A dream of 50 years has been realised by Heart of Midlothian.
At last the Scottish Cup has been won, to erase the sufferings of half a century, and if the search has been long, there is no shadow of doubt that victory in Saturday’s final at Hampden Stadium, Glasgow, went to the better side.
The hoodoo was finally laid by a display of real fighting spirit at a time when it was most needed.
Remember, this Tynecastle side always looked ahead of Celtic in all-round excellence yet, when they went in at half-time only one goal to the good, and that obtained with the aid of a strong breeze, there were those who said that Hearts had lost their chance.
It was an idea quickly dispelled, for a second score arrived just after the restart. Then Celtic came into the picture for a spell, reduced the leeway midway through the half only to find Hearts fighting back again to make victory certain. No one can say the present Tynecastle men lack spirit.
That was the victory pattern as I saw it Hearts played as a team; Celtic were a disjointed company.
Supporters of the Glasgow side would no doubt trace their defeat to the boardroom decision to play right-back Mike Haughney at inside right, on the face of it, a strange transposition but they should not forget that Celtic faced the Final with a heavy injury list.
In any case, Haughney came to them from the Juniors as a forward. In this instance, the gamble did not come off the directors should not be blamed.
I thought there were three men who stood out in the Hearts side, though all must be congratulated on a fine team success. In choosing Dave Mackay, John Cumming and Ian Crawford for special mention, they were the key men when things looked as if they might take a turn for the worse.
It was at that stage I got the feeling that certain Hearts were thinking of the past, or of Celtic’s traditional qualities in overcoming the heaviest of odds.
These three rallied the Tynecastle men. Mackay had the job of watching the left-wing pair of Charlie Tully and Willie Fernie, the latter especially one of the cleverest players in the game, though not always the most profitable.
Mackay performed his task in magnificent fashion and, with that spearhead blunted, and with Neil Mochan held in complete check by Freddie Glidden, Cumming, despite a nasty cut above his left eye which required stitches, the Celtic forwards line never got a chance to function as a unit.
Willie Duff had a good afternoon in goal and Bobby Kirk I rated the better back.
Crawford’s goals came when they were required to settle the nerves of his mates.
It was some time before they really got moving, for earlier a number of promising runs had broken down in the goal area, and it took a snap effort by the left-winger to do the trick.
Willie Bauld made the pass to Alfie Conn who promptly transferred to Crawford. Celtic goalkeeper Dick Beattie managed to get his fingers to the ball but could not stay its progress to the net. That was in 20 minutes.
Not many thrills from Celtic so far until a Mochan header swirled inches past the post.
The half-time verdict was that it had been no epic so far, but the second half helped to redress matters.
Three minutes after the restart Crawford got a second goal and Bauld was the architect.
He trailed the ball down the left wing, eluded the attentions of 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 their supporters was momentarily curbed when Haughney caused Duff to drop a Tully free-kick and the back-turned-forward prodded home one for Celtic.
This was the stage when Hearts answered their critics.
Into the picture stormed Celtic but with as game a display of determination as I have seen for a long time, 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.
Bauld, if quieter than Crawford, played a major part in the wingers success. The left-winger also got fine service from Jimmy Wardhaugh.
If the right-wing pair of Conn and Young were less prominent, they were equally effective in keeping Hearts on top.
Hearts: Duff; Kirk, McKenzie; Mackay, Glidden (c), Cumming; Young, Conn, Bauld, Wardhaugh; Crawford.
Celtic: Beattie; Meechan, Fallon (c); Smith, Evans, Peacock; Craig, Haughney, Mochan, Fernie; Tully.
Referee: R H Davidson (Airdrie).