'We'll play them right now' - Hearts star Craig Gordon sends rivals Hibs Scottish Cup semi-final message
The returning Tynecastle legend can’t wait to play the Edinburgh derby Scottish Cup semi final
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon admits the team would be happy to play Hibs “right now” if it meant competitive football, with a place in a Scottish Cup final for the victors.
The Edinburgh rivals will meet for perhaps the only time this season in last season’s Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park later this year - either 31 October or 1 November.
The postponement of the competition due to coronavrius has led to the surreal circumstances where the winners of the 2020 tournament will be decided in a final just before Christmas.
All eyes will be on the Derby clash with the two teams in separate divisions. With that, Gordon expects Hibs, currently top of the Premiership following a 4-1 win over Livingston on Saturday, to be favourites, while making note of Hearts’ historic derby record.
“The semi-final is one everyone is going to be looking forward to,” he told Scarves Around the Funnel podcast.
“Hibs are in the Premier League, they are going to have been playing more games. They’re going to go into the game as favourites as you would expect. They’ve already started the season pretty well, so that’s going to be tough but one we're really looking forward to and it is an aim for us because it comes so early in our season.
"It is up to us to get ourselves in the best possible shape we can going into that game and give it our best shot. We know what’s at stake, trying to get into a final, and it’s a derby match and anything can happen. But we have, and always have had, a good record.
"I’ve had a good record when I’ve played against them before.”
By the time of the semi-final Hibs could have played up to 15 competitive fixtures, while Hearts, whose Championship season doesn’t start until the middle of October, may have only played five.
Yet, Gordon won’t be using that as an excuse.
“We'll play them anytime,” he said. “We’ll play them right now if it means we're playing football, playing in a semi-final. That’s not a problem.
"We know it’s going to be a tough game and one we’re going to have to play really well to come through and win. It is a focus and it is one we’re looking forward to.
“There's plenty time before that, we have to put ourselves in the right shape and use that as the thing to keep us going between now and then
“That’s what we are all working towards and that’s the one we all want to be at full fitness, ready to go.”