IF Hearts’ search for the Scottish Cup had been long, there was no doubt that this victory in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden went to the better side.
There have been more exciting finals but Hearts fully deserved their triumph. The Edinburgh club, last winners 50 years previous – had been acclaimed for the skill and ability of their sides for years – yet they always flattered to deceive.
When they finally laid the hoodoo, it was with a display of real fighting spirit at a time when it was most needed.
The Tynecastle team always looked better than Celtic yet, when they went in at half-time only one goal to the good, and having had the aid of a strong breeze, there were those who said that Hearts had lost their chance.
In the end, Hearts played as a team while Celtic were a disjointed company.
Supporters of the Glasgow side were unhappy at the decision to play right back Mike Haughney at inside right; on the face of it, a strange transposition but Celtic had a heavy injury list and Haughney had originally been signed from Junior football as a forward.
Dave Mackay, John Cumming and Ian Crawford were the key men for Hearts when things looked as if they might take a turn for the worse.
Mackay had the job of watching the left wing pair of Charlie Tully and Willie Fernie, the latter one of the cleverest players in the game, and performed magnificently to blunt that spearhead.
With Celtic’s Neilly Mochan held in complete check by centre-half Freddie Glidden and Cumming, despite a nasty cut above his left eye which required stitches, the Celtic forward line never got a chance to function as a unit.
Crawford’s goals came when they were required to settle the nerves of his team-mates. His first came after 20 minutes when Willie Bauld made a pass to Alfie Conn, who promptly transferred the ball to Crawford. Dick Beattie managed to get his fingers to his shot ball but could not keep it out of the net.
Three minutes into the second half, Crawford scored a second goal. Bauld was the architect.
He trailed the ball down the left wing, eluded Bobby Evans, and then sent over a nice cross.
Alex Young was on the spot to head it down to Crawford, who had moved into the inside-right berth, and Hearts were further ahead.
The jubilation of the Jambos was curbed when Haughney caused Willie Duff to drop a Tully free kick and the back-turned-forward prodded home one for Celtic.
It was then that Hearts answered their critics.
Celtic stormed forward but the Tynecastle side gradually got on top again and, with ten minutes left, they settled the issue with a third goal.
Conn was the marksman but, again, Bauld was the man who started the move.
Hearts: Duff, Kirk, McKenzie, Mackay, Glidden, Cumming, Young, Conn, Bauld, Wardhaugh, Crawford.