Gary Mackay: Have Hearts become simply a good cup team?
Right now, I think most Hearts supporters are feeling hope more than anything regarding the Scottish Cup final.
There isn’t a great level of confidence within the fanbase. Hopefully that’s not the case with the players. They need to still retain the belief that they can go and compete with Celtic in a one-off game at a neutral venue.
On the day, there will be massive backing from thousands of Hearts supporters. They will be there in numbers hoping the pressure transmits itself on to the Celtic players given the magnitude of what they are trying to achieve – a Treble Treble. If that puts extra pressure on them, it could allow us to relax, play and do ourselves justice.
We haven’t done that over the last few games, apart from the start and the end of the Hibs game. That is why confidence among fans has fallen.
There isn’t a spark right now. Does that come from a lack of confidence, or changing the team? It’s a hard one to nail down. We have lost two and drawn one of our last three games, and needed a late goal to get that draw. Now it’s Aberdeen and Celtic away. Players say they haven’t switched off although the cup final is the most important thing. It would be some achievement to beat both Aberdeen and Celtic when our last league win was on March 30.
Maybe it’s the cup run which has focused all our attentions this season. Maybe we are a cup team, able to concentrate on one game. If that’s the case, let it be. Supporters would gladly take two defeats in the next two games if it means a positive cup final result. The players would be very strong individuals if they can do that.
Aberdeen tomorrow will be a difficult game. Both teams have dipped in form for similar reasons – injuries, suspensions, etc.
Hearts players need to retain match fitness and, at Celtic Park next week, I’d expect to see the team looking like a shadow of the one which will play in the cup final. That’s outwith our control as fans.