The Spaniard was playing for Chelsea when Doyle and his Birmingham City colleagues faced up to the Stamford Bridge side in the fifth round of the 2011-12 FA Cup and while the Londoners ultimately progressed to the quarter-finals and eventually lifted the trophy, Doyle made sure they had to work for it.
“I saved a penalty and we drew 1-1 so that’s a nice one,” said Doyle, pictured. “I think that was to get to the quarter-final so that was a nice memory and then in the replay I saved another penalty although we ended up losing that.
“Mata took both, one to the right and one to the left. It was nice because after the game he came over to me and spoke and gave me his jersey but I think I ruined his confidence because he missed a penalty in the Champions League final that summer and I think I must have played a part in that. His confidence was shot!
“I still have his jersey at home, up in the loft beside all the other ones, but it is a good memory to tell the grandkids about. Those games stand out as cup memories but this is one I’m looking forward to and I’m sure the boys are looking forward to it too.”
The last time the sides met, Livingston humiliated Hearts 5-0. It was a blow to the club but offered Doyle his chance in goal as he was drafted in for the following three games. Two wins out of three, including an eye-catching display against Hibs ahead of the winter break, leaves him in possession of the shirt and looking to fare better than Zdenek Zlamal when he faces the Livingston challenge today. Hearts believe that mauling in West Lothian was a freak result but having been held to a 0-0 draw at Tynecastle earlier in the season, they also know how onerous this afternoon’s task will be.
“They have done well this year and they are up there so we know it will be a difficult game,” added Doyle. “They get men behind the ball and try to catch you on the break. We know what to expect and we have worked on it.”