Former Easter Road favourite and Hibernian die-hard Derek Riordan thinks it would be “the end of the world” if his boyhood idols lost to bitter rivals Hearts in the Scottish Cup final.
The 29-year-old, who fired 90 goals for Hibs over two spells with the club, has admitted he was rooting for Celtic in Sunday’s semi final – even though the SPL champions would arguably have provided stronger opposition in the May 19 showpiece.
Fans on both sides of the Edinburgh divide are building up to the first capital derby final in 116 years and Riordan, who has joined St Johnstone on a contract until the end of the season, admits he is no different to those on the terraces when it comes to the excitement of the match.
Speaking to The Scottish Sun, Riordan said: “Hibs have not got a very good record against Hearts and to lose to them in the cup final would feel like the end of the world for the fans, including myself.
“You never know, it could finally be Hibs’ year to win the cup and to do it against Hearts would make it so special.
“But you also don’t want to lose to your biggest rivals - not when you’ve waited more than 100 years to get the trophy. Strictly speaking, Hibs have a better chance against Hearts than Celtic but to lose to them will feel like the worst day of our lives.”
The Edinburgh-born attacker, who has also turned out for Cowdenbeath, Celtic and Chinese side Shaanxi Chan-Ba, pinpointed Hibernian’s strikeforce of Leigh Griffiths and Garry O’Connor as key to their hopes, while picking out Ian Black and Sunday’s match-winner Craig Beattie as Hearts’ main threats.
Riordan added: “If we’re looking at who’s going to score the goals for Hibs in the final, it’s really big Garry or Leigh Griffiths.
“They’ve been excellent this season and they did the business against Aberdeen to secure a place in the final.
“Craig Beattie was a team-mate at Celtic and he’s done well for Hearts but I think Ian Black’s their best player. Every time I’ve watched him in derbies he’s been brilliant.
“Rudi Skacel is another big threat for them.”
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