LIKE thousands of other Hibbies, Kairen Nova exited Tynecastle Park in jubilant mood on Saturday – until she discovered her handbag and birthday cash was gone.
The Roseburn end roar that welcomed the screech of the final whistle had barely died down when Kairen, who’d attended the match with her dad, John Cornwall, and younger brother, Jason Nova, realised she’d left her bag behind.
Post-derby elation quickly turned to panic as Kairen rushed back to her seat in a desperate attempt to claim back her belongings – including £60 in birthday money.
“We were leaving when I realised I didn’t have my handbag,” said Kairen, who turned 25 last week.
“I ran back up the stairs – which literally takes about a minute – and it was gone.
“If it’s gone that quickly, then I’m never getting it back,’ I thought.”
A die-hard Hibby, Kairen said she had a good feeling the away side would notch a result on Saturday and had withdrawn the cash with a view to celebrating later on.
“I never take my bag with me to games, but I woke up with a good feeling so took the money out at Haymarket,” she said.
“We spoke with stewards and police and they told me to phone Tynecastle on Monday and see if they had it.”
Dad John, 62, who has taken Kairen to Hibs games since she was five, said he temporarily banned any ill talk about Hearts until the bag was returned.
He commented: “I told everybody to leave Hearts alone and stop the banter till this got sorted.”
Luckily, a fan or steward had given the handbag over to Hearts club officials.
The bitter rivals of Kairen’s beloved Hibs had done her a good turn. Even better, her birthday cash was intact.
“They called back just after lunchtime on Monday and talked me through the contents,” explained Kairen.
“I jokingly said they might not give it back once they saw the ticket for the Hibs end!
“It disappeared so fast but I didn’t want to think a fellow fan would steal it. I just want to thank whoever it was for being honest and handing it in, and Hearts too of course. What a relief.”
Saturday’s Edinburgh Derby, which Hibs won 2-1 – their first at Tynecastle in ten attempts – did not pass without incident.
Missiles including flares, smoke bombs (bellowing both maroon and green) and, most bizarrely, a coconut, had been thrown on to the pitch by supporters. Three arrests were made in connection with the game.
The result aside, John says he’s glad the game had produced a feel-good story among all the negativity.
“This is a good story to come out of an Edinburgh Derby instead of a bad one,” he said.
“Throwing coconuts on the pitch and what not – what next?”
A spokesperson for Hearts FC said: “Following a post-match sweep of the stadium, the lost handbag was located and we were delighted to be able to return it and its contents to the owner.”