IT’S a club rivalry so intense that it almost scuppered one football-mad couple’s future happiness.
Hearts daft Paul Fraser wanted to pop the question to his partner Kat, a lifelong Hibbee, in March 2012 but when he found out Hibs were playing Hearts in the cup final, he held off until the end of the season in case she refused due to bad feeling after the clash.
They may be sworn enemies on February 7 when Hibs take on Hearts in the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round clash at Tynecastle but the Frasers are putting aside club rivalries to be united in the fight against cancer.
The Craigmount couple are backing a new campaign urging Scots to wear a unity band on World Cancer Day on February 4, in memory of Paul’s granddad, Ian Fraser, who died from bowel cancer.
Kat, 32, said: “I joke with Paul that Hearts is his first love then me.
“I come from a big family of Hibs supporters so I was born in to football and could never change my mind about my team.
“It can be tense before a big game in our house with the risk that there could even be a falling out but I think the Scottish cup will be a good game, Hearts v Hibs always is.”
Kat and Paul, 32, first met while working in Inverness but they moved to Edinburgh in 2014 to cut down on the journey times on match day.
The cake which was specially made for their engagement party was designed to look like a football pitch with the Tynecastle sign on one side, the Easter Road sign on the other, and Mr and Mrs Fraser marzipan figures holding hands in the middle.
When they finally tied the knot on March 29, 2014, Paul gave Kat a personalised Hearts top on the morning of the ceremony.
Even their children share a love for football.
When their son Harry, 2, was born, proud dad Paul suggested naming him Rudi after former Hearts player, Rudi Skacel, but he had to settle on naming the pet hamster Rudi after the Jambo legend.
Daughter Hayley, 13, has already decided to follow Hearts and she was recently chosen as a club mascot at a game.
Paul, a Hearts season ticket holder, said: “Kat and I don’t agree on football but we actually agree on a lot of things. I lost my granddad to cancer.
“He was always a strong supporter of the Scotland football team and all our family miss him very much.
“We’re calling on all football fans and all Scots to put their differences aside to unite and show that together we can do something about cancer.”
For the first time, Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Care, Anthony Nolan and the Movember Foundation are joining forces to raise funds through the sale of unity bands, which will go towards research and support for people with cancer.
Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “World Cancer Day is a unique opportunity for people across Scotland and beyond to unite for one day and show that together we can do something about cancer.
“So many of us have been affected by the disease, which is why on February 4 we are calling on the people of Scotland to join together and wear their unity band with pride.
“We’re asking everyone to band together for this one special day and to highlight the power of what can be achieved when people of all ages and from all walks of life join together.
“By asking people to go one step further and put their differences aside we can show the world that everyone, even competitors and rivals, are united against cancer.”
Supporters can pick up a Unity Band at www.worldcancerday.co.uk for a suggested donation of £2.