Hibs ace says nothing about derby rivalry is lost in translation

Emi Marcondes is eager to sample Tynecastle atmosphere.Emi Marcondes is eager to sample Tynecastle atmosphere.
Emi Marcondes is eager to sample Tynecastle atmosphere. | SNS Group
'I don't get the accent - but I know they're not shouting nice things!'

The culture is different. More anger and bile, fire and fury. Not that Emi Marcondes is complaining; the Dane quite enjoys the raw and raucous elements of Scottish football.

As he prepares for his first taste of the Edinburgh derby, the former Brentford and Bournemouth playmaker – a January signing who has impressed in flashes – would never underestimate the occasion. Nor is likely to be caught unawares by the special treatment afforded visiting players in this fixture.

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“I feel the fans are really passionate here,” said the 28-year-old. “They are maybe screaming a lot more when you walk out at half time and before the game.  They are trying to get in your head.

“Even if sometimes I don’t understand the accent, I can see in their faces it’s not nice things they’re shouting! You can feel it means so much to them.

“I also read an article that Scottish football has the most attendance per person in Scotland. That is a signal that everyone is coming to the stadium even if it’s cold here. 

“It’s like a religion here. They come and support their team and although it’s not always positive they are here to show that they care.

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“I haven’t really felt that hate or rivalry yet in the city. I’ve only really met Hibs fans and not had the negative abuse from Hearts. Maybe that will come after this game!”

Asked about his previous experiences in fixtures where life, death and bragging rights always seem to be on the line, Marcondes grasps at straws a little as he describes playing in a “derby” at Wembley, appearing for Brentford against Fulham in a play-off final. Yeah, with all due respect, that doesn’t even come close to this game, in terms of undiluted emotion.

Yet he insists he’s quite prepared to have three quarters of the crowd at Tynecastle baying for his blood, declaring: “I love it! I love when there are more fans and when it’s louder.

“I’m a player who likes to play with emotion, it drives me when there is something at stake and it means something to people.

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“You don’t want to be too emotional, like a fan, with refereeing decisions and where every situation is win or lose, if you lose the ball you’re gonna lose the game. You still have to take risks and be brave, and that’s where you don’t want to be emotional because you can maybe hide a bit too much.

“You have to be clever the way you position yourself, be strategic and that’s a bit away from your emotions. Whereas if you’re emotional you tackle, and you want to run, and obviously you have to do that, but you need to be a bit more clever sometimes, stay out of the duel if you can win the ball in another way or take the ball past a player by being patient in that area. That can benefit the team and yourself and that’s what I like, when opponents sometimes get frustrated, and to use that to my advantage.”

The theme of Scottish football’s ‘unique’ physicality is overplayed at times. Especially when a newbie turns up with ambitions to play his way through the minefield. They do actually tackle players in other leagues, as well.

“The Championship is also quite physical – and the Premier League as well,” said Marcondes, when asked about the bare-knuckle feel to our elite division. “Even in Denmark, it’s also very physical, but the game is a bit more tactical there.

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“But, yeah, obviously the game here is physical. But for my style of play, it’s important to be technical, to be tactically organised and thinking about my position.

“Obviously you have to go into the duels in any league. But to be clever and smooth in some situations, to not go into the duel, that’s my style of play – and I think the best players know how to do that.

“If you are playing quickly, the opponent can never get close to you. You don’t have to play physical football.

“You see the best teams in the world, Man City and a lot of the great Premier League sides, it’s really difficult to get close to them and actually really put a mark on them, put a tackle in. If you do, you are often late – and get a yellow card.

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“The culture here is a little bit different. Not so much, but there is another way here of looking at football, analysing football, judging the play and the style. It’s different. So it’s been quite exciting, interesting to see, and I enjoy the differences – just being around different football people and challenging myself in a new environment.”

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