Kevin McHattie admitted today that Hearts simply can’t allow Hibs to relegate them in the forthcoming Edinburgh derby.
Results between now and then could conspire to hand the Easter Road club the chance to send their Edinburgh rivals down at Tynecastle on Sunday week, but McHattie is adamant Hearts won’t let it happen. Facing a 21-point gap at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership, Hearts’ relegation to the Championship is all but certain and could be confirmed even before the derby kicks off. Hibs have sold out their allocation of around 3500 tickets for Tynecastle in anticipation of a powder-keg fixture and the chance to confirm Hearts’ fate.
McHattie defiantly suggested that he and his colleagues would raise their game to ensure that nightmare scenario does not unfold. “We can’t let them send us down. No chance,” said the left-back. “It obviously wouldn’t be a good scenario.
“Hopefully we can get a victory on Friday against Dundee United and then stop that from happening when we play Hibs. If we lose on Friday, all the boys will be up for it against Hibs. We tend to turn it on in the big games a lot better than against your St Mirrens and that. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a victory in the derby.”
Hearts manager Gary Locke has been reluctant to discuss the possibility of his team being sent down by their Capital neighbours. For the moment, all thoughts are focused on the Dundee United match.
McHattie feels a derby which could potentially relegate Hearts would take on massive importance. “It would be like a cup game but I think we would have a good chance,” he continued. “The gaffer will be aware of the situation and he won’t want that to happen either. It hasn’t been discussed so far. All our concentration is on Friday’s game. We’re looking forward to that match.”