Hearts aiming to end Hampden hoodoo by winning League Cup trophy

The Edinburgh side have lost three Hampden finals in the last five years.

Naismith: Time for Hearts to take ‘next step’ and win trophy after Hampden hard-luck stories SNS Group

Hearts are looking to “take the next step” and get their hands on silverware this season after suffering several Hampden disappointments in the last five years.

The Tynecastle club were defeated Scottish Cup finalists in 2019, 2020 and 2022 and reached the semi-final stage of the League Cup in 2018 and 2019.

Ahead of this weekend’s semi-final against Rangers, manager Steven Naismith says now is the time to put an end to the hard-luck stories and win their first major honour since 2012.

The former Scotland forward cites the success of Liverpool that came after falling at the final hurdle and is urging his team to use previous disappointments to help them get over the line this time around.

Hearts are making their second trip to Glasgow to play Rangers in consecutive weekends and after losing narrowly at Ibrox last Sunday he is aiming to get one over Philippe Clement’s side at the National Stadium.

He said: “A lot of the time it can be fine, small margins that define these games, we are fortunate that we have players in the squad that have been to a few semi-finals and finals, which is good. But I think the collective for myself and everyone else at Hearts has been the hard luck stories of being so close and not making it.

“During my time at the club we have consistently been to semi-finals and finals but haven’t won one yet.

“So that’s got to be the demand, the demand has to be that we give ourselves the best chance. Our last couple of performances have been good, the confidence has been there and it’s about sticking to what we want to do in and out of possession to give ourselves the best chance

“You need to go through the hard time to: one- realise how close you are and what an opportunity it is, and secondly to release that emotion of joy of winning a trophy.

“Even going back to the time when Liverpool was really successful, they were Champions League runners up a couple of times and as it goes on you become more comfortable in these moments and the surrounding, because they are big games.

“We go into it with most folk probably not giving us a chance and expecting us not to go through so we’ve got to use that as motivation and give ourselves the best chance.

“I think it’s something that you do see a lot, teams get close and it’s “can they do it, can they not” then within a couple of years they go on to win trophies.

“The demand here is that we do challenge for that and the next step for us is winning a trophy, I believe we are good enough and we have a good opportunity on Sunday to take the next step.”

The winner of Sunday’s game will play the winner of the Hibs vs Aberdeen clash that takes place just under 24 hours earlier, with the final taking place on December 17.

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