Hearts captain Andy Webster is aiming for a Scottish League Cup final win over St Mirren on Sunday 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 British tax authorities in October before agreeing a deal to pay off a £450,000 bill. However, there is still a shortfall in revenue for the season that totals £2million and a separate £1.75million tax bill, which the club are challenging in a tribunal, also hangs over Hearts, who 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 that 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.
"The more you experience it the more you want it, and Sunday is another opportunity for us to win. We had a great experience last year with the Scottish Cup so it's something we will be looking to replicate on Sunday.
"Hopefully it stands you in good stead. There is a bit of experience." Standing in Webster's way are a St Mirren side that have beaten Hearts, who will be led out at Hampden by coach Gary Locke, twice this season, including a 2-0 defeat last month which led to the sacking of McGlynn.
St Mirren boss Danny Lennon believes his players will become legends if they can clinch the club's first piece of 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're the most important people at any football club and we would certainly love to bring a national trophy home for them."
Hearts will be without injured duo Fraser Mullen and club captain Marius Zaliukas while Jim Goodwin should recover from a calf injury for St Mirren.