Robbie Neilson hopes a victory over city rivals Hibernian can set Hearts on their way to Scottish Cup glory.
The Jambos took Celtic to penalties in the 2020 final and then went to extra-time against Rangers in last season’s showpiece but ultimately finished runners-up on both occasions.
Having got so close in recent seasons, Neilson is determined to go a step further this year as his side kick off their latest tilt at the competition with a fourth-round tie away to their city rivals on Sunday.
“We want to get back to the final and win it this time,” said the Hearts boss. “We’ve made two of the last three finals and got beat in those finals.
“We’re getting closer and closer but we need to make that final step. Ultimately we need to win this game on Sunday and, if we do that, we’ll move on to the next one.”
Hearts have not lost to Hibs since Boxing Day 2019 and Neilson is hoping they can extend their unbeaten Edinburgh derby run to nine games this weekend.
“Our recent derby record is great, but you’re only as good as your last one so we need to make sure we’re ready for Sunday,” he said. “It’s a huge game and one we’re really looking forward to. Hopefully we can continue that record.”
Hearts go into the match in buoyant mood as Wednesday’s 5-0 cinch Premiership win over Aberdeen made it eight games in a row undefeated and took them seven points clear of their nearest rivals in the battle for third place.
“We’ve had a decent season so far, but there’s still a lot to play for and a long way to go,” said Neilson. “There are 16 games to go in the league and hopefully a Scottish Cup run as well so there’s a lot to play for.”