Steven Naismith wants to win Scottish Cup for tireless workers behind the scenes

Hearts have the chance to end 2020 on a high against Celtic.

By Press Association Published: 18 December 2020 - 9.00am
Football

Scotland

Celtic

Hearts captain Steven Naismith’s will to win has always been very evident on the pitch and his thirst for success remains unquenched ahead of Sunday’s William Hill Scottish Cup final.

But the forward admits he will also be motivated at Hampden by the people behind the scenes at Tynecastle who helped the club through one of their worst years.

Hearts have moved forward since being relegated with eight games left following the suspension of football and losing a subsequent legal battle with the Scottish league.

The Edinburgh club then had to wait until October to start their season.

Liam Boyce celebrates his winner against Hibernian
Liam Boyce celebrates his winner against Hibernian (Andrew Milligan/PA)

But they have since reached the delayed cup final thanks to an extra-time win over Hibernian and now have the chance to end 2020 on a high against Celtic.

Naismith said: “It’s been a terrible year for the world in general but as a club Hearts have had it right tough.

“So it would be a nice way to end the year and go into the next year on the back of the performances we have had in the league. We will definitely be using that motivation.

“For us to win it, it would cap off a terrible year for the club. It would bring us more confidence, bring more silverware to the club and probably tee you up for the second half of the league season, to go and push on and get back in the Premiership.

“And on top of that you have this year’s Scottish Cup to be involved in.

Hearts chairman Ann Budge fought to keep the club in the top flight
Hearts chair Ann Budge fought to keep the club in the top flight (PA)

“It would bring a lot of confidence and there’s a lot of people within the club that, for their hard work and their hunger of just making the club better, it would be a reward for all those people as well.”

The 34-year-old added: “There’s so many people behind the scenes that love the club that much that they go way beyond to make Hearts better.

“Whether that be in the decision-making or day-to-day, there’s so many people here whose love for the club is so genuine that it’s for these guys you think about and try and go that bit extra.

“Look, as players, my whole career I have wanted to win. If I win this Scottish Cup it’s not going to feel any different than any other trophy that I’ve won because the drive is there to win the competition.

“I want to be a winner and as players you have got to have that personal pride. It’s an opportunity to win a trophy and have that stat next to my name. I’m a winner, I want to win everything I do and Sunday will be no different.

“But on top of that there is some fantastic people at the club that would deserve it.”

Naismith has been joined by Craig Gordon and Robbie Neilson
Naismith has been joined by Craig Gordon and Robbie Neilson (Andrew Miligan/PA)

One consequence of the pandemic is that Hearts have new management in the form of Robbie Neilson, who won the cup with Hearts as a player in 2006.

They have also brought in the likes of Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who also played in the 2006 final and has won the last 11 Scottish trophies with Celtic, while former Scotland defender Christophe Berra has been recalled from a loan spell.

“We’ve got more people around the squad now who have been involved in cup finals and won trophies and understand what it takes and what you need to do,” former Rangers player Naismith said.

“I think we are in a better place now than we would have been if the final was in the summertime.

Naismith, left and Lee McCulloch enjoyed success with Rangers
Naismith, left and Lee McCulloch enjoyed success with Rangers (Lynne Cameron/PA

“You’ve got Lee McCulloch on the staff as well who has experienced a lot of success.

“But just having that experience isn’t going to win you the cup final, you need the players to turn up.

“What the manager has done is bring players in who are hungry and want to win. So the competition is there.

“Experience will take us a long way but we need to turn up on the day. We need to be confident on the ball, and out of possession we need to be very good defensively.”

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