Steven Naismith believes the number of supporters Heart of Midlothian will have at Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers justifies their demand for a 50/50 split of tickets.

The Jambos were given an allocation of almost 21,000 after making what they described as “an extremely strong argument” to be awarded an equal share of seats for the showpiece match at the national stadium.

One condition of the agreement of an even split was that the Edinburgh club would cover the cost of any briefs they failed to sell, raising the possibility of a six-figure bill if their fans did not roll up in strong numbers.

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However, Hearts are expecting to be backed by more than 18,000 of their supporters – almost double what they took to their 2012 semi-final win over Celtic – meaning any cost to the club is likely to be nominal.

“We’ll have 18,500-19,000,” said Naismith. If we didn’t fight for the 50/50 split, we wouldn’t have that many fans there.

“We’ve got more now than we were originally expecting to get which is good.”

Hearts have never beaten Rangers at Hampden, and Naismith admitted his side must reward their supporters’ faith by putting on a performance that engages them from the outset on Sunday.

“Like every home game, we need to start the game well to get the fans up for it and if we can get ourselves into a good position, the fans can then help make that push to get us over the line with a win,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to it. It will be a good occasion with two teams that will be backed heavily.”

The Jambos went down to a meek 3-1 defeat against the Light Blues in the semi-final of the Viaplay Cup in early November, at a time when they were struggling for form in the league.

Since then, Naismith’s side have motored 11 points clear of the pack in third place in the cinch Premiership and the manager is adamant they are now in much better shape as they prepare to return to Hampden for this Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against the out-of-form Gers.

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“We are a much different team now than we were then,” said Naismith, speaking at his pre-match media briefing on Thursday.

“We’ve learned from our mistakes in games which has put ourselves in a position where our form’s been good.

“From November time on, our record has been really good. We’ve continued to win games. Even when we’ve had a result or a performance that we were not happy with, we’ve reacted well.

“We’ve come from behind in games, we’ve won games comfortably, we’ve competed with the top teams in the league so we’re a more assured team, I would say.

“We’re more comfortable and have a better understanding of what we want to do. We’re in a good place and the squad’s probably stronger now than it was then in terms of injuries.

“Since probably the last month of last year, in terms of league points and coming through in the cup, we’ve matched the teams at the top of the table. The next steps of that is winning trophies, and that’s all I’m thinking about.”