By News Team
Last Updated: 17th December 2020
Celtic legend Lubomir Moravcik has told us that his former side will be too good for Hearts in Sunday’s Scottish Cup final, as the Hoops aim to win an unprecedented quadruple treble.
The Slovakian is aware Celtic aren’t at their best this season but believes the gap between them and Sunday’s opponents will be too big and that he expects a routine victory for the Glasgow giants.
“I’ve tracked Hearts’ results and saw they were top of the Championship,” he said. “Usually, Hearts are a team in the top league, but they are doing well where they are.
“They have only played six games, which isn’t many games (to prepare), but the final is only one game and Hearts have nothing to lose.
“Celtic, for me, are big favourites even though they are not on top form at the moment. There’s a big gap between the Scottish Premiership and the Championship. Celtic won well against Kilmarnock at the weekend and now have a full week to prepare for such a big game.
“In a one-off game it’s always 50/50 but Celtic are big favourites and I think they will beat Hearts, maybe by two goals as a difference.”
His old teammate Neil Lennon has been under huge pressure in recent weeks, but Lubo is hoping that Sunday’s final can turn Celtic’s season around as they bid to win their fourth Scottish Cup in a row.
“I hope Neil can turn things around,” he said. “They’ve had tough fixtures up to December and he now needs to win every game before the game against Rangers then try to beat them away from home.
“For me that is the nearest target for Celtic and for Lenny to keep his position as manager.”
Moravcik was part of the Martin O’Neill team that secured Celtic’s first treble in over 30 years back in 2000/01, with current boss Lennon also part of that team. However, he had to experience a cup final defeat before finally getting his hands on the trophy with the Hoops.
“I played a Scottish Cup final with Celtic against Rangers and we lost 1-0 so that was disappointing as it was the first chance I had to win something with Celtic,” he said.
“But after that, we only won the League Cup in the second season. In my third season, I didn’t expect my role to be what it was as I was 35 years old and Martin O’Neill was the new manager and didn’t know too much about me.
“The opposite happened as I had my best season at Celtic and we won everything! It was very special.”
Moravcik admits that he wasn’t aware that his former teammate Lennon would take up a role in management, but he maintains that his background of playing with Celtic has helped him.
He said: “To be a manager a long time and be kept on is not so easy. At Celtic you are always expected to win, so it’s hard as a manager to always be able to deliver that.
“If you’re at an average English Premier League team it might be easier because the expectation to win isn’t always there like at Celtic.”
And the Celtic team under O’Neill, in which Moravcik played a vital role, were fancied by many at that time to be able to compete with the Premier League’s best, especially after winning UEFA Cup matches against Liverpool and Blackburn in 2003 when Moravick hadn’t long left.
The Slovakian believes that now the gap between the divisions is much bigger than when he was at Celtic, and that it’s much harder to be able to attract the calibre of player they had then.
“We were lucky at that time because the difference between English football and Scottish football wasn’t as big as it is now.
“For Celtic to have strikers as good as the likes of Chris Sutton and Henrik Larsson is no longer possible. You can have someone like Odsonne Edouard because he’s young and has time before he goes to the Premier League or abroad, but now you can’t have players as quality as Chris and Henrik.”
Moravcik is still a huge hit with Celtic supporters and is fondly remembered for important goals domestically and in Europe. And it’s on the European scene where the former Hoops man has hit best memories with the club.
He said: “For me, going to Ajax and beating them to secure a place in the Champions League was a good moment because I was at the end of my career and to do it at that time was big for me.
“I had the opportunity to go to Scotland and play for Celtic, and for me it was something I didn’t expect, and I was very happy to get the opportunity to have that experience. It was a pleasure to play for Celtic in front of those fans with good players like Lenny, Sutton, Hartson, Petrov and Larsson. We were all part of a good group and I enjoyed it.”