Hearts manager Eva Olid says her squad has multiple reasons to be motivated going into the Scottish Cup

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The Jam Tarts prepare to host Celtic in the Scottish Cup on Sunday with manager Eva Olid insisting that the squad is fully motivated to take on the holders.

In a repeat of last year’s semi-final Hearts will have to overcome the Glaswegian giants if they want to progress to the last four of the competition. It took Celtic until extra-time to overcome the Midlothian side in the last campaign, eventually winning the game 2-0. However, this year the Jam Tarts are in fine form and will be looking to rectify that result on the weekend.

“When we get closer to the match we will mention that [last year’s semi-final defeat]”, Olid told the Edinburgh Evening News. “Last year we had a lot of players who are no longer in the team because they are not players for where we are going and our new project. We now arrive at the quarter-finals with the squad spending more time together, more time working together with the new experienced players, then we can compete more. But we know that anything can happen”

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In the last meeting between the two sides, Celtic ended Hearts unbeaten home run in the SWPL in controversial fashion. The Jam Tarts thought they had got the equaliser before the goal was ruled out for offside as the game finished 2-1 to the visitors. As they prepare to take the Glaswegians on again, Olid believes they can use that game as motivation.

Eva Olid's team sit fourth in the SWPL. Credit: Malcolm MackenzieEva Olid's team sit fourth in the SWPL. Credit: Malcolm Mackenzie
Eva Olid's team sit fourth in the SWPL. Credit: Malcolm Mackenzie

“To be honest, you try to avoid the top three until the semi-final”, Olid stated. “We know that the top three are so strong. The match can be 120 minutes if we go to extra time. Against the top three that is not easy. In the league, we like to play against the top three.

“Just like in the cup, we expect to play them as late as possible. However, we compete in the league. Last year in the semi-final, we played Celtic and got to extra time. We know we have possibilities, but we know it will be a hard game. We have to be realistic; it will be a hard game.

“In the previous game, we were so close to getting a point. They said our second goal was offside, we think that was not the case. With that game being at home, we can use that to get a lot of confidence going into Sunday. We know that if Celtic have a good day, they are so strong. They have a lot of strong individual players and work well tactically. If we have a good day too, it can be a really competitive match.”

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Hampden Park is set to host the semi-finals of the cup as part of the 150th anniversary of the national game. With Hearts now one game away from playing at the national stadium, the squad is eager to get the job done on Sunday.

“We mentioned that against Partick in the last game in the cup”, Olid added. “We mentioned that the first thing we have to do to play [at Hampden] is to win. Now we are one step off playing that match. Of course, it is a large step, but it is one thing more to motivate us this Sunday.”