Smith will put Hearts friendships to one side

Gordon Smith: Ex-Hearts striker
Gordon Smith: Ex-Hearts striker
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GORDON Smith has backed his former Hearts team-mates to overcome the odds and avoid relegation this season, but the Raith Rovers striker is eyeing a shock of his own when the teams face each other in the League Cup this evening.

Smith insists he knows all there is to know about the Tynecastle youngsters who are flouting expectations to defiantly eat into their 15-point Premiership penalty and is not surprised they have managed to instantly raise hopes of top-flight survival. The 22-year-old might have been a part of the backs-against-the-wall efforts in Gorgie himself this term but was released following the advent of administration.

Smith holds no grudges and is thrilled to see so many players he came through the ranks with at Tynecastle successfully making the grade. Smith –joined at Stark’s Park by fellow former Hearts players Jason Thomson, Calum Elliot and Liam Fox, as well as manager Grant Murray and assistant Paul Smith – believes the arrival of his former club will also bring out the best in a Raith team who have suffered just one defeat in six competitive matches so far this term.

He said: “There’s a few ex-Hearts boys in the team, but we’re just looking to win. Hearts is all in the past now.

“Obviously I still speak to a lot of people at Hearts, I’ve got good friends there, people I’m close to, but I’ll be looking to give them a disappointing night. I know every single player in that Hearts squad, I grew up with a lot of them.

“I’m not really surprised at the way the start of the season has gone for them because, for other people, there’s a wee bit of the unknown about them. The players they’re coming up against will not really know how they play, but they’re all very fit and fast. If they can get a wee run going, which they’re on at the moment, then I think they’ll be fine in the league and they can avoid relegation.

“They’re doing well at Tynecastle and it’s always brilliant when you go away from home and you’ve got more away fans there than home fans. People say they can be the 12th man and that’s right.

“A big crowd can help us as well, though. We’ll all be up for it, 100 per cent, and the more fans that are there the better.

“Often, the better the atmosphere the better you play.”