JOHN SOUTTAR knows all about the demands that are placed on the Hearts players. So he can only imagine the pressure and scrutiny that Ann Budge and Craig Levein are under at Tynecastle.

The outpouring of emotion at Hampden was therefore completely understandable as Hearts booked their place in the Scottish Cup final.

After Uche Ikpeazu put the Jambos in front, Souttar all-but secured the win minutes later. A Sean Clare penalty ensured the celebrations could begin long before the whistle.

Those scenes would continue after it and it was evident how much the victory meant to everyone in maroon.

“Ann came in at the end,” Souttar said. “How much she has done for the club, and the gaffer, too. There are a lot of demands on this club.

“It’s not easy to play for and I’m sure it’s not easy to manage or own. I was delighted for both of them.

“Ann said she was delighted and you could see it. Where this club has been - to now get to a cup final, it’s sort of a fairytale story.

“It’s happened so quick and it’s great for everyone involved. Everyone knows that hearts need to be in cup finals and finishing high up the league. We have got to the cup final and that’s now something for the fans to look forward to.

“They have done so much too and hopefully we can give them a day out they will never forget. We had to give the fans something to look forward to at the end of the season. Hopefully they will enjoy their day.”

Hearts may have been sluggish in the first half but when they started the second brightly, the outcome was never in doubt.

The longer the game went on, the more comfortable Hearts looked.

“It wasn’t like me,” Souttar said of his goal. “I haven’t scored in a wee while to score on an occasion like that was brilliant, especially as we were under pressure at the time. It was good to get a goal.

“I didn’t feel we were under pressure at any point in the first half.

“It was just a case of moving the ball and not feeling that pressure because obviously the fans were going to get a wee bit stressed.

“As long as we kept our composure. that’s what we said at half-time - don’t panic. If we kept moving the ball we thought it would come.

“When you score it makes the difference. We took our chances second half, i think that was the only difference.

“It didn’t feel like we were bad first half, we had most of the ball, we created chances and then as soon as you score a goal it’s going to look a bit brighter.”