Steven Davis knows just how tricky of an opponent Heart of Midlothian can be - with a memorable encounter against Rangers' Scottish Cup semi-final foes still fresh on his mind. 

Rangers beat Hearts to lift the illustrious trophy in May 2022, just three days after their Europa League final heartache versus Eintracht Frankfurt. 

It was a momentous occasion for Rangers, who hadn't won the competition in well over a decade, as strikes from Ryan Jack and Scott Wright created jubilant scenes after a determined Hearts side took the Light Blues to extra-time.

And Davis, who made 371 appearances across two spells at Ibrox, expects a similarly tight contest when the pair meet at Hampden Park this Sunday. 

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Reflecting on being a part of Giovanni van Bronckhorst's squad that overcome Hearts that afternoon, Davis recalled: "It was a good day after a quick turnaround following the disappointment of the Europa League final.

"But it was a good way to end the season with our first Scottish Cup final win in a number of years.

"It was really important for the group to win that trophy. It had been mentally challenging as well as physically challenging.

"We had to put everything out of our minds very quickly. But the Scottish Cup final is such a big game and it was easy to focus.

"We knew what was at stake and we finished the season on a high. There wasn't too much in the game - it was a cagey affair.

"Hearts had a couple of chances early on and they had quality in their team. We eventually won it in extra-time and there's every possibility this could go all the way again. Hearts are in a good run of form."

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Davis was once a Rangers teammate of Hearts head coach, Steven Naismith, and the Northern Irishman isn't surprised that the ex-striker has excelled in his current role - having picked up valuable experience with the Scotland national team set-up and shown valuable managerial attributes during his 18-year playing career. 

He said: "Naisy's doing a good job and he has players in his team who are very capable of hurting you.

"Shankland has scored a number of goals this season, so Rangers can't give opportunities to him.

"Naisy was always a deep thinker about the game. It doesn't surprise me that he's gone down this route in his career.

"He worked with Steve Clarke at Scotland and gained experience. He also learned with the Hearts B team before this opportunity arose.

"He's grabbed it with both hands. There have been difficult moments but management is not always plain sailing.

"He has secured third place and now they are into another semi-final. He looks to be enjoying the role. I know from the couple of weeks that I did it at Rangers that it's all-consuming.

"He'll have learned so much this year with being exposed to this level. Reaching Europe is a great achievement - it's what the club would have set out to do at the start of the season."

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Rangers' campaign has taken a tumble during the past week, following dropped points against Ross County and Dundee. 

Davis knows the significance of losing ground on Celtic in the cinch Premiership title race, but believes he's seen enough from boss Philippe Clement that they can bounce back with a victory over Hearts, which could secure their spot in next month's Scottish Cup final.

"There is no hiding behind the fact those were massive blows," Davis explained. "The manager would have been hoping for a reaction after Ross County in Dundee.

"Unfortunately, it didn't happen. But the manager has the character and the experience and understands the pressure that comes with being Rangers manager.

"He will know about all the outside noise. One thing he has tried to do since coming in is simply focus on the next game.

"Results have been hard to take in recent weeks but he will know this is a big semi-final and offers an opportunity for the team.

"They have to make sure they get a result and have to make sure they reach the final.

"If they win every game, there is still an opportunity to put pressure on their opponents and try to get the league title as well."

Steven Davis was promoting Premier Sport’s live and exclusive coverage of Rangers v Hearts on Sunday. Premier Sports is available to stream from or via your TV provider on Sky, Virgin TV and Amazon Prime as an add-on subscription.