Celtic will write their names into the history books of world football on Saturday if they can overcome Hearts in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden to secure a remarkable ‘treble-treble’.
The Hoops have dominated Scottish football over the last three years, with Hibs’ thrilling 3-2 victory over Rangers in the 2016 showpiece the last trophy that they failed to win.
Hearts, meanwhile, are chasing their first Scottish Cup success since the 2011-12 campaign, when they defeated their Edinburgh rivals 5-1 in the final.
|Game||Hearts vs Celtic|
|Date||Saturday, May 25|
|Time||3:00pm BST / 10:00am ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed via B/R Live
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be shown on BBC One and Premier Sports 1. It can be streamed via BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport Live or Premier Player.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BBC One / Premier Sports 1||BBC iPlayer / BBC Sport Live / Premier Player|
Squads & Team News
|Defenders||Berra, Souttar, Smith, Hughes, Dunne, Shaughnessy, Dikamona, Burns|
|Midfielders||Naismith, Djoum, Bozanic, Amankwaa, Mulraney, Martin, Haring, Cochrane|
|Forwards||MacLean, Ikpeazu, Wighton, Clare|
Hearts go into this match battered and bruised after a long season. The Tynecastle side also have an extensive number of long-term injury issues, including key man Steven Naismith.
Ben Garuccio, Demetri Mitchell, Callumn Morrison, Aidan Keena and David Vanecek are also missing.
Olly Lee, who went off injured against Celtic in last weekend’s league match, has also been ruled although Arnaud Djoum does return, with Harry Cochrane and Uche Ikpeazu having to settle for a place on the bench.
Hearts starting XI: Zlamal, M.Smith, Souttar, Haring, Berra, Clare, Djoum, Maclean, Edwards, Mulraney, Hickey.
Subs: Doyle, Shaughnessy, Bozanic, Wighton, Ikpeazu, Cochrane, Burns.
|Goalkeepers||Bain, De Vries|
|Defenders||Toljan, Izaguirre, Simunovic, Gambao, Lustig, Benkovic, Ajer, Tierney, Gutman|
|Midfielders||Brown, Sinclair, Hayes, Ntcham, McGregor, Forrest, Henderson, Johnston, Allan, Forrest|
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has an extensive list of injury problems ahead of Saturday’s match.
Craig Gordon, Dedryck Boyata, Jack Hendry, Eboue Kouassi, Ryan Christie, Daniel Arzani and Vakoun Issouf Bayo all remain out injured.
However, Mikael Lustig, James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard have all shaken off knocks to start and Scott Brown is also fit to play.
Kieran Tierney had been expected to play but he misses out as he prepares to undergo a double hernia operation.
Celtic starting XI: Bain, Lustig, Ajer, Simunovic, Hayes, Brown, McGregor, Forrest, Rogic, Johnston, Edouard.
Subs: De Vries, Toljan, Bitton, Sinclair, Ntcham, Benkovic, Dembele.
Betting & Match Odds
Celtic are odds on favourites at 1/3 at bet365 to win the match in 90 minutes. Hearts can be backed at 8/1, while the draw is 4/1.
Celtic can become the first club in senior football history anywhere in the world to claim a ‘treble-treble’, with Hearts all that stand between them and this remarkable achievement.
If they get over the line, Neil Lennon will be the man to take them there, though the Northern Irishman’s future is uncertain given that he is only in post on a caretaker capacity, having taken over when Brendan Rodgers unexpectedly left for Leicester in February.
While Lennon has proved a steady hand at Parkhead, performances have not been of the thrilling standard that are expected, leading to criticism that Scott Sinclair believes is unjust.
“At times it is hard for Lenny because everyone is comparing him to Brendan. That’s very unfair of people to do that,” he told the Daily Mail. “He has come in with his own ways and he is a totally different manager to Brendan.
"He’s done a great job, he’s got us to another cup final and eight in a row.
“They are their own men and have different styles of playing.”
Celtic ran out Scottish Premiership champions by a nine-point margin over Rangers, though their success was tempered by a 2-0 defeat to their rivals in the Glasgow derby a fortnight ago. They responded by beating Hearts 2-1 at home last weekend in a cup final dress rehearsal, with Mikey Johnston getting both the goals.
Hearts, who shook their starting XI up in that fixture to keep their key men fresh for Hampden, are aiming to write history for their own club at the national stadium.
“We've got a big occasion in us, I'm certain of that,” manager Craig Levein said. “I'm not thinking about Celtic getting their treble treble, I'm thinking about our players becoming heroes and legends.”
The Edinburgh side finished the season in poor form but their boss sees that as a positive.
“That actually gives me hope in this situation because I don't feel our run of form has any bearing whatsoever on how we will do on Saturday,” he said.
“It gives me great hope that, as we've beaten Celtic already, we can do it again. We stopped Celtic's long run of unbeaten matches [last season], there's something in there to help us stop them winning the trophy this weekend.”
This will be the third time these sides have met in the Scottish Cup final, with Hearts holding a 2-1 advantage in that regard, though the last time they met was in 1956.