Olly Lee aims to reach Hampden Park with Hearts tonight to show his dad he can follow in his footsteps.
The midfielder saw his England internationalist father, Rob, score for Newcastle in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Now he wants the chance to emulate that achievement at Scotland’s national stadium.
Hearts face Motherwell at Tynecastle Park this evening, with the winner progressing to a Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden next month. Lee, a summer signing from Luton Town, is eager to help the Edinburgh club into the latter stages of a major tournament.
Furthermore, he wants to touch the heights of Scottish football and show his family he is just as good as dad. “I saw my dad score in the FA Cup semi-final when they lost 2-1 to Chelsea. That was a bit of a bitter-sweet day but he still goes on about it now,” laughed Lee. “Hopefully he will be up here for those games in Scotland and he can see me do something similar. I’ve never been to Hampden. The boys have spoken about it and I’m really excited personally if we can get there. It would be a great platform to play on. I haven’t been at as big a club as Hearts with a chance to win things. I’ve had a few half-decent cup runs and played against Newcastle last year with Luton, but I’ve never really had quarter-finals and semi-finals. That’s why I came here – to play in big games that matter and try to win trophies.”
Featuring in that FA Cup tie at St James’ Park was a special moment for Lee and his family given Rob spent ten years there as a player. “Yes, obviously that was an amazing day for me personally,” he continued.
“My dad was there with my brother and it was something you couldn’t really make up. It was a day that will live with me forever. Hopefully there are a few more to come this season.”
Asked if a trip to Hampden could beat the experience of playing at Newcastle, Lee replied: “I think it might if we win.”
The Betfred Cup final is scheduled for Sunday, December 2, and the 27-year-old already has it in his mind. “I came up here to play in big games, play at Hampden, play in semis and finals and win silverware. This is our first big opportunity to get somewhere and we’re looking forward to it.
“I saw that the final is before Christmas so that’s a little bit different for me. I’ve never been involved in semi-finals and finals, so it’s nice to be at the right end of it. I can’t wait for it. I’m loving every minute of Scottish football, to be honest. It’s gone even better than I could have hoped for. I’ve really enjoyed the start and I think there’s a lot more to come from me. I’m only getting better and hopefully I can show the fans that.”
He will reacquaint himself with some old team-mates tonight when Motherwell arrive at Tynecastle. “I played with Peter Hartley and Carl McHugh when I was on loan at Plymouth quite a few years ago. They are good guys so I’m looking forward to putting myself into battle with them again.”