After deciding that the nearest pub to Pete’s flat (he lives above The Diggers) would be rammed, we made the unusual decision to meet at The Roseburn Bar. The Roseburn is a great pub, it serves quality beer and has a traditional feel which puts it up there with The Guildford and Mathers in terms of decent, no nonsense and seemingly well run old style Edinburgh pubs. Despite this I rarely venture in there. With it being nearer the away end of the ground and at the end of the street housing the away buses, the unofficial rule seems to be that on days when Hearts are playing Rangers, Celtic or Hibs, it’s a pub for away fans only.
The Hibees take it over on derby day and it’s probably a no go when the Old Firm visit. They always have door security on for these games and they’d be unlikely to let Hearts fans in. Even if they did I can think of better ways to enjoy the pre match build up than soak up some abuse from people looking like River City extras, with a complexion suggesting they live off Sunny D and Kensitas Club (....I’m only joking).
Anyway on all other days it’s fine and quite a decent experience. I met Pete there at about 1:30pm and discussed picks for the football coupon as well as the Grand National. Picking a horse for the national is always a bit of a lottery for me as I know sod all about horses (although going on my very infrequent football coupon wins you could make the same case for football). I nipped next door to stick on a bet and return to have a couple of beers before we headed along to the ground. It was a beautifully sunny afternoon and fans from both sides mixed happily in their short sleeves. The afternoon sun gave the day an almost end of season feel (‘almost end of season’ being exactly what it was I guess).
Naturally the chat turned to Notts County, Hearts and foreign travel watching the beautiful game. Pete regaled me with a few tales from the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the most amusing being about a guy who visited some ‘ladies of the night’ in Frankfurt. Pete’s brother when recounting the tale 3rd party to Pete and their Dad thought it remarkable that the said lady ordered their friend to wash his manhood in the sink before battle commenced so to speak. When he mentioned this by stating ‘So she made him wash his old man in the sink’ their father responded with ‘what, he took his Dad with him!?’. You probably had to be there, but it made me chuckle.
Anyway, we made our way to the ground and took our seats in the sun basked enclosure. The game was pretty uneventful and Hearts and Motherwell ultimately had to settle for a point a piece. Motherwell hit the bar and the post, whilst Hearts went close through Suso, Robinson and Skacel.
The only memorable point was the appearance of several Hearts legends at half time, there in order to mark the 125th anniversary of Tynecastle. The usual suspects like Scott Crabbe and Jimmy Murray were joined by a couple of more infrequent visitors, of whom all Jambos retain very fond memories. Gillies Rousset the French goalie who guarded Hearts goal for several years during the 90s was present, as was a cult hero from the same era, Stefano Salvatori.
Pete left shortly before full time suffering from a pounding headache (squinting in the sun for 90 minutes after a few beers can do that to you), but I suspect it was as much to do with his annoyance at Notts County’s capitulation at Dagenham and Redbridge. They were 3-0 down by halftime and down to 10 men (eventually getting beat 3-1) and the winless streak of seven games put them deep into relegation trouble.
Nevertheless an enjoyable afternoon was had in the sun. It was just a shame that we didn’t see any goals.
Motherwell fans enjoy the sunshine.
Gillies Rousset makes a welcome visit to Tynecastle.
Stefano Salvatori and Stephane Adam.