Neil Lennon believes Hearts’ semi-final win over Hibernian will have boosted the Jambos for facing Celtic in the delayed 2020 William Hill Scottish Cup final.
Robbie Neilson’s side, who are top of the Championship, set up Sunday’s meeting at Hampden Park with a 2-1 last-four win over their Premiership Edinburgh rivals in October.
Celtic beat the Gorgie side 2-1 in the 2019 final but Hoops boss Lennon believes the current Hearts team could now be in a better frame of mind for a revenge mission, thanks in part to their hard-fought derby win.
Lennon said: “Maybe psychologically they are in a better place because it comes from winning, albeit they are in the Championship.
“They had a great win in the semi-final against a very good Hibs team.
“They showed their mettle, that they can compete with some of the best teams in the Premiership.
“So maybe psychologically they are coming into the game with confidence and that’s off the back of winning games.
“We have a very good team to play against who will be highly motivated themselves.
“We won the last cup final against them and some of their players are still there and I am sure they will want to avenge that.
“They are packed full of Premiership players, or Premiership-talented players.
“We know Craig (Gordon) very well, he was an outstanding servant here, an outstanding goalkeeper still.
“So it’s not just a case of us turning up and winning the game.”
The Hoops have won nine successive Premiership titles and are aiming to win an unprecedented quadruple domestic treble.
Lennon believes a 40th Scottish Cup final win for the Parkhead club would give further encouragement to his side who arrested a slump in form – which included a 2-0 Betfred Cup defeat at home to Ross County – with successive wins over Lille in the Europa League and Kilmarnock in the Premiership.
The Northern Irishman said: “I think it would give us a real shot in the arm and continue that good feeling.
“We are disappointed to go out of the League Cup this season but we have seen this season already how hard it is to win trophies.
“So we are under no illusions that it is a foregone conclusion in this game, it is far from it.”
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