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2 of 003 John Robertson 61 L Premier H

Robertson in a spin over derby winner: Now he hopes to line up against Germany

Ian Paul

22 Mar 1993

MAYBE because he scores a lot of fine goals, John Robertson was not afraid to acknowledge that the one he hit to give Hearts their 1-0 win over Hibs at Tynecastle was right out of the Scott Nisbet school of winners.

But he was rightly not willing to concede the credit for the score to his fellow striker, Ian Baird, who showed a splendid piece of creative imagination in staking his claim.

Robertson freely admits he tried a cross from the left, which was missed by the diving Baird and hit the shoulder of Hibs keeper John Burridge before going over the line into the net.

"Scott Nisbet gave me a few hints about spinning the ball on the six-yard line," he said, then added: "Of course, it was a fluke."

Fluke or not, it gave the Hearts man his nineteenth goal in derby games, a tremendous collection for a man who began life as a Hibs fan.

"That is great, but it is more important that we kept our run going," he said.

"These games are tense.

Both teams work hard and it is down to who gets the luck on the day."

He seems to have been able to snatch a slice of the fortune, none the less, and his side could not complain about their share of the goodies.

They are unbeaten in four years of derbies, a record that must be haunting the corridors of Easter Road.

It is even more galling when they prove the better team, as they were on Saturday for most of the afternoon.

But they have not been able to unearth a Robertson to steal goals when nothing much else is happening.

Robertson is about due another shot for Scotland.

He is included in the pool again for this week's joust with Germany, but he is not making any presumptions.

"The first thing is to get called into the squad.

If I am picked, I will give it my best shot.

If I am on the bench, I'll give the lads my support.

I know that seems like a cautious attitude, but there are so many good players up front."

The chances are that his colleague, Nicky Walker, will be in goal against the Germans and Robertson believes the keeper deserves everything he gets.

"Nicky has had the hardest job in replacing Henry Smith, a man the crowd love.

He had a rough start when we lost to Airdrie, but he stuck at it and has been a solid keeper for us since."

Walker did not have to be extraordinary against Hibs, but neither did Burridge need to produce miracles in the other goal.

The inevitable midfield confrontations which take up most of the time in Edinburgh derbies make it difficult to set up chances that worry keepers.

Hibs did it better than Hearts, because Brian Hamilton and Pat McGinlay won the right of way in the middle, but even then the chances were limited.

Keith Wright would, I am sure, admit to missing a clear-cut opportunity when he headed a cross from Gareth Evans wide, but he was a bit unlucky late in the game after he emerged from a race to beat Walker to the ball on the left and hit the ball across the goal-line on to the far post.

Even then, Mickey Weir might have scored if he had reacted a bit quicker.

But it was clearly not to be Hibs' day in front of goal.

Hearts did not take the initiative until after Robertson's goal, but they still offered very little threat.

Their manager, Joe Jordan, dismissed lightly the heated argument that went on between him and Ian Baird in the second half after the striker had put Glyn Snodin in bother with a pass.

Baird was quite animated in his remonstrations with the men in the dug-out, and the manager, as well as his assistant Frank Connor, were equally demonstrative.

It livened up the entertainment, if that is the right word, but no doubt the goal which followed soon restored harmony.

Jordan's counterpart, Alex Miller, could do nothing but bemoan the missed chances again.

He was justified in thinking that his team deserved something for their efforts and that they had the better of the arguments for most of the game.

But none of that will soothe the despairing spirits of the Hibees followers, who have gone through four years of suffering the taunts of their greatest rivals.

Even they, with all their irrational optimism, sensed the hoodoo was to continue once Robertson's weird goal went in.

There is a saying, something along the lines of the impossibility of matching the explosive effect of thunder, which sums up their predicament.

Taken from the Herald

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