THIS TIME WE'LL GET OUR REVENGE; Celts Have History of Breaking Our Hearts CLARK SAYS SANDY
Byline: Craig Swan
JAMBOS legend Sandy Clark reckons the heartbreaking Scottish Cup semi-final loss to Celtic in 1988 was every bit as devastating as losing the title to the Hoops on goal difference two years earlier.
But the former Tynecastle striker is convinced Paulo Sergio's troops can make up for that Hampden anguish by beating the newly crowned SPL champions in Sunday's last-four clash at the national stadium.
Clark still grimaces as he recalls the painful events of 24 years ago when Alex MacDonald's team came within a whisker of victory only to be denied in a shattering finish.
And the similarities to this season's clash are striking.
Celtic were also chasing the Double back in their centenary season when they faced Hearts at Hampden.
And, just like this term, the Jambos had given them a few problems during the league campaign.
Brian Whittaker's second-half lob edged MacDonald's men ahead in the semi but the goal sparked furious protests from the Hoops as they felt Dave MacPherson had fouled keeper Pat Bonner when he reached up to grab the ball.
Ref Kenny Hope wasn't interested though and Clark was dreaming of ordering his cup final suit before Hearts keeper Henry Smith suffered a nightmare final three minutes.
Twice the Tynecastle No.1 fluffed crosses and twice he paid the price as Mark McGhee and Andy Walker pounced to seal a dramatic 2-1 win for Celtic.
It remains one of the most pulsating finishes to a Hampden semi-final in the competition's long history but it piled on the pain for Clark after Hearts' title misery in 1986.
Celts snatched the crown from their grasp on that dramatic final day when they beat St Mirren 5-0 and the Jambos crashed 2-0 at Dundee.
DESPERATE However, the Cup defeat was just as sickening and Clark insists it's now payback time for his old club.
He told Record Sport: "People always recall Hearts losing the title at Dens Park but that semi-final was just about as bad.
"At that time Hearts were competing with everyone and regularly defeating the Old Firm. We believed we could win that Scottish Cup and I genuinely felt we were going to get to the Final when we led 1-0 late on.
"It's not like we were desperate. We were quite comfortable.
"Losing the equaliser was bad enough without losing a winner into the bargain. We are a team and you do not point fingers at anyone but Henry will know he could have done a better job with the Celtic goals. …