Craig Levein has taken lulling opponents into a false sense of security to a new level in recent months. The only win they have had since March was against Championship Inverness in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
A draw against Hibs their only point from the last 21 available in the league. By any conceivable measure, they are in the worst form of any club in Scotland. After winning their opening five games, Levein was feted for his wisdom and general ability to restore “natural order”.
That must seem a lifetime ago to their supporters, who fancy themselves as the third force in the land, but have to contend with second in the capital and sixth overall. They remained top of the league until November, when the wheels came off, initially in the league, and then at Murrayfield, when a transformational performance from Ryan Christie set the scene for Saturday’s treble.
Over a 45 minute period, Celtic found their golden touch and Hearts realised their place in the food chain.
Despite this, the champions have work to do to win on Saturday. They have already lost to Hearts this season and lost heavily last term. The first half at Murrayfield, played without Christie, who will also miss Saturday’s final, was sobering, as we struggled to create a chance worthy of the name. Just as Aberdeen did in the Scottish Cup semi-final Hearts will turn the final into a physical battle. This is all they have in the locker. We need to be prepared.