Michael Smith looks beyond ‘painful’ Celtic final defeats as he targets Hearts Scottish Cup redemption

Michael Smith insists he is desperate to get rid of the pain of two Scottish Cup Final defeats to Celtic by delivering the silverware at Hearts.

The versatile defender and Peter Haring are the only two members of the current team that featured in both agonizing back to back Hampden defeats in 2019 and 2020.

The second setback was particularly so, Smith scoring from the spot as the game was taken to penalties before team-mates Stephen Kingsley and Craig Wighton missed from 12 yards.

Despite two poor results against Rangers and Dundee it is looking rosy for Hearts in the Premiership this season with Robbie Neilson ‘s side on course to seal third.

However, Northern Ireland cap Smith admits success at the national stadium is high on his agenda as they host Livingston in the last 16 today.

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He said: “It was pretty painful, the two Cup Final defeats. We were close last time going to penalties. It only gives you the experience to go out and do better next time.

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“You know what’s there at the end of it. It’s a one-off game so we know we have to go out there against Livingston and go for it.

“I’ve said it before, at a club like this we demand trophies. As players and staff we demand it ourselves. We want to pick up some silverware.

“Coming up from last year, if we finish third it’ll be a great achievement, but at the same time the Scottish Cup is the one we want to be lifting as well because we’ve missed out narrowly in the past few years.

“I would love to get my hands on it personally.”

Hearts are desperate to return to form following the 5-0 humbling at Rangers before losing to Premiership basement side Dundee on Wednesday at Tynecastle.

But Smith insists there is no need for any drastic changes to the way they have been going about their business.

I added: “We don’t have to reset anything. We’re sitting third in the league, 10 points clear in third so we don’t have to have a crisis meeting about anything.

“We just have to get back to what we’ve been good at in the first half of the season.

“Yeah, we’ve had two bad defeats in a row and luckily other results have gone our way and we’ve still got that gap.”

Smith is in contention again after being side-lined with a back complaint and the right wing-back insists he welcomes now having direct competition for a place in the team following the January arrival of Nathaniel Atkinson.

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Smith added: “I think Nathaniel has been chucked into the deep end a little bit and he’s coped really well. He’s a great guy and we’re glad to have him.”

“But I have no problems with competition. It helps breed positivity and you want to raise your game.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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