Heartbroken Steven MacLean last night warned swaggering Scott Brown: “I’ll see you next season.”
MacLean was embroiled in a running battle with Celtic’s skipper until the Hearts star was subbed off at Hampden.
Broony then targeted MacLean’s replacement, Uche Ikpeazu, by celebrating tastelessly in the big striker’s face at full-time.
But MacLean reckons Brown is incapable of playing any other way – and he can’t wait to lock horns with him again.
“That’s Broony. He won’t change and I won’t change either,” he said.
“He will kick lumps out of me and I will kick lumps out of him, that’s what happens.
“I’ll see him again next season and we will probably kick lumps out of each other again.
“The celebrations, there was no need for it, but that’s what he’s like. Him and Lustig, that’s what they do and it’s not the first time.
“It is what it is. I’m not going to sit here and slaughter them because they won the cup.
“Congratulations to them, it’s up to them what they do.”
MacLean believed Hearts were on course for victory after taking the lead in the second half.
But two defensive disasters killed them off – and left him contemplating the worth of his runners-up medal.
“It was harsh on us, but that’s football and you don’t always get what you deserve,” said MacLean.
“I thought we were excellent, we executed the game plan we have been working on for the last few weeks.
“The lads are devastated, we had them on the ropes and felt comfortable but then let in two poor goals from our point of view.
“We showed today we are a good side and it’s now up to us to go again next season, finish higher up the league and win some silverware.
“But you can’t take nothing from a game you don’t win – I feel like chucking the medal in the bin right now!”
One positive for Hearts was the performance of 16-year-old full-back Aaron Hickey.
The youngster shone at left-back against James Forrest – then revealed he once wore the Hoops.
“I was with Hearts when I was younger but went to Celtic for four years before going back,” said Hickey.
“I just felt I would get more opportunities at Hearts because it’s even tougher to get your chance at Celtic.
“It was a big decision but I felt things might work out for me better at Tynecastle.
“I went to St Ninian’s performance school with Karamoko Dembele. He was in my class and we have played together.
“It was weird playing against him last weekend.
“So it’s incredible we were both in squads for the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden.
“The last time I was on the pitch here I was 14, doing a half-time challenge where you run from the half-way line and try to score.
“So it’s brilliant to be back here a few years later playing in a massive game like this.”