Steven MacLean says the Hearts players are determined to silence those who have written them off in the build-up to today’s Scottish Cup final against Celtic.
The striker is well aware that many people – including some of their own supporters – have dismissed the prospect of the Tynecastle side causing an upset at Hampden this afternoon following a sustained run of poor league form.
MacLean believes Hearts can use the criticism and ridicule that has come their way in recent months to their advantage as they bid to defy the odds and halt Celtic’s bid to complete an unprecedented domestic treble-treble.
“We want to go out and prove people wrong,” said the veteran striker. “Hopefully we can turn up and win it and then tell the people who have been writing us off to ‘ram it right up ye!’ You use stuff like that to show people that we do have what it takes. There will probably even be some Hearts fans who don’t think we can win but there will be others who believe we can and it is important that we use that as well so that we can create a feeling in the dressing-room where we all want to go out and show people what we are about and that we can put a performance on and bring the cup back to Gorgie.”
MacLean is confident there is enough spirit and defiance in the Hearts dressing-room to rise above the negativity that has accompanied much of the build-up to the team’s biggest game of the season.
“It doesn’t need to be talked about a lot but players who have a bit about them, and we have a few boys like that, just know,” MacLean said of the criticism. “They understand what people have been saying. I’m sure all the younger boys are on social media and they will have been having a look and they will realise what everyone is saying. We have to use that as an incentive to then go out and show whoever was saying it that they were wrong and we can beat Celtic.”
Hearts have been cast as huge underdogs for today’s final as they go into it having taken only one point from their closing seven league matches. “We know our form has not been great but the manager was playing a lot of different players and there are some who have done great and others who have not impressed,” said MacLean. “Celtic have been a bit in and out of form as well. They will fancy their chances of coming to Hampden and all their big players turning up but we will be well prepared and we will be ready for what they have got. We are looking forward to it and we are confident we can do it.”