Neilson tells Hearts players to ignore derby hype

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson admits there is expectation upon both his side and Sunday's opposition Hibs. Pic: Greg Macvean
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson admits there is expectation upon both his side and Sunday's opposition Hibs. Pic: Greg Macvean
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Robbie Neilson has called on his table-topping Hearts side to maintain cool heads and not allow themselves to be distracted by the hype surrounding this Sunday’s Edinburgh derby.

The Tynecastle team’s steely focus has helped them overcome all obstacles so far to move nine points clear at the top of the table. They head to Easter Road unbeaten after ten league fixtures and as the top-scoring senior side in British football with 31 goals to their credit.

However, they face potentially one of their toughest tests of the season so far this weekend against a Hibs side unbeaten in five games and desperate to show that they are not 14 points inferior to their city rivals. “It’s important that we don’t get caught up in all the razzmatazz, paper talk and television talk,” head coach Neilson told the Evening News. “We need to just concentrate on what we’re going to do.

“There’s a lot of expectation on both teams at the moment . It’ll be the team that keeps their head and sticks to the gameplan that wins on Sunday.”

Back in 2005, Neilson was a player in a Hearts side who had an unbeaten start to the season ended by Hibs at Easter Road on the last Saturday of October. That 2-0 defeat came a week after manager George Burley, who had masterminded a stunning start to the campaign, had been sacked. Neilson refused to entertain any comparisons.

“That was a different team, different club, different manager, different coaching staff,” he said. “It’s not going to have bearing on this game at all.

“Every team wants to be the first team to beat us. That’s been the case all season and it’ll be the same on Sunday. But we’re going there to try and win – we want to continue the momentum of winning all these games. We’ve been trying to do that all season and it will be exactly the same at Easter Road.”