Heart of Midlothian head coach Steven Naismith has emphasised that achieving a 50/50 division of supporters at Hampden Park next weekend would provide a significant boost to his side.

Hearts still have around 4,000 tickets still to sell for their Scottish Cup semi-final match against Rangers on Sunday April 21. The Tynecastle hierarchy had exerted significant pressure on the Scottish FA to secure an equal allocation of tickets, demonstrating their confidence by agreeing to cover the expenses of any briefs that went unsold.

And with just over a week to go, Naismith has told any fans mulling over making the trip to the national stadium to purchase a ticket and make sure Hearts have a strong backing in the stands, with the chance of going one step closer to lifting silverware on the line.

"It adds to the occasion, it adds to the memory," the Jam Tarts boss stated as he addressed concerns Hearts won't take up their full allocation.

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"But for the players it adds to the belief that we've got the backing of everybody of the club that's there, turned up in their numbers and shown what atmosphere they can bring.

"I think that's the buzz of the later rounds of cups. At home you're there that early that you don't see many fans. The away games you see a portion of fans but semi-finals where it's 50/50 and you've got a large selection of fans.

"When you turn off the motorway that's when you start to see them. It definitely gives that anticipation and that buzz, nervous energy and excitement. Without a shadow of a doubt.

"If you strip it back to the basics, the more people that are there it looks as if you are superior and better. That's the feeling you get when you walk out and you can see you've got the most fans. It gives you a lift, a feeling of 'this is your day'. You can't underestimate that backing from the fans."

It was a turbulent start to the campaign for Naismith, with some supporters calling for his head. Despite that, the board stuck by the former striker, and are seeing the rewards with a third place Scottish Premiership finish on the horizon, plus a second domestic cup semi-final. 

Despite suffering a 3-1 defeat to Rangers in a previous last four meeting this season, Hearts remain resolute. Naismith asserts that their progression has been steady throughout the season, and they are prepared to demonstrate it once again.

He added: "This group of players consistently progressed throughout the season. Tough start, built a bit of resilience, built a bit of understanding, and then you start to see the results coming.

"We get to a semi-final and we didn't do ourselves justice at the first one. I think that's the biggest driver at the moment to go 'right, we're better than that. Especially in possession, we can be a better team than that'.

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"Three or four months later we've got another opportunity against the same opposition. It gives us that chance to go and do that. The players will want to do it for themselves but also to have they special memories with the fans.

"The ideal for us is that it's 50/50 and all sold out and we've got as good a backing as the opposition. Something that's probably associated more so with Hearts than other teams is that connection with fans.

"We're a club that has a massive following and we sell out everywhere we go. We sell out in the league consistently, can we do it in the big semi-finals and finals?"