The closest Robbie Horn ever came to facing Hibs as a player was lining up alongside John Robertson, Gary Mackay and rugby idol Gavin Hastings for Craig Levein’s testimonial.
Now the lifelong Hearts fan will finally get the chance to pit his wits against the Easter Road side for real after guiding Bonnyrigg Rose to a remarkable fourth-round clash against the Scottish Cup holders. The Midlothian outfit became the first Junior side to ever beat a team from the Championship on Tuesday evening as they claimed an unforgettable 1-0 win over Dumbarton.
Horn can now turn his attention to preparing for the biggest game in Bonnyrigg’s 135-year history – an Edinburgh derby with a twist.
He said: “I was a youth player for Hearts and did manage to play once for the first team. I made my debut off the bench away at Dundee United and I was a substitute a number of times.
“I was at the club for nearly six years and, as a Hearts fan, it was my dream to play for them, which I managed to do.
“I never got the chance to play against Hibs, though, which is obviously a major ambition when you are coming through at Hearts.
“I played in Craig Levein’s testimonial at Tynecastle back in 1997. There were boys like Gary Naysmith in there, Gavin Hastings made a guest appearance – and I remember John Hughes was playing for Hibs, putting himself about as usual!
“But this game is a bit more serious, and a dream tie that could sustain our club for years.” As if the fixture needed more spice, Bonnyrigg will hold talks with Hearts this week with a view to switching the tie, scheduled for 21 January, to Tynecastle, with New Dundas Park deemed unsuitable for the visit of Hibs.
Playing the game at the home of Hearts would prove a money-spinner for Bonnyrigg, while ensuring an unforgettable experience for Horn and his band of Jambos. “The majority of the boys are Hearts fans,” he said with a smile.
“There’s a couple of long-suffering Hibees in there! But even Moysie [Ewan Moyes], who actually played for Hibs, is a Hearts fan – so that’s definitely the way the dressing room is leaning.
“It’s only Lewis Turner and Danielle, our physio, who support Hibs. The rest of the boys are Hearts or Celtic.
“I’m obviously a Jambo myself, too, and I would love it if we could play the game at Tynecastle.
“If [Hearts owner] Ann Budge would agree to that, then I’m sure there would be a great turnout.”