When he looked at the fixture list after it was announced in the summer, Ross Callachan made a mental note to be at Easter Road on 24 October. But he was expecting to go as a Hearts supporter.
Subsequent events mean he is now heading there as the linchpin in his beloved club’s injury-hit midfield. Callachan’s transfer-window switch from Raith Rovers to Hearts will give him first-hand experience of the fixture in just his sixth appearance for his boyhood heroes.
In reality it’s a game he has been waiting for almost all his life. “I have always watched the derbies and thought: ‘I’d love to be on the pitch’,” the 24 year-old said yesterday.
“Hopefully I am going to be this time so it is something I have dreamed of since a young boy and I am really looking forward to it.”
He admitted that while footballers are mentally programmed to focus on the next game, this was one he could not help looking forward to.
“It was always in the back of my mind,” he said.
“We have obviously had games before this and they have been my main focus, but the derby has always been there.
“Now it’s at the front of my mind and it’s the main thing on it. I’m looking forward to it and I probably am reining myself in a wee bit. I feel you have got to have ice in your veins in derbies.”
He knows Hearts can’t afford to get carried away. The team that does invariably comes off worse on such occasions.
“We can’t get carried away, we have to keep cool heads and play from there,” he said.
Whether Callachan manages to put this into practice remains to be seen. But he doesn’t see why he is more at risk than others in the team when it comes to being caught up in the emotion of the occasion.
“Me being a Hearts fan, I know what it means,” he said. “But there are guys in that dressing room who are not Hearts fans and they also know what it means.
“I want boys in the team who know what it means, and there are, so I’m happy with that.
“I’m happy with what we’ve got. The boys know what it means, they’re getting it from the fans all the time.”