Hearts striker Dale Carrick insisted there was no way they were going to let Capital rivals Hibs send them down to the Scottish Championship.
Carrick scored as Hearts beat Hibs 2-0 at Tynecastle yesterday to prolong their forlorn fight against relegation from the Scottish Premiership for at least three more days.
St Mirren’s draw with Inverness on Saturday set up the potential scenario of Hibs sealing Hearts’ fate with victory at Tynecastle, but Carrick’s sixth-minute strike put the hosts on course for their third derby win of the campaign.
When asked what was going through his mind when he heard the St Mirren score, Carrick said: “It was gutting, but we knew that we were going to win because it was against Hibs and we weren’t going to get relegated off them.
“We wanted to end their party and start our party. We got built up by the gaffer - this was a game we needed to win and we did that.”
Like most of his team-mates, Carrick’s allegiance to Hearts has been built up over a long period.
The 20-year-old, who swept home following a Ryan Stevenson knockdown, said: “It’s always been something I wanted to do since being at Hearts from under-12s, to score against Hibs. It’s a dream come true basically.”
The goal came in front of the Hibs fans, who had come in party mood but were silenced by the strike.
“I’ve got family and friends at that end - uncles, cousins, great-grandparents,” Carrick said.
“I probably won’t see them for a couple of weeks but I’ll phone them. I’ll give it a couple of hours and see how they’re doing.
“We have got Hearts and Hibs in the family so we have good banter.”
It was in that mischievous mode that Carrick declared he would like to see Hibs join Hearts in the Championship next season.
“It’s great having the derby so we might as well have derbies down there as well,” he said.
Hearts will go down on Wednesday if they lose at home to Aberdeen, who are also the next opponents for Hibs.