Graham Weir wrote himself into Hearts folklore with his famous Edinburgh derby double – now he wants to make new ground with another side in maroon and white.
Linlithgow Rose host Wick Academy under the lights at Prestonfield this evening (kick-off 7.30pm) in their William Hill Scottish Cup third-round replay as they bid to at least match their best-ever run in the competition with the reward of a home tie against Forfar Athletic lying in wait.
Weir, 31, who linked up with the junior outfit in the summer, has unfinished business in the national tournament, despite being part of the Raith Rovers side which made history by reaching the semi-finals for the first time in almost 50 years back in 2010.
The former Tynecastle striker’s career never really took off after a sensational late double as a teenager secured a 4-4 draw against Hibs almost 13 years ago – two moments which will forever endear him to the Hearts support. However, he’s eager to make new memories at Linlithgow after various stints in the lower reaches of Scottish football.
“I’ve not really played a lot in the Scottish Cup,” said Weir. “The biggest run I’ve had was with Raith when we got to the semi-finals against Dundee United, but I still wasn’t one of the first picks. We won the game against Dundee in the quarters and I ended up getting man of the match.
“I scored and it was about five yards onside and it got called offside.
“I never really played much in the cup when I was at Hearts and we didn’t get to any finals – they won the cup the year before I signed when I was just a young boy.
“I’ve only got a couple of years left [playing in the game], so hopefully I can do well and make some more memories. I’ve got another year left at Linlithgow after this season, but I don’t know how long these legs have got left.”
Now an attacking midfielder, Weir, who works as a delivery driver for Greggs, missed out on the tie which went ahead at the sixth time of asking last week as he couldn’t get the time off.
A depleted Rose side containing just 12 fit first-team players put in a valiant performance and led 2-1 going into the final few minutes on a boggy Harmsworth Park before their Highland League hosts secured a 92nd-minute equaliser.
Manager David McGlynn has an almost full squad to choose from for tonight’s clash and Weir is hopeful they can do the business with the backing of a large home support, a four-figure crowd expected to descend on Prestonfield. He said: “I’ve got set days so I was struggling and I would have had to take two days off really because I leave the house at 5 o’clock in the morning and they didn’t get back until about four so it would’ve been an absolute nightmare.
“I’ve spoke to a few of the boys and they’ve said Wick are really good going forward. It will be a hard tie, I just hope we can get through to the next round. We’d always have a good chance against Forfar in the next round if we make it, though. We’ve got really good players in our team so we’d fancy our chances.
“We fancy our chances against anybody but we’ve got to concentrate on Wick first. We’ll just play our own game and hopefully it’s good enough to see us through.”
Rose boss McGlynn has a tough decision to make on his starting XI with several first-team players back in contention after they couldn’t make the trip last Wednesday. However, given the performance of several fringe players in the 2-2 draw, it won’t be an easy team to pick.
“The eleven that we had were absolutely immense,” said McGlynn. “They did everything right, they worked hard, they battled and showed a lot of different sides to their character. The boys were dead on their feet at the end.
“I’ll pick a team which I think is good enough to win the game and the boys understand that. It’s about everyone being together and making sure we are all helping each other. The boys that aren’t playing will be disappointed but we need them and want them to be encouraging the team.”