BILLY BROWN believes being underdogs at Easter Road suits Hearts perfectly as they seek a League Cup quarter-final win over Hibs which could rekindle their entire season.
The Tynecastle club’s assistant manager feels one break tonight could lead to the win which ends a depressing sequence of results that has left Hearts adrift at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership.
Hearts’ only wins since the 2-1 league victory over Aberdeen in August have come on penalties in previous rounds of the League Cup against Raith Rovers and Queen of the South. They now find themselves facing their Edinburgh neighbours in the League Cup quarter-final.
Brown claimed today that all the pressure is with Hibs because Hearts have been written off in virtually every match since entering administration during the summer. The former Easter Road assistant also warned his old club that they will have to match Hearts’ desire this evening if they want to reach the semi-finals.
“I think our young players will handle this okay, although you never really know till afterwards,” said Brown. “There will be a massive Hearts support there and I just hope the young lads do the fans justice. I’ve never seen any of them collapse under pressure.
“According to the press and the media there are no expectations for tonight. Everyone has us beaten so we’ll see what happens.
“Maybe Hibs underestimated us in the first game earlier this season. I don’t know. I can’t see that in a derby because you shouldn’t be underestimating the opposition. I thought on the day there was hardly anything in the game. We scored a good goal to separate the teams but there wasn’t a lot in it.
“Hibs have got to be up for it. They’re an experienced team with experienced players. The expectations will be high. I would think they must be up for it. Everybody keeps asking me about Hibs because I was there for a short period of time. Hibs aren’t really a concern. I don’t think too much about them.
“Every game we’ve played has been like a cup final, but I wouldn’t think Hibs would look on this game as any less of a cup final than we would. They will be as determined to win this as us.
“I think the fact is we’re due a break and we’re going to get it against somebody. What better night than this to get the break that sets us up for the rest of the season.
“Everybody talks about confidence being gone and things like that. We got a bit of a knock up at Ross County because we were winning that game with 88 minutes gone and lost 2-1. That knocked us a wee bit.
“We had a sending-off at Inverness [for handball] when the ball hit our player’s head. Then we score a winning goal against Dundee United and don’t get it. These things mount up and you think the world is against you, which it isn’t. “Our confidence did take a wee bit of a knock. The St Mirren game was a new ball game for us. Everyone expected us to win that day and I don’t know if that got through to the players. We were well beaten on the day so maybe that knocked their confidence a wee bit more. That happens but we’re professionals.
“It doesn’t matter how old the players are, they’re professional football players and they just have to get on with it.
“We’re due a wee break. In the last two or three weeks the team hasn’t played so well. I knew that would happen before I even came back here. We were always going to have a dip after the early-season euphoria. We’re going to get out of that as quickly as we can.”
Meanwhile, a court hearing due to ratify the bankruptcy of Hearts’ majority shareholder UBIG has been postponed again until tomorrow, although Hearts’ administrators BDO hope to have a CVA proposal drawn up by the end of the week.