ASSISTANT manager Billy Brown today urged Hibs to revitalise their relationship with the club’s fans by beating Hearts at Easter Road on Monday.
Brown, a former long-time No.2 to Jim Jefferies at Hearts, knows only too well the benefits a club can reap from victory in the Edinburgh derby and says the Hibees and recently-appointed manager Pat Fenlon can gain a much-needed lift from victory against their city rivals.
Brown believes gaining three points at the expense of the Jambos would help the club’s players and coaching staff buy “breathing space” with disgruntled supporters.
“What a lift it would be, not just for Pat, but for the supporters as well, if we could get a win on Monday,” said Brown.
“Over the last year-and-a-bit here there hasn’t been a lot to cheer about, and I think a derby win, especially at New Year, would give them a big boost and confidence in Pat, which would make such a big difference to the football club.
“It would give the players a big lift too because winning a derby is a big, big thing. It would give them a wee bit of breathing space with the supporters and it should give the players a massive boost.
“When you win a derby the place is buzzing and if we could get that here we can get the place back on track.”
Brown, a veteran of the fixture from his time as a coach at Tynecastle, stressed the importance of Hibs players retaining their composure in Monday’s match.
“You have to have that desire but be able to keep your composure as well. The first thing you have got to do in any game, and particularly in a derby, is win your individual battles and compete for every ball,” he said.
“There isn’t any respite in a game like this, you have to be up for it for the 90 minutes and you have to compete in every area of the pitch. Unless you do that, you’ll toil, so we have to make sure that’s what that Hibs team do on Monday.”
Brown voiced his admiration for his cross-city rivals, with whom he began the current season before being sacked, with sidekick Jefferies, in August. He believes Hearts players have shown mental toughness in the face of wage delays to post some outstanding performances recently.
“I think the players there that Jim and I brought to the club have a great desire and a will to win,” he said.
“I also think they have the ability to put all their problems behind them when they go out on a Saturday. I didn’t see their game with Aberdeen the other night but their last two performances against Dunfermline and Motherwell were outstanding. I am not too surprised about that. There are boys there with the mentality to come through what’s going on.
“It is sad what is going on. I know the lads and I took them through pre-season training this year. It is sad to see the position some of them are in. But that’s the regime that’s there just now and there is nothing I can do about that, my only interest is getting Hibs back on track.”