Jake Mulraney’s joy at helping Hearts to a vital three points against Aberdeen on Saturday was marred by the fact that his pregnant girlfriend was subjected to verbal abuse from a disgruntled supporter.
That evening the Irishman took to Twitter to condemn the culprit and has stated that, while he accepts that stick is part and parcel of a footballer’s life, he does not want to see his partner, Aoife McDonagh, abused, especially by fans of his own club.
“I get stick all the time and that comes with football. Me personally, I don’t care but when it involves her then it is a bit different,” said the 22-year-old Dubliner, who kickstarted Hearts’ comeback against the Pittodrie side with a penetrating run, which resulted in a penalty converted by team-mate Sean Clare.
“It is something that comes with football and it wasn’t a massive issue but the fact my girlfriend is pregnant, that got my back up.After an hour or so, I calmed down and as long as she is alright, that’s all that really bothers me.”
Excited at becoming a first-time father in September, the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle player, who is looking for a positive result at Ibrox tonight, says the couple are due to discover the sex of their baby the day after the upcoming Scottish Cup semi-final.
“It could be a good weekend, please God. It will be a massive weekend for myself, playing against my old team, seeing some pals, getting to the final, please God, and finding out what we’re having, please God.”
But with his partner four months pregnant, he hopes that punters can show a bit more decorum.
“She is quite sensitive and she is not really used to it. She was used to coming to Inverness, where there’s a 1000 or maybe 2000 at a game. But here, there’s 18,000 people screaming.
“She is from an area where if someone says something, her back usually goes up and she is used to speaking up and defending herself, and she has that in her. So it is hard for her to hear that and not say something back.”
But, the winger, who signed in the summer and has played an increasingly-important role since the turn of the year, said the incident would not put the future mother of his child off attending his games.
“Maybe she can just wear ear plugs! I actually think she has done that before, just stuck the headphones in. She can give as good as she gets and I was only worried because she is pregnant. But, me and her spoke about it and if one person says something stupid, we can’t really hold that against all the fans. I know for a fact that not all the fans are like that, only a small percent that are like that.”