Hearts star Stephen Kingsley on the painful Hibs memories, Edinburgh derby surprise and how he plans to face Martin Boyle
The look on Stephen Kingsley's face and subsequent laugh said it all. After playing 90 minutes in a hard-fought win over Arbroath in Friday night, the Hearts defender was met with the toughest moment of the evening.
The 26-year-old had been asked to recall his previous memory of playing in a Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.
It arrived seven and a half years ago as an 18-year-old for second tier Falkirk against Hibs.
The Bairns raced into a 3-0 lead within the first 30 minutes, prompting a number of Hibs fans to vacate Hampden Park. The game would have been wrapped up by half-time if not for a glaring miss from Falkirk forward Lyle Taylor before half-time.
After the interval it was a different story as Pat Fenlon’s man rallied to take the match to extra-time before a Leigh Griffiths wonder goal set up a final against Celtic.
"That was the last game at Hampden,” Kingsley said. “We were 3-0 up at half-time and then... I'm not going to say the rest.
"I’m just looking forward to getting back there and hopefully this time we will put it right.
"When you ask me the question it does now," when queried if that afternoon will stay on his mind. “It's more the anticipation for the Edinburgh derby more than anything.
"Knowing the occasion is a Scottish Cup semi final I think will outweigh everything else, also different circumstances playing with a different team.”
Scottish Cup surprise
Sunday's meeting was actually a surprise to the Scotland international when he signed for the club earlier this month. It was only then he discovered he had the mouthwatering tie to look forward to, even if it will be played in a deserted Hampden Park.
“I didn’t know it was going to be so soon," he admitted. “I know we had a game that was meaning to be played. I didn’t know what was going on with it.
"It was when I came in I found out that we were playing Hibs in the Scottish Cup semi final and thought it was a nice little bonus coming into it, the first few weeks of being in here.”
He added: “It would be absolutely amazing to have the fans. I mean Edinburgh derby, my first derby, would have absolutely loved that.
"I don't think it will be hard to get ourselves up and ready for it. The occasion will build up during the week and the boys will be ready for it.”
‘I want to attack’
Since his return to Scottish football Kingsley has watched Hibs on a couple of occasions to sound them out ahead of the match.
One such threat he will likely face is that of Martin Boyle. The rapid winger will likely line-up in direct confrontation with the Hearts star.
“You have to adjust your game a little bit in terms of your defensive responsibilities but I'm not going to change the way I play," he said.
"We as a team want to get the ball and try to control the game and I want to go and attack and be involved, be creative in the final third.
"He obviously has his qualities going forward. I’ll just need to make sure me and everybody else is ready for it.”