Paul Ritchie is congratulated by Neil McCann (left), Jim Hamilton and Steve Fulton after giving Hearts a 1-0 lead against Ayr United in the 1998 Scottish Cup quarter-final.

Hearts side that beat Ayr 4-1 en route to winning 1998 Scottish Cup - where are they now?

Hearts fans need no excuse to reminisce about their Scottish Cup triumph in 1998, but Ayr United’s visit to Tynecastle this weekend may bring back memories of the quarter-final.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 7:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th March 2021, 7:57 pm

Having comfortably disposed of Clydebank and Albion Rovers in the previous rounds, it was the turn of Gordon Dalziel’s Honest Men to stand between Jim Jefferies’ side and a place in the semi-finals.

The match took place 23 years ago this month, and Hearts went into the encounter full of confidence on the back of a nine-game unbeaten run which included a 2-2 draw at Ibrox the previous week.

And they made a strong start against the First Division side as goals from Paul Ritchie and Thomas Flogel had the hosts two goals up inside 17 minutes, only for Ian Ferguson to pull one back for the visitors two minutes later.

Ayr’s hopes of mounting an unlikely comeback were hampered by a red card for Derek Anderson just before the half hour for aiming a kick at Jim Hamilton, and second half strikes from Stevie Fulton and Hamilton ensured a comfortable 4-1 win over the 10 men.

Hearts famously went on to win the Scottish Cup that year, defeating Rangers 2-1 in the final at Parkhead, after accounting for Falkirk 3-1 in the semi-final at Ibrox.

But what about the 14 players who played their part in the win over Ayr? All but four of them would go on to feature in the final ...

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