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Cup final: The long road to Hampden for Celtic and Hearts

A reminder of how the Scottish Cup finalists reached the much-delayed Hampden showpiece.

Cup final: The long road to Hampden for Celtic and Hearts SNS Group

The road to Hampden has been unprecedentedly long for Scottish Cup finalists Celtic and Hearts.

More than 16 months after the competition kicked off, and almost a year after the finalists began their campaign, the delayed showpiece will take place at Hampden on Sunday.

Here’s a reminder of how both clubs reached the final:

Celtic chase treble number four

Fourth round: Partick Thistle 1-2 Celtic (January 18)

Leigh Griffiths netted his first goal in five months to send Celtic on their way. Callum McGregor also scored before Stuart Bannigan converted a disputed late penalty in the final seconds. It was Celtic’s first match since losing to Rangers in another Glasgow derby and kicked off an 11-game winning domestic run. Manager Neil Lennon said: “They looked fresh, there was a lot of good movement, the first goal was a great goal and I was delighted for Griff to get that.”

Jeremie Frimpong was shown a yellow card at Firhill.SNS

Fifth round: Clyde 0-3 Celtic (February 9)

Goals from Olivier Ntcham, Scott Brown and Vakoun Bayo ensured there would be no repeat of Celtic’s 2006 exit at Broadwood. Celtic handed Patryk Klimala a first start and assistant boss John Kennedy said: “We made six changes and again we put on a convincing performance. But that’s what it’s all about. We need to utilise the squad.”

Quarter-final: St Johnstone 0-1 Celtic (March 1)

Ryan Christie whipped home an 81st-minute free-kick to continue Celtic’s winning run in domestic cups as Lennon’s side bounced back from their Europa League exit at the hands of FC Copenhagen. Lennon said: “That’s 34 undefeated and that’s amazing. It can go at any time so they want to keep it running as long as they can and they are coming up against all sorts of opposition and they’re dealing with it.”

Semi-final: Celtic 2-0 Aberdeen (November 1)

Exactly eight months after the draw, Celtic saw off Aberdeen at an empty Hampden. First-half goals from Christie and Mohamed Elyounoussi earned the holders a first victory in five matches. Lennon said afterwards: “I’m not saying everything is going to be plain sailing from here on in but we’re starting to show real form again.”

Celtic celebrate Ryan Christie's opener in the semi-final.SNS Group

Hearts slay Rangers and Hibs

Fourth round: Hearts 5-0 Airdrie (January 18)

Daniel Stendel enjoyed his first win as Hearts boss as the team ended a nine-game run without a victory. Andy Irving, Sean Clare, Steven Naismith, Euan Henderson and Craig Halkett all got on the scoresheet against the League One club. Stendel said: “It’s a good feeling to get my first win, it’s a good start to 2020 and I hope it can give us a lift for the next games.”

Fifth round: Falkirk 0-1 Hearts (February 8)

Falkirk hit the frame of the goal three times but Hearts progressed amid the difficulties posed by Storm Ciara thanks to Clare’s second-half penalty. Stendel said: “In some situations we had some luck but we have not had it in the last games. Today, it was on our side.”

Quarter-final: Hearts 1-0 Rangers (February 29)

Hearts went into the game with only one win from their previous 15 Premiership games, but that had come against Rangers, and they repeated the feat thanks to an Oliver Bozanic goal. Stendel, who only had three more games as manager, said: “That was a good example of what we can achieve as a team. It gives me hope we can win the biggest competition of the season.”

Hearts ousted Rangers at Tynecastle in the quarter-finals.SNS

Semi-final: Hearts 2-1 Hibernian (October 31)

Hearts went into the last four as a Championship team following their controversial relegation and had only played five games of their season, winning all of them, before prevailing in an entertaining Edinburgh derby. Craig Wighton headed Hearts ahead at Hampden before Christian Doidge levelled, and Liam Boyce’s penalty won it in extra-time. It was an emotional occasion for Hearts following the news of the death of Marius Zaliukas, who skippered them to the 2012 Scottish Cup. Goalkeeper Craig Gordon said: “Hopefully this result can pay respects to him because he was a fantastic player, and when Hearts won the cup last time he was here, so it is a sad day.”

Liam Boyce celebrates after putting Hearts 2-1 up in the semi-final.SNS Group