Gutted Macaulay Tait gets honest over Hearts frustration as prospect admits his Rangers mistake 'killed the tie'

Frustrated Macaulay Tait admits his error finally killed off Hearts’ Scottish Cup dream.

And flattened Frankie Kent confessed to feeling gutted and annoyed at the “crappy” goals that brought about the same old story in his side’s semi-final demise. Tynecastle teenager Tait insists the slip that led to Rangers’ clinching second goal has made him determined to get straight back to Hampden next term. Steven Naismith ’s side were still fighting for an equaliser at 1-0 down when Tait lost possession.

Todd Cantwell surged clear with the ball and supplied Cyriel Dessers to hit his second goal and leave Hearts floored and ruin the 18-year-old’s big day. Tait said: “It was disappointing. It was my mistake that probably killed the tie, which is a frustrating one. It was my first competitive game at Hampden. I played in the Youth Cup final a few years ago. It was a good occasion and it was great to see so many Hearts fans there as well. But the result was disappointing.

Hearts' Macaulay Tait
Hearts' Macaulay Tait -Credit:SNS Group

“I’ve been in the Hearts end as a fan in these types of games quite a lot. They have been mixed games but this was a frustrating one. I don’t remember much of the Cup Final in 2012 but I remember it being a really good win. I’m disappointed that we didn’t win but it’s another milestone ticked off.

“My family were in the crowd, which was a nice moment. It has taken a lot of work to get to here. It just makes me more motivated to come back next season and try to make amends.”

Naismith turned to Tait to replace Cammy Devlin and the teenager said: “Getting to come on gives a good sense of where the manager sees me. It’s just annoying that I’ve not done well for him after that. I’ll have to bounce back.”

Tait felt Hearts gave a good fight before losing a second last-four clash of the season to Rangers. He said: “We competed well. We conceded the early goal but we reacted well and after that we gave them a game.

“We had a few good chances and half-chances that we probably could have done better with It was another tough game and they’re a good side but we showed that we’re closing the gap compared to the other semi-final.”

But Kent was left feeling it was a same old story after the horrendous start and miserable end that brought more Hampden pain. Naismith’s side were too sloppy in the opening stages and punished when Dessers struck his first after just five minutes to leave Hearts trailing and toiling.

Dessers’ second put the tin lid on it and Kent said: “We’re gutted really. We didn’t start too well and it’s a bit of a crap goal to concede after just five minutes. After that I felt we did well. We played well, controlled most of the game and didn’t give Rangers many chances. We felt really comfortable in the game and then we concede another crappy goal.

“We started okay but Rangers get that goal in that one little moment. Even the way it went in, I was speaking to Craig Gordon about it and there is a millimetre where he has managed to get it through his legs.

Jack Butland denies Frankie Kent -Credit:SNS Group
Jack Butland denies Frankie Kent -Credit:SNS Group

“It’s annoying but we’ve probably said it too many times in big games this season, especially Rangers, it’s small things that have made the difference. Up the other end we had our chances, so it’s a hard one to take.

“That was the difference, they took their openings. Little things went against us. I had a chance but I’ve heard I was offside so that makes me feel a little bit better. If a few things had gone for us it could have been a different day,

“This is a game we will look back and take positives from but on the other hand we’e gutted and annoyed. We had a chance and we didn’t take it.”

Although silverware hopes are gone and third place is almost assured, Kent insists the competitive juices will stay flowing in the season and it’s not over and he said: “No, we want to keep going and just get better. Up to this point, we’ve done well but as a team we want keep growing and progressing.

“There’s no better way to do that than by finishing the season strong and looking ahead to next season. Hopefully we can do that. We need to get back on to the league form now and keep going.”

Hearts’ defeat hurt but the loss of Aberdeen the previous day to Celtic has set up the opportunity for group-stage European football to be secured. Victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday will seal the deal.

Kent said: “It’s nice. It takes a bit of the anxiety off us now. We had this game to put it in our hands if Aberdeen did get through but they didn’t. Now we have full focus on Saturday’s game and we go from there.”