Stricken Hearts target Scottish League Cup victory over St Mirren
Manager-less club that survived winding-up order hope cup glory will lift the gloom
Hearts captain Andy Webster is aiming for a Scottish League Cup final win over St Mirren today to reward the financially stricken club's fans.
Their appearance at Hampden is a rare bright spot for Hearts in a season where poor performances on the pitch and financial problems off it have dominated the headlines.
The Tynecastle club were issued with a winding-up order by the tax authorities in October before agreeing a deal to pay off a £450,000 (HK$5.3 million) bill.
However, there is still a shortfall in revenue for the season that totals £2 million and a separate £1.75 million tax bill, which the club are challenging in a tribunal. Hearts are without a manager since John McGlynn's dismissal last month.
Supporters responded to a share issue to help ease the burden and have turned up in large numbers at Tynecastle despite poor league form.
And after the disappointment of being knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Edinburgh rivals Hibernian earlier this season, Webster wants a League Cup final win to help lift some of the gloom that has descended over Tynecastle. "The fans have done amazingly well to help the club this season," Webster said. "If we can give something back to them it would be a great achievement."
Hearts have won the Scottish Cup three times in the past 15 years but are aiming for their first League Cup triumph since 1963.
And Webster, who was part of the side who lifted the Scottish Cup last season, is hungry for more success. "It's been 50 years so it's a great opportunity for us to make a little bit of history," the defender said.
Standing in Webster's way are a St Mirren side whose boss Danny Lennon believes his players will become legends if they can clinch the club's first silverware since the Scottish Cup in 1987.
"This club's got a proud heritage and 135 years of exciting history, but we've never won this League Cup," Lennon said.
"This group of players are trying to write their own piece of history. It's going to be a special day for the fans. They are the most important people at any football club and we would certainly love to bring a trophy home for them."