Former Hearts boss Paulo Sergio predicts Hampden success and goal for former player in Scottish Cup final against Celtic
Paulo Sergio believes Scottish Cup glory is coming for Hearts when they meet Celtic in Sunday’s final at Hampden.
The Tynecastle team will be underdogs when facing the Glasgow giants, but the Portuguese manager, who dumped Celtic out of the cup in 2012 on the way to beating Hibs in the final, says his former side are getting the champions at a good time while their confidence is low.
“I always follow Hearts, and they have been impressive in the league so far,” he said. “I hope they can keep this up as their place is in the Scottish Premiership, not in the Championship. If they can keep this up, I am sure they will be back where they belong next season.
“Both teams are in different moments of confidence. I believe Celtic aren’t in their better days and I am sure Neil Lennon isn’t happy being second in the league and not doing so well in Europe.
“On the other side Hearts are doing what they can to be promoted to the Scottish Premiership. It is not easy to beat Celtic, but I believe they are not confident and maybe this is a good moment to be playing them to get a result.
“Playing against Celtic in four or five matches, maybe you have the chance to win one. I hope this will be the one for Hearts!”
Asked what his prediction is for the game, Sergio was very specific in the details for Sunday’s match when discussing the final with cup sponsors William Hill.
He said: “I think Hearts will win 1-0 and I predict Jamie Walker will score the goal! He has been with Hearts for so long and deserves to be in the spotlight.
"I think he can be the one to win it for Hearts.”
Hearts will be looking to win their first Scottish Cup since one of the best days in the club’s history in 2012 when they defeated their city rivals Hibs 5-1. Sergio was in charge of the Jambos that day and looks back fondly on that memorable occasion in May.
“It was an unbelievable moment. We believed so much that we were going to do it after beating Celtic in the semi-final,” he said.
“We played Hibernian four times that season and beat them every time, so our confidence going in to play them was very, very high. We believed in ourselves and had a togetherness and very good players.
“I believed so much that things could go for us and after the game it was a relief to achieve such a fantastic thing for the club and for our fans.
“It was the best achievement (of my career). I would put the Scottish Cup in first place. After 2012, I have been back to Edinburgh six or seven times and the way everybody makes me feel when I go back there is unbelievable. I’ve won other things at other clubs, but it wasn’t the same. I love Hearts and Edinburgh so much – it is like family.”