Faycal Rherras has revealed how he only had eyes for the Hibs support as he watched the Easter Road outfit knock Hearts out of last season’s Scottish Cup.
The Moroccan defender, signed on a surprise loan deal by Neil Lennon from Belgian side KV Mechelen, was on the Jambos’ bench as Ian Cathro’s side were trounced in a replay but, he claimed, he was blown away by the home fans.
He recalled: “When Jason Cummings scored the first goal I saw the way the fans reacted in the stands and after that I didn’t really see the game. I was too busy watching the Hibs supporters. They were amazing.
“I was very, very impressed, I was thinking ‘wow, what is this?’ because it was an amazing atmosphere.”
Signed by former Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson, Rherras fell out of favour under Cathro and played just one more game for the Tynecastle club following that cup tie but now, he insisted, he’s determined to enjoy his time on the other side of the city.
The 24-year-old said: “I had a lot of problems last year. Under Robbie Neilson I played every time, but I came back from the Cup of Africa Nations and I had a lot of problems with the new coach Ian Cathro.
“I don’t know why I wasn’t playing, that was the problem. Every time I wanted to speak to him, he didn’t want to speak with me. So eventually I just thought, ‘let’s forget this’.”
Now back in Edinburgh until the end of the season, Rherras is intent on enjoying his football, claiming Hibs style of play will suit him while, despite Sunday’s derby defeat by Hearts, he believes he’s joined the better team.
Rherras was on the bench at Tynecastle having signed only the day before and said: “I am very determined to do well here and to do well with my new team. I think they are a better team than Hearts. They try to play football. I have trained three times with the team and I am very happy because all the players try to play football. It’s different from Hearts. It’s a different system than with Hearts last season. This team try to play football, the long ball is not my game.”