ROSS CALLACHAN watched on as a supporter as Hearts players became legends in an unforgettable Edinburgh derby and would love to earn the same prestige against Hibernian tonight.
The summer signing from Raith Rovers attended plenty of city clashes as a boyhood fan and is now relishing the prospect of fulfilling his dream of pulling on the famous maroon jersey to play in the fixture.
Hearts have enjoyed the greater success through the years but there is little doubting the derby that stands out above all others for the 24-year-old – and the Jambos faithful that cross the capital for this evening’s sell-out encounter at Easter Road.
The Scottish Cup final triumph of 2012, and the 5-1 scoreline, rewrote the history books and Callachan is desperate for a taste of the kudos secured by those Hampden heroes of five years ago.
“I have always watched the derbies and thought ‘I’d love to be on the pitch’,” he confessed. “It is something I have dreamed of since a young boy, so I am really looking forward to it.
“I have been to a few derbies as a punter and the 2012 Scottish Cup final was brilliant. That sticks out for me because it was such a big scoreline.
“I was there with my pals and a few of them were in the Hibs end unhappy. If we can get anywhere near that scoreline then I would bite your hand off for that.
“The guys that played in that game are Hearts legends. They will be remembered forever.
“Hopefully I can be a Hearts legend against Hibs and step up and score a goal and help the team win.”
Returning Hearts manager Craig Levein surprised many when he plucked Callachan from Raith for a nominal fee on transfer deadline day in August, but the midfielder has been a standout performer since joining.
The Edinburgh-born player has netted twice in five appearances and, with Levein facing selection problems, his return to the starting line-up for Saturday’s 1-0 win over St Johnstone after shaking off a calf strain is well timed.
He is set to anchor a makeshift midfield and hopes he has the recipe for success against Hibs, who have gone seven games without defeat against Hearts.
“I’m looking forward to it and I probably am reining myself in a wee bit,” he admitted. “I feel you have got to have ice in your veins in derbies.
“I played in a few for Raith against Dunfermline and the team who was more calm and collected always came out on top.”