Fans geared up for charity derby match

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HIBS and Hearts will clash once again this weekend – as Easter Road plays host to the Rivals4Charity match on Sunday.

The annual game, which alternates between Tynecastle and the Leith ground, gives supporters of both Hibs and Hearts the chance to play in their club’s colours on the big stage.

The event is in its sixth year and this time around money raised will go directly to the clubs’ own charities, the Hibernian Community Foundation and Big Hearts.

Since 2006, the matches have raised in excess of £50,000 and organiser Scott Moncrieff is hoping that Sunday’s game will add another £10,000 to the coffers.

He said: “It’s a simple idea really, the aim is to get rival fans together, have a good day out and raise money for charity in the process. It’s in its sixth year now and has raised over £50,000 so far. We aim for at least £10,000 a year so, hopefully, we can meet that target again.”

More than 200 fans applied to be part of the match at the beginning of this year, that number finally being whittled down to just 16 players for each squad. And Hibs coach Dean Philp admitted that telling some of the hopefuls they wouldn’t be playing has been a difficult task.

Philp said: “The response has been brilliant this year. We’ve had a great turnout, from the initial trials right down to the last 16.

“It’s been very hard to say no to people. These guys are big fans of the club, they train for so many months in the hope that they’ll be selected. It’s hugely disappointing for them to be told that they’re not going to be involved. I’ve certainly had a few sleepless nights because of it.”

Moncrieff knows exactly how each player will feel when they run out of the tunnel at Easter Road, having already featured in the game twice himself and he believes that the event provides a great opportunity for fellow fans to achieve a lifetime ambition.

He continued: “I think one of the best things about this game is that it gives normal supporters the chance to do something that they have always dreamed about, but probably was never going to be possible.

“Playing at your team’s ground and running out of the tunnel, is going to be one of the best days of your life. It’s a great day, I love it.”

The game kicks off at 1.00pm on Sunday at Easter Road. Entry is £5 for adults and £3 for concessions at the gate. For more information go to www.rivals4charity.co.uk