HEARTS DESIRE JUST AS STRONG - SMITH
Former Hearts goalkeeper Henry Smith insists his old club will be just as hungry to win the William Hill Scottish Cup as Hibernian despite most of the focus being on their rivals.
Much of the build-up has centred on the fact that Hibs are aiming to end a 110-year wait for the trophy when the two Edinburgh sides meet at Hampden on Saturday.
But, despite claiming the silverware far more recently in 2006, Smith believes the desire within the Hearts dressing room will be every bit as strong as that of their opponents.
He said: "It's a cup final, it's not just a league game.
"They won't want to get beat in a cup final. They will have the desire as well as Hibs.
"They will know what's at stake - the prestige for the club, the bragging rights in the capital.
"All these things will be spoken about in the dressing room just before the game."
Smith - who spent 15 years at Tynecastle - believes the current crop of players deserve credit for reaching a cup final despite the club's off-field issues.
Playing staff received late payment of wages on a number of occasions during the season but have already secured a European place before going to Hampden.
Smith said: "It shows how strong they are up top.
"It shows how strong the dressing room is, how strong the captain is, keeping this team together with all the problems off the park.
"To come through the season and get to a cup final - and hopefully win a cup final - will be tremendous for them after all the ups and downs.
"It has been an absolute nightmare. I've spoken to a few of them and they weren't happy. Who would be?
"But they have done a job and shown they are as hard as nails up top.
"They have dismissed all those thoughts when they have crossed the white line and done the business."
Hearts are unbeaten in the last 10 meetings between the two clubs but Smith says that record will count for nothing unless Hibs chose to dwell on it.
He said: "It counts if Hibs want it to and they worry about it.
"If they let it rile them, it could mangle their heads and push them into a mistake on Saturday.
"The only way the 10-in-a-row will come to mind is if they think about it themselves."
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