BRUNO AGUIAR will never forget the moment he lifted the Scottish Cup.
There is an army of Hearts supporters on social media to make sure of that.
Thirteen years have passed since the Jambos brought the trophy back to Tynecastle, defeating Gretna on penalties after a fraught final against the minnows.
That added to a second-place finish in the SPL, securing Champions League qualification.
And former Benfica midfielder Aguiar insists he is still inundated with well-wishers on Instagram and Twitter who remind him of his hero status in Gorgie.
“I have amazing memories of that final,” Aguiar, who starred for Hearts between 2006 and 2009, told Capital City Press.
“It was a difficult game but the support from our fans was incredible from the first minutes.
“The stadium was full of Hearts fans and you could just feel how much they wanted to have that trophy at the end of that season. Even although it went to penalties, we did our job and I will always treasure the memories.
“The celebrations were incredible. Coming through the city, the streets were just full of people and every time we turned a corner I said: ‘this is amazing’. Our supporters were everywhere.
“I have good memories of my time with Hearts – it was a special time – and the final will always be up there. It is alongside scoring against Hibs [1-1 draw in October 2008] after a long time injured as one of my favourite moments.
“I still receive messages from the supporters a lot. Some say that they miss me a lot and I am a legend at Hearts – that makes me laugh and smile. I was very happy there and it is nice that people maybe remember me.”
Aguiar’s experience of an Edinburgh open-top bus parade came just 12 months after he lapped up an even bigger occasion on the streets of Lisbon.
Hundreds of thousands of Benfica fans flooded the streets of the Portuguese capital in 2005 after the Eagles won their first top-flight title in 11 years and, although Aguiar was a bit-part player in that side, the scenes will live with him forever.
“Benfica are the team of my heart and I first joined them when I was nine years old,” he continued. “So to be champions with Benfica was something breathtaking – from another world. And of course the celebrations were a little bigger…we have millions of fans!
“However, that does not diminish what we achieved at Hearts. Every experience is different for all sorts of reasons, and I will never forget winning the Scottish Cup.”
Current Hearts captain Christophe Berra was an unused substitute at Hampden that day in 2006 but, even as a fresh-faced youngster trying to make his way in the game, Aguiar is adamant he was already a born leader.
And he can think of no-one more deserving of lifting the Scottish Cup.
“I still keep in touch with Christophe,” revealed Aguiar. “We speak through Instagram sometimes and send messages back and forward. He is a great guy and I love to see him do well.
“He is an excellent professional and always worked hard for the team and gave everything for Hearts. Even when he was a young player, he was already a leader of the squad because of his attitude and quality.
“He deserves to lift that trophy more than anyone.”