Liam Boyce says he can't wait to hear the Hampden roar again, as Hearts bid to add a ninth Scottish Cup to the Tynecastle trophy cabinet on Saturday.
The boys in maroon will walk out at the national stadium for the second time this season, with Giovanni van Bronckhorst's Rangers standing between the JTs and the cup.
We advanced to the final after dumping Hibs out in the semi-final last month, with the travelling Hearts supporters generating a party atmosphere inside Hampden as the Jambos dished out another defeat to Hibs in Glasgow.
The memory of that day has stayed with Boycie, especially after the Irishman was denied the chance to experience the usual Hampden rituals in our last Covid-stricken final in 2020.
“I said at the time that it didn’t feel like a Scottish Cup final because it was an empty stadium," he told the press at the cup final media day.
"We had all the same build up but none of the atmosphere because nobody was there. When we lost, it was gutting.
“We’re all so excited this time round. We beat Hibs in the semi and the feeling and noise was incredible. That’s what you play for, for the cheers and for stuff like the big Tifo before the game."
Any player who walks through the doors at Tynecastle Park quickly becomes familiar with the storied names that have delivered Scottish Cup success to the club.
After seeing the 2012 heroes inducted into the club's Hall of Fame at "Forever Hearts" - Liam knows all about the rewards a cup triumph brings, especially as we approach the tenth anniversary of that famous triumph on the 19th May 2012.
“It’s hard not to feel the history when you play for Hearts. It’s always brought up that we beat Hibs 5-1 in the final and I even played with Darren Barr up at Ross County. And if you ever speak to Lockie, he’s still buzzing from that day!" he explained.
“The history comes the longer you’re here. You go to events and meet club legends and you can see how much they’re all still adored. It’s been ten years since then and now we have a shot at writing our names into the history of the club.
“Everyone knows that cup finals can be hard to come by over the course of a career in football. It’s as good a chance as any to win a trophy. This is the one we’ve been building up for. We’ve got ideas about what we’re going to do so we’ll spend the rest of this week training and we’ll be ready to go."
There was some concern after Liam left the field of play early on in our defeat to Rangers last Saturday, but Boycie reckons he's still got a very good chance of making Robbie Neilson's starting XI.
“It’s turned out to be a bit better than what I thought at the time. I tried to sprint, and I could suddenly feel a wee pain – almost like a shock," he revealed.
“You automatically assume the worst but it’s feeling a lot better. I would probably try and play either way but it always comes down to the team but I’d fancy my chances for the weekend.
“Saturday’s result won’t have any bearing on anything. Even when I was watching it in the stand, it had the feel of a testimonial match. There was no intensity and no big tackles flying in.
You can catch Liam's full cup final preview on Hearts TV.