Jose QUITONGO insists Hearts’ fine record in the Edinburgh derby will count for nothing when they face rivals Hibs in the William Hill Scottish Cup final.
The Jambos are unbeaten in the last ten meetings between the Capital sides, winning seven and drawing three of those clashes.
The stakes could not be any higher at Hampden on Saturday as Hearts aim to extend their run, while Hibs are hoping to end a 110-year wait for the trophy.
Former Hearts winger Quitongo said: “A lot of people think Hearts might win easily but you never know in a cup game. Hearts have a good team but it’s going to be a hard game.
“There are no favourites. Cup games are different.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the league – it can go any way.
“But I still think it will be Hearts’ day.”
Hearts’ journey on the road to Hampden began with a less-than-inspiring 1-0 victory against tiny Auchinleck Talbot in January, with an 84th-minute winner from Gordon Smith required to overcome the Ayrshire juniors.
And Quitongo believes that game is proof in itself of the dangers of underestimating any opponent in cup competitions.
He added: “No matter what team you are, the cup games are different.
“Even the smaller teams try to play better against the bigger teams.”
The Angolan, who was at Hearts when they won the Scottish Cup in 1998, believes boss Paulo Sergio and his players deserve credit regardless of the outcome of the final for the way they have handled the club’s financial issues this season, which has resulted in late payment of wages on a number of occasions.
He said: “A lot of credit has to go to Paulo.
“There have been a lot of problems with the wages but the team has actually been doing very well.
“If they win the Scottish Cup as well, it’s going to be great for the players after all the troubles they have had.”