Giovanni van Bronckhorst has made five changes from the Europa League final. Jon McLaughlin, Leon Balogun, Steven Davis, Scott Arfield and Amad Diallo replace Allan McGregor, Borna Barisic, Glen Kamara, Ryan Jack and Scott Wright.
Barisic, who came off injured towards the end of the Europa League final, hasn’t made the squad.
Hearts had doubts over a few players but Robbie Neilson is able to pick a very strong XI. There are three changes from last week’s league defeat to Rangers. John Souttar, Nathaniel Atkinson and Craig Halkett return in place of Michael Smith, Gary Mackay-Steven and Toby Sibbick.
Crucially, Liam Boyce and Cammy Devlin are fit to start. It’s a bit of a gamble from Robbie Neilson but, as every manager in the world seems to have told us in the last fortnight, this is the time for risk.
Ewan Murray’s match preview
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Scottish Cup final between Rangers and Hearts at Hampden. Hearts fans don’t much care for remembering 1986, when they lost the league on the final day and turned up for the subsequent cup final in body but not mind. While that lost double is something Hearts fans will never truly get over, the heartbreaking circumstances might give them some added hope today.
It’s roughly 63 hours since Rangers lost the Europa League final on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties. We’re about to find out what that gruelling match and the despair of defeat have done to both their legs and their minds. If Rangers aren’t close to their best today then Hearts, comfortably the best of the rest in Scotland this season, will make off with the glory.
Hearts have won this competition more recently than Rangers. They smashed Hibs 5-1 in the final in 2012, three years after Rangers beat Falkirk 1-0. Both teams have since experienced football’s vicissitudes. Rangers went into administration and had to start again; Hearts have been relegated twice, most recently in controversial circumstances in 2020.
The recovery of both clubs has been pretty admirable. While Rangers were romping the Premiership last season, Hearts were doing likewise in the Championship, though they were also humiliated by Brora Rangers in the Scottish Cup. They finished third in this season’s Premiership, 13 points ahead of Dundee United in fourth, and now their young manager Robbie Neilson is hoping to join a small group who have won the Scottish Cup with the same club as player and manager.
One thing Neilson’s Hearts are yet to do is properly lay a glove on Rangers. In four league games this season they took only one point, and were beaten 3-1 by Rangers Reserves at Tynecastle last weekend. Today would be the perfect time to start punching upwards.
Kick off 3pm.