgh, the players holding aloft the Cup and filming the event on their mobile phones, in front of up to 100,000 joyous Hearts fans and their families.
The journey from the City Chambers, where a civic reception was held for the players, took around an hour before arriving at Tynecastle where a further 11,000 supporters were waiting for their heroes.
Zaliukas admitted that he had been blown away by the reaction of the fans: “The celebrations were amazing. On the bus, it was amazing.
“Just seeing the fans follow us, it was so special – better than I thought. This club is the third biggest in Scotland. Every victory like Saturday means so much to Hearts and we have to look forward now to more success.”
Zaliukas insisted that the club’s financial woes earlier in the season, which saw players go without wages, had simply made his side stronger, adding: “The trouble we had earlier on in the season made us stronger as a team.
“Through all the bad stuff, we started to play better and show real character. The last two days have been the best ever. It was a big relief and we were counting the seconds until the end [in the final]. Hibernian scored just before half-time but the gaffer calmed us down after that.
“Mr Romanov showed a lot of emotion and said what he had to say to us. Every player was up to the job and it was good for him that we won the Cup.”