SAM NICHOLSON admits everyone wants an Edinburgh derby to emerge from Monday’s Scottish League Cup quarter-final draw.
Hearts and Hibs are both in the hat and Nicholson feels both sets of fans are desperate for the clubs to be drawn together since they cannot meet in the league this season.
Hearts beat Kilmarnock 3-2 in the third round on Wednesday evening whilst Hibs ended Aberdeen’s 100 per cent domestic record with a 2-0 win at Easter Road. With Hearts in the Premiership and Hibs in the Championship, a cup tie is the only chance of an Edinburgh derby this year.
Celtic, St Johnstone, Dundee United, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Ross County and Morton are the other teams through to the quarter-finals. Nicholson believes people in the Capital will only have eyes on Hearts and Hibs to see if they are paired together. “I think everyone would fancy an Edinburgh derby,” said Nicholson. “Hibs are doing well this season and we’ve had an all right season, apart from the three league games we lost. So it would be good to get Hibs for the fans of both sides.
“We just have to take it game by game and deal with whatever is out in front of us. Every team we could get is going to be hard so we need to be ready.”
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson is eager to secure a home match regardless of the opposition. “I want a home tie. I know everyone says that, but it’s true,” he said. “You want to play at home, be the favourites and hopefully get through. It’s a great opportunity to get to a semi-final.”
Nicholson scored Hearts’ winner at Rugby Park in the second minute of stoppage-time to secure a dramatic win. The victory also lifts confidence levels within the Tynecastle squad ahead of tomorrow’s league visit to Celtic Park.
“It was a bit of a freakish goal. When the ball went over my head I was just going to follow it in but it fell to me and luckily I put it away because I normally miss them,” smiled the winger. “It was brilliant to score the winner right in front of our fans.
“It was great to get a win because the last few games hadn’t gone the way we had wanted. We showed good spirit because after a couple of defeats it’s hard to get back into winning ways. We’ve lost a couple of goals but we have ended up getting into the next round.
“I suppose it gives us a lift going into Saturday but Celtic a good side anyway and we know they are going to be up for it.”