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Ex-Hearts striker John Robertson claims, Police begged us not to score


Fury: John Robertson was at Hearts when a merger with Hibs was mooted

Fury: John Robertson was at Hearts when a merger with Hibs was mooted

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Fury: John Robertson was at Hearts when a merger with Hibs was mooted

Former Hearts striker John Robertson has revealed how a senior police officer once pleaded with him and his Jambos team-mates not to score against Edinburgh foes Hibernian during a powder-keg derby clash.

The former Scotland international tells the story of the bizarre police intervention during the first episode of new BBC Scotland documentary Scotland's Game.

The opening programme revisits the controversial period 26 years ago when Tynecastle chairman Wallace Mercer proposed a merger between the two capital clubs. But his plans to create a new club to be called Edinburgh United were met with a furious backlash from Leith.

The Hibs support organised what a successful campaign to thwart the deal - but the situation had still not calmed when the old rivals faced off at Easter Road in September 1990.

Unsurprisingly, tempers were running high and crowd trouble broke out. Police struggled to keep control and the game was disrupted several times in a first half when Hearts took a 3-0 lead.

In the show, Robertson says: "The place was packed to the rafters, and it was a horrible atmosphere. Hibernain fans were going bananas and rightly so, Hearts fans weren't too happy about it either. We were the anti-Christ at the time, the enemies.''

Fearing more disruption, Robertson claims desperate officers appealed to the players to help calm events by going easy in the second half.

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Robertson added: "We were all looking stunned, thinking - some strange request, that. He went out the door and Sandy Clark (Hearts caretaker manager) said, 'Yeah, yeah officer, no problem at all, no worries, I know where you're coming from, we'll leave it at that'.

"He shut the door and said, 'Nah, that ain't happening guys'."

Thankfully for the authorities, Hearts failed to find the net in the second half and the score remained 3-0.

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