‘Gary Locke and Rudi Skacel will take pressure off me,’ jokes ex-Hearts striker Darren Jackson on return to Hibs with Raith Rovers

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RAITH Rovers number two Darren Jackson has joked that he expects manager Gary Locke and Scottish Cup legend Rudi Skacel to ‘take the pressure off’ him as a host of ex-Hearts players return to Easter Road on Saturday.

Jackson was a fans’ favourite during his time as a Hibs player in the mid-1990s but after a spell with Celtic moved to Tynecastle and made Hearts-daft dad Adam a proud man.

The former Scotland striker is one of a handful of ex-Jambos who will be trying to play Scrooge on Christmas Eve as they cross the Forth to face Hibs with Raith.

A former Hearts striker, Jackson has joked that he expects Skacel and Gary Locke to take the pressure of him on return to old club Hibs

Locke and Skacel, as well as former Gorgie defenders Kevin McHattie and the returning Jason Thomson, will be desperate to wrap up three points as they make the trip back to Easter Road in the dark blue of Rovers.

And Jackon hopes he might escape the line of fire, thanks to two-times Cup winner Skacel and former Hearts captain and manager Locke.

Speaking to Capital City Press, he quipped: “I think the gaffer and Rudi will take the pressure off me!

“I had five magnificent years there but it was a long time ago and I know what I want on Saturday and nothing else matters.

“There is no doubt there will be a few songs, but that is what makes football matches and that’s what makes atmospheres.

“A few of the boys won’t have been there but this is what you want to play in.

“We’re going to a magnificent stadium, with 13 or 14,000 there – this is the kind of game you want to be involved in.

THRIVE

“And you have to thrive on it. Don’t hide, go and show we are a good side and we can compete at the top end.

“I’m so excited and looking forward to it.

“Some people can fold under that but we’re trying to instil in the players that this is where you want to be and this is where you should be.

“Thrive on it and love the atmosphere, and show the Hibs fans that we are a good side.”

Raith have been beaten just once in their last eight matches but with five of those outings ending in draws have slipped out of the play-off spots and into fifth.

A stirring display in their 0-0 stalemate with Dundee United last weekend also extended a run of just one goal in their last five games.

But Jackson is adamant the Stark’s Park men can be happy with their performances as they seek a first victory since October.

ATTACKING

He added: “We’re not going to Easter Road to defend. Yes, you’ve got to be cautious because like Dundee United last week they’ve got players who can hurt you.

“But the only way you win games is by attacking and trying to score goals.

“That’s the way we look at it, we go for three points, and then you see what you end up with.

“Everybody is going on about how we’ve not scored again, which isn’t great.

“But it’s not a concern. We’ve looked at the stats and we had 17 shots and eight of them on target [against United].

“If we keep doing that then we’re not going to be far away.”

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