Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian may be going head to head in the Scottish Cup Final next month, but they have joined together for a new grassroots football partnership.
The famous Edinburgh clubs will be going head to head in the Cup Final for the first time since 1896 in what is sure to be a thrilling occasion.
The players will be rivals in the heat of battle on the pitch, but Hearts' Mark Ridgers and Lewis Stevenson of Hibs showed how rivalry can be put to one side this month when they launched their clubs’ new community scheme in partnership with the Scottish FA.
Big Hearts Community Trust and the Hibernian Foundation coaches will work with the Scottish FA, and City of Edinburgh Council, to produce more grassroots footballing opportunities in the city.
Praising the move, Hearts goalkeeper Ridgers said: “Grassroots football is where it all begins and it is good to see my club working with Hibs and the Scottish FA to make sure kids have as many opportunities to play the game as possible.”
Hibs midfielder Stevenson, who played a Scottish FA grassroots midnight league when he was a boy, added: “There is good work being done at grassroots in the communities across Edinburgh and this new partnership will help that.”
The Scottish FA has provided funding to employ two community coaches at the capital city’s SPL clubs, who will work alongside Scottish FA and City of Edinburgh Council development officer Chris Roberts to deliver grassroots programmes in local communities.
Alan White, of Hearts, and Willie Kirk, of Hibs, are now in these new posts.
The move is part of the Scottish FA’s aim to increase the number of people playing the game as part of the strategic plan Scotland United -A 20:20 Vision.
The Scottish FA’s head of regional development Andrew Gould said: “We are delighted to be in a position to employ two additional partnership posts with Hearts and Hibs to increase our coverage of grassroots football in Edinburgh.
“It is an exciting development which will hopefully see more people playing the game and reaping the benefits of it.”
Image courtesy of the Scottish FA.