Murray looking forward to derby atmosphere as Hibs' East Stand demolished

THE demolition of the East Stand may have left a huge void on one side of Easter Road stadium but Ian Murray reckons that the Hibs fans won't allow that to affect the derby atmosphere on Saturday.

And the versatile defender should know what he's talking about because Murray has already played against Hibs' old rivals in similar circumstances.

The Main Stand at Easter Road, which had originally been built in the 1920s, was knocked down and reconstructed in 2001 and during that period Hibs played host to Hearts, a game which ended in a goalless draw despite a breathtaking finale. The Hibs defender was only a youngster at the time but recalled how, as the game went into stoppage time, his side were awarded a penalty kick – only for Mixu Paatelainen to sky his effort over the bar from 12 yards.

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Despite having experienced the eerie atmosphere of having fans only on three sides, Murray admits that it will still be the same for everyone involved out on the pitch to do it again.

He said: "It will be a bit strange with the stand not being there at the moment and behind the goals being split.

"I have played in a derby like that before though, back in May 2001, when the Main Stand was gone and it was almost eerie. Mixu missed a penalty in the last minute – and he actually chipped it over the bar, I don't think even he could believe it.

"I was just a young boy at the time, obviously, but I will always remember the really strange atmosphere.

"I have done it before, but it will still be unusual. There won't be many Hearts fans there so hopefully we can use that to our advantage.

"I know that there will be fewer fans there than normal but I am sure that the fans who have got tickets will make sure that there is a lot of noise as usual, it was loud on Sunday against Rangers and I think it will be the same again."