Ellis Simms not content with one 'special' Hearts moment as Everton loanee looks ahead to huge weekend
On Saturday the Hearts striker will take to the field in the Scottish Cup final looking to help his loan side defeat Rangers and earn his first piece of silverware. The Hampden showdown is, however, sandwiched between two potentially massive matches for patent club Everton, who are looking to avoid drop to the second tier of English football for the first time in 71 years.
Frank Lampard’s side host Crystal Palace on Thursday knowing a victory could be enough to secure their safety, depending on how Burnley get on against Aston Villa. If not, they go to the Emirates on Sunday for a final day meeting with an Arsenal side looking to make the Champions League.
Relegation for the Toffees might present Simms with the chance of playing regularly with his employers next season, though he’d obviously prefer if they remained among the elite, especially as he’s already proven himself capable with an EPL debut earlier this campaign.
“Winning the cup and then seeing Everton stay up would be brilliant, one hundred per cent,” he said. “It’s been a different season. The boys are working hard down there to make the fans happy and stay up, but for me the focus is all on playing in this final.
“I want to win and everyone else wants to win. We are hungry and are going to be ready for this game.”
Simms has already written his name in Hearts’ lore with the opening goal in the semi-final victory over Hibs in April. Regardless of the result in the final, derby victories against Hibs, especially those at the national stadium, live long in the memory. But the squad are refusing to be content with just the one historic result from this campaign.
“It’s a massive game ahead, we need to remain focused, train well and give ourselves the best chance to win,” Simms said.
“Coming here was mainly to play as many games as possible. But this has been a great run, getting to the final has been a bonus but the aspirations are to go all the way now and win it.
“The semi-final was a great experience. The fans were great, the atmosphere was something else. It was a really great occasion and I’m sure the final will be even better.
“The semi-final goal was special. It helped get us to where we are. It’s gone now though, we want to win the final and not just be part of it. We have worked hard to get to where we are and we are really looking forward to the occasion.”
Whether it will be Simms’ final game for the club remains to be seen. Hearts would like for the striker to return for their European adventure next year but with two years remaining on a contract extension he signed earlier this campaign, the ball is very much in Everton’s court.
“It’s totally down to Everton, they own me at the moment, I’m an Everton player,” said Simms. “My focus is on the final and then the summer comes round and I’ll have a couple of weeks to see what the future holds.”