Ambitious Hearts and the Hampden learning curve that aids future objectives as they seek Scottish Cup glory

Hearts Captain Emma Brownlie and Head Coach Eva OlidHearts Captain Emma Brownlie and Head Coach Eva Olid
Hearts Captain Emma Brownlie and Head Coach Eva Olid | SNS Group / SFA
Hearts are at Hampden on Sunday as they look to clinch Scottish Cup glory.

Eva Olid says Hearts Women’s Scottish Cup final experience can be a huge learning curve for their future ambitions.

The women in maroon take on Rangers this Sunday at Hampden as they look to secure a memorable triumph. Hearts have already beaten Rangers in the SWPL 1 this season but they head into the game as underdogs, with all the pressure on a side who competed for the title.

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Olid’s team will make history when stepping out onto the turf in Mount Florida in this showpiece match for the first time, and the head coach believes it’s another step towards their goals long-term. She said: “For us, it’s a big learning experience. We have players who are 16 years old in the squad and they’re going to play in a Scottish Cup Final. For next season, we want to be more ambitious, and this final can help us to get our objectives for next season.

“A lot of their players will have played in finals before, for many of ours it will be the first time. I’ve had a lot of years in football, the crazy things happen and maybe it would be crazy if we were to win this game, but it can happen.

“Depending on how the game is going, if we keep the match competitive, they will start to feel the pressure. It’s my third season here. We started as an amateur team and the progression has been massive. To be able to win a cup this season, that is a massive thing for everybody.”

Old is hopeful that Hearts can take confidence from their previous win over Rangers, a 1-0 win in April. She added: “It’s always difficult against the top three, but the fact we’ve already won against them this season, that helps a lot in terms of belief for the team. Maybe, if you haven’t won against them before, it can be difficult, as they have a lot of experience.

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“Not just this season, but last season we got two points against Rangers. Out of the top three, Rangers is the team we’ve got more points against, which of course, gives us more belief. For us just to get to the final is a massive objective, but now we’re there, we want to win. We’re not here just to play, we will do everything we can to win that game.

“The mental side is the most important thing. You can prepare for a match but if the players don’t believe, you’re not going to get a result, so if we believe, anything can happen.

“The preparation is similar to a league game, but we know that there are more emotions this week. The most important thing is to enjoy it. We know we don’t have the pressure to win this game, just being there is amazing for us, which means we have nothing to lose. We can’t lose that moment to enjoy it as then we’re putting pressure on us that isn’t real. We really have to enjoy this.”

Captain Emma Brownlie meanwhile says Hearts won’t count on Rangers wallowing in title dismay. Celtic pipped them to the post last weekend but the skipper believes there’s two sides to that.

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She said: "I think it can go one of two ways. It either fuels the fire or you’re still hurting from it. We don’t take that into account. We know for them it’s the same as us, it’s one game, one cup final, winner takes all.

"We know Rangers have had the upper hand against us this season but I think the 1-0 victory against them gives us a bit of belief, gives the squad a bit more confidence and that’s exactly what you need going into this game.

"The pressure is on them, there’s no pressure on us at all and that’s something that can work for us. I am really looking forward to it. It’s a great occasion for the club. We have a young squad, and as a squad we are buzzing for it.

“We are the underdogs going into this game and that does relieve a lot of pressure from the players. Going into a cup final, anything can happen.”

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