Former Hibs striker Derek Riordan has admitted that he “hated” Hearts fans’ favourite Rudi Skacel.
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Riordan, now a burgeoning football agent, made the admission to Simon Ferry on Open Goal.
The two players faced off against each other several times as their two separate spells with the Edinburgh rivals coincided during the 2005-06 season and the 2010-11 campaign.
Riordan was forced to apologise to Skacel in 2005 after being filmed singing the Czech midfielder was a “refugee”.
Asked to name the players he disliked playing against the most in maroon, Riordan, a lifelong Hibs fan, was frank in his retelling.
He said: “To be honest, I hated Skacel. Like, actually hated him. Just horrible.
“I don’t actually know [why], it was just because he was a good player for Hearts then. He was a good player to be fair.
“Hearts had a good team back then. They had Paul Hartley and they were a big physical side back then.”
An incident involving the two players saw Riordan sent off in a 2-0 derby defeat at Easter Road after he lunged in on Skacel near the touchline.
Having been named as the captain for the game, the 35-year-old feels now that he let manager Colin Calderwood and the team down.
He said: “It was brilliant thing for me, getting made captain in the derby. But then a got sent off, so maybe that wasn’t the right signal.
“The emotions got the better of me, so that’s why I was probably better off not being a captain.
“I tried to be as professional as I could and ended up letting everyone down with that tackle on Skacel.”
One of the Hearts players he did like playing against was current Dundee United boss Robbie Neilson.
The right-back, who made 200 league appearances for the club he later managed, was given the tough task of keeping Riordan quiet as the goalscoring attacker would often operate on the left-flank.
He added: “I used to always have Robbie Neilson on toast.
“I used to love playing against him. I think it was because he wasn’t dirty enough. When you get someone playing against you who isn’t dirty it’s brilliant.”