Hearts 'will sneak Edinburgh derby win against Hibs' in Saturday's Scottish Cup semi-final, claims ex-player

Former Hearts and Hibs midfielder Paul Hartley has backed the Tynecastle Park side to come out on top in Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final encounter at Hampden.

Hearts' Paul Hartley wheels away in celebration after netting against rivals Hibs at Hampden in April 2006
Hearts' Paul Hartley wheels away in celebration after netting against rivals Hibs at Hampden in April 2006

The Cove Rangers boss scored a hat-trick for the Jam Tarts in 2006 when they defeated their Capital rivals 4-0 at Hampden at the same stage of the competition and ranks the game as one of the best he played in.

Speaking to William Hill, sponsors of the tournament, Hartley said: “I was fortunate that we beat [Hibs] in 2006 but the build-up is great, you just want to go on and play.

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“It’s incredible. You can feel it in training all week. There’s a lot of media attention that week on you and it’s a game you don’t want to lose."

Hartley played 43 times for Hibs between 1998 and 2000 but it was his four-season spell across the city where he blossomed, scoring 38 goals in 149 matches and feels the last-four win against Tony Mowbray’s Hibs side overshadows lifting the trophy with Hearts and Celtic.

He added: “Winning the Scottish Cup with Hearts and then Celtic was special, but I think that semi-final game is the one I’ll remember.

“We won 4-0 and I managed to bag a hat-trick. It’s up there as one of the best moments in my career."

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Hartley opened the scoring after 28 minutes at the national stadium on April 2 2006 and scored the second on 59 minutes.

Edgaras Jankauskas made it three on 81 minutes shortly after Hibs winger Ivan Sproule was sent off for a stamp on Saulius Mikoliunas, and a penalty two minutes from time allowed Hartley to seal his treble, with Easter Road defender Gary Smith also receiving his marching orders.

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Hartley continued: "Winning the league with Celtic was special too, but scoring a hat-trick in a Scottish Cup semi-final, especially against your rivals, is something I’ll never forget.”

Hartley firmly believes Hearts – currently in the Scottish Championship – have what it takes to reach the final.

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He said: “Hibs have had a great start to the season. They’re probably ahead in terms of preparation as they’ve played more games, but Hearts have also had a great start.

"I think form goes out the window in these games, and Hearts will just sneak it on Saturday.”

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