Christophe Berra has called on his Hearts colleagues to ensure they seize a rare chance to make it to the Scottish Cup final today.
The Tynecastle side have reached the final of Scotland’s two main knockout competitions on only eight occasions in the past 50 years – the Scottish Cup six times and the League Cup twice. Berra, meanwhile, has never played in a cup final, although the 34-year-old former Wolves, Ipswich Town and Scotland defender was an unused substitute for Hearts when they beat Gretna on penalties in the 2006 Scottish Cup final.
The captain is well aware that he and his team-mates have a golden opportunity to experience a potentially career-defining moment next month if they can overcome Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle in this afternoon’s Hampden semi-final.
“The older you get, you realise that there is only a very small percentage of players and teams who have the opportunities to reach cup finals consistently or even once in a lifetime,” said Berra. “So when those opportunities come along, you have to take them. Hearts have not been to Hampden for six years so this is a massive opportunity. Hopefully we can grasp that.”
Berra knows that the result is ultimately all that matters today, but he believes that if Hearts can play with the level of intensity they showed for long periods of last weekend’s Edinburgh derby defeat against Hibs they will have a good chance of reaching the final of the Scottish Cup for the first time since 2012.
“You want to get to finals, you want to have that opportunity to lift a cup,” said Berra. “It would be the pinnacle of anyone’s career and we’re no different. It’s a big task. Hopefully the day will take care of itself. As long as we are on the ball, if we can perform like we did last weekend, I’m positive we will get a result. We need to make sure we hit the standards. But hopefully come 3pm we are the winning team no matter how we’ve played.”