One of the most bizarre moments in Edinburgh derby history took place in November 1996 when, during a match at Tynecastle, it was revealed that the man inside the costume of Hearts mascot Hearty Harry was none other than Ally McCoist.
Onlookers were puzzled as to why the then-Rangers striker was inside the outfit on the Tynecastle turf, and a full explanation was never given.
Nearly 21 years later, McCoist has revealed that the “hospitality” of Edinburgh’s Rose Street was to blame for his decision, and says the stunt was definitely not planned in advance.
He told Talksport: “We played Celtic on the Saturday, and I was doing a column for the News of the World and Hibs-Hearts were playing on the Sunday. So I went through to Tynecastle.
“I made the mistake of enjoying a bit of hospitality on Rose Street before the game.
“It was a great game, I have to say. So we were in at half-time, up in the lounge, and the Hearts mascot Hearty Harry is getting changed next to me.
“So I’ve had a little bit of a nice lunch, and I’ve looked at him, and he’s looked at me. He shook his head, and I’ve nodded my head, and I’ve went “yes”.
“I put the outfit on and I was out on the Tynecastle pitch for the most bizarre ten minutes of my life, dancing in front of the supporters and all that stuff. Of course, they’ve not got a clue who it was. They thought they were cheering Hearty Harry.
“The best of it was, the stadium announcer says to me you’d better get back out there. So I took the Hearty Harry hat off and I walked back out. There were about two or three sort of clapping their hands and going, “aye ok, not bad”. And I turned round to the entire Hibs support, who, in no uncertain terms, told me what they thought of my Hearty Harry and where I could stick it.”
Perhaps due to the hospitality on Rose Street, McCoist has given more credit to the game than it actually deserved, seeing as it was a drab 0-0 draw.