Sunshine on Keith?

Published: 13 May 2012 09:300 comments

SPORTING brothers will renew rivalries at the home of Scottish football next Saturday.

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THEY have been instrumental in their town's sporting success over the last decade.

But next Saturday the Darling brothers from Selkirk will become the bitterest of rivals.

Rugby team captain Neil has been supporting Hearts since his pre-school days at Lilliesleaf.

And the 29-year-old Jam Tart is preying there won't be any Sunshine on big brother, Keith.

The older Darling sibling, who is a former skipper of Selkirk's football team, believes he is Hibs' biggest fan - even giving his son the middle name of Leith.

The 32-year-old landscape gardener will travel up yet again next weekend from his adopted home in Southampton to cheer on his beloved Hibees.

Keith told the Border Telegraph: "I've been going to watch Hibs with my dad ever since I could walk. We were always a Hibs family but there were a few Jambos working on the farm - Barry Minto and Jackie Johnstone - who converted Neil.

"Neil and I have been at each other ever since we were boys over the Hibs and Hearts thing, but it's been building up more than ever since the semi-finals.

"He hasn't stopped texting or sending Facebook messages with silly comments about Hearts - he even phoned me from the beer tent at Earlston Sevens to sing Hearts songs after they got beat in the semi-finals."

The eldest Darling was instrumental in helping Selkirk FC to East of Scotland promotion five seasons ago.

Arguably his wee brother has enjoyed even more success with the oval ball - leading the Philiphaugh side to the top flight of Scottish rugby.

But it's football that will be on his mind next weekend. Neil said: "My dad and Keith took me to watch Hibs when I was a wee boy but I fell asleep before half time and missed the goals. Barry and Jackie, along with Mrs Hope, the cook at Lilliesleaf Primary School, turned me into a Jambo.

"I had to take my mum to the first derby game as dad and Keith were in the Hibs end and they wouldn't let me go in the other end on my own. My Mum's from Gala so she likes teams in maroon."

Keith, nor his dad or granddad, were born the last time Hibs won the Scottish Cup in 1902.

But Hearts' last triumph is a lot fresher in the mind of Neil. He added: "The final against Gretna was a great day and so was the day after at Tynecastle. I was also at the final in 1998 and at the parade in Edinburgh the following day. I'm looking forward to seeing them win for the third time."

The Scottish Cup final between Hearts of Midlothian and Hibernian is next Saturday at Hampden.

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