Hearts’ Michael Smith became father on day of Dundee United game – but wasn’t going to let team down
Michael Smith admits adrenaline got him through Friday’s Betfred Cup clash with Dundee United as he produced a man-of-the-match display just seven hours after the arrival of his baby daughter Blake.
The right-back’s wife Emma gave birth to their second child at 12.35pm on the day of the game and even though he thought for a moment he was going to have to withdraw from the season-opening match, Smith made it to Tynecastle and delivered a marauding display.
“It was a fantastic day – adrenaline got me through the game,” he said. “It was a planned section so we knew it was going to happen on Friday, the gaffer knew and everyone knew and they were all happy enough for me to go and spend the day in the hospital and make the game at night.
“Luckily I got here and played particularly well. I had my tracksuit in the bag and got changed in the toilet at the hospital in Livingston and I had made pasta the night before so it was all planned.
“At one stage she wasn’t recovering as quickly as we thought she would so I was close to ringing Austin (MacPhee) to say I couldn’t make it, but Emma said I had to go, so I jumped into my tracksuit and got into the car. I couldn’t let the boys or the gaffer down so I was happy I came and produced.”
Smith is expecting another new arrival to make a big impact at Hearts in the shape of his fellow Northern Irish internationalist and former Peterborough team-mate Conor Washington.
“I think he’ll be a real hit,” Smith said of the striker. “I played with him at Peterborough for a couple of years and (in the second year) he was absolutely on fire for the first six months of the season up ‘til Christmas. Everything he touched went in the net. He got his move to QPR from that, and rightly so. He hasn’t recaptured that form because he hasn’t really played regularly since. If he can recapture that he’ll be banging the goals in. He works his socks off, he never stops and makes good runs in behind. He’s smart and he’s a good finisher.”