Hearts defender wants to deliver Scottish Cup as thank you to fans

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Hearts defender John Souttar admits he would love to deliver the Scottish Cup as a thank you to the fans who helped save the club.

And the Scotland Under-21 centre-half is also eager to exorcise the painful memories of Dundee United’s defeat in the final four years ago.

Craig Levein’s side will bid to progress to the last eight of the competition by beating St Johnstone for a second successive week today.

(Pic: Twitter @JamTarts)Hearts have come a long way on and off the pitch since plunging into administration in 2013 and Souttar believes bringing back the cup for the first time since demolishing Hibs in the 2012 showpiece would be a fitting tribute to the thousands of fans who refused to let their club fold.

He said: “When I signed, (owner) Ann Budge and Craig made me aware of how unique this club is and how much the fans play a part in the whole thing. 

“As players, we are due to give them back something for what they have given us. It would be brilliant if we could do it for them, especially with what Hearts have been through in the last few years and the strides they have taken to move forward off the pitch and on it. 

“If we could do it this year, it would keep the club going on the right track. 

“It would be a great thing for the fans and the board to say ‘look, this is what we achieved’. We have come so far in such a short space of time.”

Souttar, who moved to Hearts from Dundee United in January 2016, added: “I’d love to have a cup win on my CV too. 

“I owe this club, they took me when I was struggling the most in my career.

“The gaffer sat down with me and set a plan, he told me what he wanted me to do and where I could improve and that if I worked hard I would.

“Thankfully it has gone well, so far. If we were to get a win this year it would top it all off, not just for me but the club in general.”

Souttar watched on from the stand with then team-mate Ryan Gauld when Peter Houston led United to cup glory against Ross County and has recalled how he was hugely frustrated to be left on the bench by Jackie McNamara when the Tannadice club fell to defeat in the final to St Johnstone four years later.

The 21-year-old added: “I remember being gutted I wasn’t playing. Both Gauldy and I played in the semi but he (McNamara) didn’t play us in the final.

“It was a strange, strange day. I remember it seemed like it was all United fans, they must have taken something like 40,000 to Parkhead.

“It was disappointing to lose but it shows you anything can happen in the cup.

“We were strong favourites that day, we were flying in the league, so it shows that you can’t take anything for granted.

“I was 17 and at 16, 17 and 18 I was involved in semi-finals and finals.

“I just thought that would be the norm but since I have been here it has not been the same sort of thing.

“Hopefully we can change that this year and get ourselves to Hampden.”

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