EILIDH CHILD is a lifelong Jambo – but the Scots athlete has been left heartbroken at having to miss out on the William Hill Scottish Cup final.
The 25-year-old athlete is not only involved in an international event at Loughborough this weekend, she also has a family wedding to attend tomorrow.
Events have conspired that she won’t be at Hampden to see Hearts take on Hibs but she has ensured that she will be getting regular updates throughout the wedding ceremony as her brother, Jamie, is the only family member to have ducked out of the celebrations to go to the game.
Child, in contention to compete at the Olympics in London later this year, admitted that she is gutted to be missing out on one of the biggest days in her club’s history.
As a youngster she watched her side lift the trophy back in 2006 but she knows that a victory tomorrow would top that and she would have loved to have been at the game this time around.
She laughed: “It’s not the best timing really! I’m meeting up with the rest of the Scotland team in Loughborough today and tomorrow I will be at my cousin’s wedding in Leeds.
“My brother is the only one of my whole family who is actually going to the cup final. We’re hoping that he will send text updates to us at the wedding just so that we know what is going on because we probably won’t be able to watch any of it on television.
“We might be able to sneak a radio into the ceremony but, whatever happens, someone will be keeping us up to date with what is happening at Hampden.
“I actually can’t believe that we won’t be there. My whole family are Jambos. My dad took us to games when we were younger and it all started from there really.
“The 1998 Cup final was when I really started to get into it. In 2006, winning the Cup itself was just amazing but the one thing I remember most about that year is beating Hibs 4-0 in the semi-final.
“Cup finals are great days, it’s all about flags and scarves. It’s always good fun and it’s a shame that I’m going to miss the game but, hopefully, we’ll have a reason to celebrate afterwards.”
While Hearts have watched their rivals battle to avoid relegation this season, Child insists that the Tynecastle side cannot afford to underestimate their opposition tomorrow: “It’s a derby, so I don’t think that you could put any money on the game because you just never know what is going to happen.
“Over the course of the last year, Hearts have had a better season than Hibs have but that will count for nothing tomorrow.
“The form book will go out of the window and it’s more a case of who wants it more.
“Obviously, I hope that I’m celebrating a Hearts win, but I think it’s just too close to call.”
If there is going to be a party in Gorgie tomorrow night though, Child believes that it could come down to Rudi Skacel’s performance.
The Czech has already proved himself in derby games and netted both inside 90 minutes and again in the penalty shoot-out in the 2006 final win over Gretna. She believes that he can do the same again tomorrow against Hibs, although she conceded that she doesn’t mind who gets the goals, as long as Hearts are celebrating at the final whistle.
“He has got a good record of scoring against Hibs,” she added. “He scored in the last final and I think that everyone knows what he is capable of.
“Craig Beattie as well, there have been a few worries over his fitness, but if he plays he would be one to watch. And from set-pieces, Andy Webster and Ryan McGowan can also cause problems and get the odd goal, so there are options.
“To be honest, though, I don’t really mind who scores, just as long as the ball ends up in the net and Hearts win the Cup.”
While she’s disappointed to be missing out on being at the final in person, Child will make sure that everyone knows where her allegiances lie by packing her Hearts top in her bag along with her running gear – and will have her maroon-and-white scarf flying proudly out of the car window.
Child will be competing in the 400 metre hurdles and 4 x 400m relay at Loughborough.
“I have got my Hearts top in my bag because we’re down in Loughborough for a few days before the race and, because it’s a Scotland meet, there are a few Hearts and Hibs fans going.
“I’ll make sure that I have my Hearts top on the night before the game and there will probably be a lot of banter between the athletes.”