Andy Halliday ‘hopeless’ for Hibs fans as Hearts star laughs at pantomime villain role

His only Edinburgh derby experience so far was in Glasgow with no fans in the stadium.

For Andy Halliday, who says he grieves on every ground in the country, you’d think that suits him.

However, the man from Hearts is made of sterner stuff and can’t wait to race in front of a full Easter Road crowd for Tuesday night’s crash, even if he is criticized by home fans.

Halliday wants to do his part to see Robbie Neilson’s side pull off a win that would go a long way towards finishing above their bitter rivals in the Premiership.

Barely a year after Hearts’ promotion to the top flight, it would be a huge achievement and overtake the Hibees.

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Preparing for his first league derby, Halliday said: “We got a lot of flak last season for our performances, rightly so.

“We always thought we had a team more than capable of reaching the top flight and competing.

“Once we added some new faces, we felt like we could get it right.

“We didn’t want to just languish in the bottom six, trying to establish ourselves back in the league.

“We wanted to come and show how good we are. We’ve done it so far, but there’s a long way to go, so a result on Tuesday against Hibs could really help us.

“I have only experienced one Edinburgh derby, at Hampden in the Cup, and it was behind closed doors.

“So I’m desperate for a chance in front of the fans. I’m sure I’ll get hit, but everyone hits me, so I’m used to it!

“It’s all in jest and this is a great derby. If you don’t want to play in a game like this, there is something wrong with you.

“These are the games you will look back on at the end of your career and say you were lucky enough to play.

“I’m sure it will be a great opportunity but the objective for us, as in all games, will be the three points.

“Psychologically, it would be good for us to win after Hibs appointed a new coach.

“We know it’s going to be difficult to go there. We have already played them this season and a draw was a fair result.

“I think both teams have improved since then.

“I’ve seen some of the Hibs games and I can already see that Shaun Maloney is trying to make his own mark on them.

“We know they have players who can hurt us, but we have a lot of confidence in our own team. If we go there and play like we know we can, it should be a good game with both teams wanting to win.”

Halliday has been an excellent signing for Neilson since joining from Ibrox in 2020.

As well as skill and experience, his versatility has led him to be deployed as a winger, full back or central midfielder.

His contract expires at the end of this season and Halliday is eager to extend his stay.

He said: “I feel like I’ve been a bit unlucky at times as my form has been good when I played.

“A couple of things have not gone well for me. I got injured when I was in the team, then I came back and got sent off against Aberdeen, which I thought was tough.

“But it’s up to me to play the best I can every time they give me the jersey and I feel like I’ve done that.

“I love being here, I’ve said that since the day I joined. I really enjoy being in this club.

“In the meantime, it’s up to me to try and get back on the court because that’s where I want to be.”

Hearts have more firepower after borrowing Everton’s young striker Ellis Simms.

He made an impact on his debut against Celtic last week and Halliday says he can take the load off top scorer Liam Boyce.

He said: “Ellis’s income has helped us. Boycey has been the main source of goals, but I’m sure Ellis will fight for the shirt.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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