Callum Paterson: Hearts win will intensify Hibs’ fears

The Hearts players were in relaxed mood at Riccarton ahead of the derby

The Hearts players were in relaxed mood at Riccarton ahead of the derby

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Callum Paterson believes the pressure is all on Hibs in Sunday’s Edinburgh derby because Hearts’ motivation lies in trying to silence their rivals’ gloating.

The teenager, below, said today that he and his colleagues would thrive in the tense atmosphere as they fight relegation and claimed their recent derby record means Hibs are underdogs.

Hearts won the first two of this season’s three derbies so far but lost the last one 2-1 at Easter Road in January. They have only lost once to Hibs at Tynecastle in the last five years and will aim to maintain that record as they try to avoid being relegated by their city neighbours.

Should St Mirren take at least a point from Inverness Caledonian Thistle tomorrow, Hibs will be able to relegate Hearts by winning on Sunday. Defeat for the Paisley club would mean Hearts could not be sent down by Hibs, therefore Hearts must match St Mirren’s result to postpone their relegation until after the weekend.

Paterson is confident of taking something from Hibs. He spoke defiantly about spoiling any celebrations of his club’s imminent slide into the Championship and claimed that the Easter Road club could be dragged into the play-off battle if they lose on Sunday.

“If you go on derby results previous to this one, they don’t stand a great chance of beating us really. Hopefully we can spoil their party,” he said. “Derbies take care of themselves. There is no real preparation for a game like this. You just go in and play your hardest knowing it means the most to everybody. Hibs aren’t doing great at the moment and if we beat them at the weekend then they aren’t too far ahead of everyone else [at the bottom] in the league table. They’ll need to be on their game to beat us and get themselves out of the situation they’re in.

“We’ve beaten them and they’ve beaten us this season but the games have been close. There haven’t been many goals. Everyone here will be focused on winning. The tension will suit Hearts because we’re not playing to survive in the league, really. We know we just need to beat Hibs and they will be looking over their shoulder at the drop. The pressure will be more on them than it is on Hearts.”

Hearts manager Gary Locke wants a victory to repay the fans for investing hard-earned cash to keep their club alive. “It would be great to get a win for them,” he said. “We’ve not had a lot to smile about this season, there’s no doubt about that, but if we could get a victory over Hibs, it would keep our supporters happy and that’s the most important thing.

“There are not many fans who would do what ours have done, which is to dip into their pockets consistently to keep the club alive. That’s one thing that everyone here appreciates. Our supporters are the reason that we’re all standing here today.

“Of course we want to pay the fans back. Like any derby, a win here is great for the supporters. It looks like it’s going to be a sell-out, so it’s a great game for players to be involved. If we do play well enough, we know we can win it.”

Meanwhile, creditors of Ukio Bankas were meeting today to vote on selling the bank’s 29.9 per cent shareholding in Hearts to Ann Budge’s BIDCO company. A creditors’ meeting at UBIG will now take place on April 7.