Talking point: Are Hearts on a similar path to success?

Gordon Smith scores the only goal of the game to see off Auchinleck Talbot in January 2012. Pic: SNS
Gordon Smith scores the only goal of the game to see off Auchinleck Talbot in January 2012. Pic: SNS
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No sooner had Hearts drawn minnows Auchinleck Talbot in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup did the words 'it's fate' echo around the surrounding streets of Tynecastle Park as  supporters made their way home following the narrow victory over Livingston.

Of course next month's clash won't be the first time the duo have met on Scottish Cup duty. Hearts hosted the Junior club at the formerly known Tynecastle Stadium seven years go in January 2012, where the Ayrshire club put up a brave fight before succumbing to a Gordon Smith strike six minutes from time. Debutant Fraser Mullen even had a first-half penalty saved in what was a nervy performance from Paulo Sergio's men.

However, no one really cared a jot about the earlier rounds that year as Hearts went on to claim the silverware and inflict the most humiliating of defeats on city rivals Hibs at the national stadium, an occasion that is forever etched in the memories of Jambos supporters young and old.

So, for the fantasists out there who dare to dream, are Hearts on course for another run to the final? Only time will tell.

That said, when you compare the 2012 cup-winning squad to the one Craig Levein has assembled this term, it could be argued the current Hearts head coach has more strength in depth, not to mention ability to work with than what Sergio had. Yes, that side included staunch 'Jambos' themselves in Rudi Skacel and Ryan McGowan, both goalscorers against Hibs at Hampden, but it was far from a side that was littered with world beaters.

When you look at what Levein has at his disposal and with the prospect of long-term absentees John Souttar and Uche Ikpeazu edging closer to a return from injury, add a fully fit Peter Haring into the equation, then there is every reason to be optimistic Hearts can progress to latter stages of the competition, even the final itself, irrespective of a fifth-round clash against Auchinleck. A lot will depend on the draw going forward, assuming the Capital men see off the Ayrshire outfit in three weeks time. Another 1-0 win would certainly set the wheels in motion.