HEARTS and Hibs put their traditional rivalries to one side as they joined forces for a moving tribute to two tragic young footballers who died suddenly last weekend.
Players from both clubs paid their respects before their matches yesterday in honour of 13-year-old Jamie Skinner and Hibs youth prospect David Paul, 18.
Both young footballers died last Sunday – Jamie collapsed after suffering a suspected heart attack while making his debut for Tynecastle under-14s, just a week after being released by Hearts, while David, who played for Hibs under-20s, was found dead at his Fairmilehead home.
Fans and players at Tynecastle took part in a minute’s applause, while Dingwall, where Hibs took on Ross County, fell silent for 60 seconds. Meanwhile, scarves of both Hearts and Hibs were tied together at the gates of Tynecastle as a symbol of two clubs united in grief.
Hibs reserve goalkeeper Sean Murdoch wore a T-shirt during the warm-up with the message: “RIP David, 1995-2003. Gone but not forgotten.”
And after the match, Hibs manager Terry Butcher dedicated the 2-0 win to David, who was discovered dead in his bed by his devastated parents just hours after attending a party with teammates.
Butcher said: “We wanted to win for David, that was the big thing. The players wanted the minute’s silence but we just wanted to do it for David and his family because that’s what he would have wanted, Hibs to win. I said to the boys they are the lucky ones, they have a career, so it’s nice that we could do it for him, in his honour.”
Hearts manager Gary Locke also paid tribute to both young stars after his side went down 4-0 to Kilmarnock. He said: “The thoughts of everyone at Heart of Midlothian go out to the families of both boys.”
Tennis star Andy Murray retweeted a comment from brother Jamie, which read: “Terrible tragedies. Life doesn’t make sense sometimes.”
Jamie collapsed five minutes into the second half of a match against Spartans at the Saughton Sports Complex on Sunday morning.
His father, George, rushed to his side after his son Tony received a call about the emergency at their family home.
The pair arrived as paramedics fought to save the teenager and they went with him in the ambulance to the ERI.
A post-mortem examination is still to be carried out to determine the exact cause of death, but early indications suggest he suffered a heart attack.
The Evening News told yesterday how calls were now being made for life-saving heart equipment to be installed at all community and sporting facilities in Scotland.
The Arrhythmia Alliance said that defibrillators, which jump start the heart after cardiac arrest, should be made available at all such facilities.
A charity match organised by friends and family of Jamie is to take place at 1pm on Monday at Inch Park.
Organisers said anyone was welcome, with donations set to go to the British Heart Foundation.