BEATTIE - WE DESERVE FINAL PLACE
Hearts striker Craig Beattie believes his side deserve their place in the final of the William Hill Scottish Cup after they beat Celtic 2-1 at Hampden thanks to his last-minute penalty.
Hearts midfielder Rudi Skacel scored the opening goal a minute into the second half when he rounded Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster before slamming the ball into the roof of the net.
Gary Hooper headed the equaliser three minutes before the final whistle, but Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley was then deemed to have handled the ball in the area in the last minute to give Hearts a penalty.
Substitute Beattie stepped up and fired past Forster to send his former club out of the competition and set up a final clash against Hibernian - the first all-Edinburgh final since 1896 after Hibs beat Aberdeen 2-1 yesterday in the other semi-final.
"It was fantastic, a great moment for myself and we deserved it," Beattie told Sky Sports 1. "We came with a gameplan to frustrate Celtic and I think we did that.
"To come back after they scored to equalise, I'm delighted.
"I was thinking please dive out of the way quick enough when I stepped up to take it. I don't normally take penalties but I've practised a couple during the week."
Beattie explained why he had only started the game from the bench.
"I've been carrying a couple of knocks and missed a few days of training," he added.
"I was touch and go to be honest, but I knew if I could get through Friday and Saturday in the week then I'd recover."
The striker is now looking forward to a sell-out crowd in next month's showdown after ending Celtic's hopes of retaining their title and claiming a league and cup double.
"The place will be rocking," he said. "It will be sold out and it's going to be a great day to compete for the Scottish Cup.
"It's going to be a fantastic day. Favourites go out of the window."
Hearts manager Paulo Sergio admitted he took a risk when he replaced Scott Robinson with Beattie at half time.
"In the first half we chose a strategy and I believed in it over the 90 minutes," Sergio said.
"I knew we were going to defend more in the first half but even with this strategy I thought we would have more ball in the first half and I didn't want to wait.
"I took the risk at half-time as I had to change things as we were not threatening the Celtic defence and it worked very well for us."
The Portuguese also praised substitute Beattie for the way he approached the crucial spot-kick which saw his side book their place in the final.
"I always trust my players," Sergio said. "I think he was confident to do it and he did very well.
"I feel very happy that we have gone through. We're going to play a final and it's huge for our supporters. We play very hard for that."
Celtic first team coach Alan Thompson called into question the refereeing decisions as his side crashed out of the cup.
Hearts won the match from the spot in the last minute through Beattie before Celtic had a penalty shout of their own turned down when the ball appeared to come off the arm of Andy Webster.
"We are very, very disappointed to say the least, more for the players and the fans," Thompson told Sky Sports News.
"It's inconsistency from the referee. If one's a penalty the other one's a penalty.
"Initially we thought the Hearts one wasn't a penalty. The ball came up to Joe Ledley's hand and it was so close to his hand he couldn't get out of the way.
"If that was a penalty we thought the Webster one should have been a penalty.
"There's an inconsistency with how the referee sees it. Yet again we think we've been done in a cup final from a big decision. In the League Cup final we were denied a stonewall penalty.
"On the whole we're disappointed and thought we deserved more.
"We obviously wanted to go on and finish the season on a high but that won't take away what we've done in the league."
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