Hearts’ Hampden history plays role in build-up to NASL play-offs in United States second tier



FORMER Hamilton Accies and Dunfermline defender Colin Miller has drawn on his own Hampden disappointment with Hearts as he bids for glory stateside this weekend in the NASL semi-final play-offs.

Miller is boss at Canadian side FC Edmonton, where ex-Mancheser United full-back Adam Eckersley moved in January after a season with Hearts and a short spell at Hibs.

The Eddies finished the regular campaign in third spot in the American second-tier and face Indy Eleven of Indianapolis away from home on Saturday for a place in the final and a shot at scooping the ‘Soccer Bowl Trophy’.

(Pic: Wilson Wong)
(Pic: Wilson Wong)

Hamilton-born Miller, a former Canada internationalist and interim boss of The Canucks, has been manager of Edmonton for the last four years and has steered the club to their first appearance in the play-offs since the club was launched in 2010.

However, the 52-year-old is desperate for the occasion not to bypass his players after recalling Hearts’ 1-0 defeat to Airdrie in the Scottish Cup semi-final of 1995.

Miller, whose side set NASL records for the fewest goals conceded (21) and most clean sheets (16) in their 32 matches, said: “It’s an exciting time. It’s a thrill to be involved with the club at the moment and we deserve to be where we are.

“I (have) used the example of some of my own personal experiences with the players.

“I remember one game for Hearts against Airdrie in Scotland where we took 27,000 supporters to Hampden Park and we lost 1-0.

“The team just didn’t play anything remotely like what we were capable of doing and the team was full of good players as well.”

Miller added on www.fcedmonton.com: “I don’t want that to be the case this Saturday against Indy. I want us to be relaxed and confident about going into Indy and getting the right result.”