First Team

Neil's derby dream

23rd October 2014

Neil Alexander to fulfil lifelong ambition by playing for Hearts in an Edinburgh derby.

Neil Alexander is aiming to make up for the heartbreak of missing out on the first Edinburgh derby of the season by inspiring the Jambos to victory in Sunday’s meeting.

The Hearts No. 1 had to sit out the 2-1 win over Hibs back in August after smashing his cheekbone at Ibrox the week previous, but now he’s back and raring to go.

Talking to the broadcast media at this morning’s pre-match press conference, Neil said: “It was one of my biggest blows to miss the last meeting. I was devastated to not play in my first Edinburgh derby.

“I was gutted, that was the main thing I was gutted about, to be missing the Edinburgh derby. It’s come around again and we’re in a good vein of form so we’re looking forward to it.

“It’s a big one. Growing up a Hearts fan, the Edinburgh derby was the game you’d look to when the fixtures came out as the biggest one of the season. It’s one we’re really looking forward to.

“Personally, it’s my first Edinburgh derby that I’ve played in. I’ve played in the Old Firm games so this is a new one for me. I’m looking forward to it.”

Neil spent his childhood watching Edinburgh derbies and he’s now on the cusp of fulfilling a life-long ambition by turning out in one in a maroon jersey.

“I went to Hibs v Hearts games at Easter Road as a boy,” he revealed. “My dad was a Hibs fan and I was a Hearts fan so we used to go to the derbies and I used to give him a bit of stick as we used to win more than we lost!

“It was great being brought up with the derbies. I loved it and I’m looking forward to playing in one.

“John Robertson was my hero because he was the goal-scorer. When I was young I used to have the Hearts strip for my Christmas with No. 11 on the back. He was the main goal-scorer and you always looked up to him.

“Fortunately I got to work with him and got to know him when I was at Livingston, and he’s here at the club now as well.”