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Mixu’s “Unbelievable” Derby Day Memories

An Edinburgh derby win that will be forever treasured by Hibees and one that’ll live long in the memory of Mixu Paatelainen.

Pictured doing acrobatics, dancing, and with the match-ball proudly aloft above his head, Mixu was the star of the show as Alex McLeish’s side produced a stunning derby demolition under the lights at Easter Road beating Hearts 6-2.

On the night Mixu labelled it as “unbelievable” and 22 years on still feels the same emotion.

Yet that derby day could’ve been oh so different. If it wasn’t for the strength and resilience of the group, they could have struggled after going 1-0 down early on to an Andy Kirk goal.

“There was a short moment of real shock and disappointment for us when Hearts scored their goal,” said the former Finnish striker.

“We had mentally strong characters in the team, experience in the right places, so it didn’t phase us too much. We believed deep down that we could come back and win the game.

“Whoever scores the first goal has the upper hand and the derby matches are like cup finals, like everyone says, so you want the upper hand.

“If there’s a setback like we had early doors, then you have to believe in your game plan, remember the game plan, and keep executing it; that’s what we did.

“We were fortunate that we’d turned the game round by half-time and then went on from there.”

Mixu then, in his words, scored some “sniffer dog goals” and turned into a real fox in the box, setting himself on his way to write his name into Edinburgh Derby history books.

That goal spurred on the Hibees who were hungry for the victory, and the big striker bagged two more alongside strikes from David Zitelli, John O’Neil, and Russell Latapy.

“We want seven” was the chant ringing around Easter Road as the home fans urged McLeish’s men to reach another milestone.

That wasn’t to be, but as aforementioned, history was still made that day. Mixu Paatelainen becoming the first Hibs player to score a hat-trick in the fixture since Pat Quinn in the 4-1 win at Tynecastle in 1967.

“It was tremendous, fantastic, to score a hat-trick in such a game,” smiled the former Hong Kong manager. “The feeling after was unbelievable.”

“We did a little jiggle with Franck (Sauzée) after the goal; it was great. We used to do it after training in the shower every now and then, just being fools, messing around.

“After the game it was just brilliant. The fans were superb, absolutely brilliant, and it was even better on a special night like this. It was unbelievable. In the dressing room it was just celebrations, a fantastic feeling. Everyone knew it was a special one.”