Pat FENLON believes there will be double cause for celebration if Hibs can break Hearts’ stranglehold on the Edinburgh derby with a win at Tynecastle on Sunday.
Victory for the Easter Road side would not only smash Hearts’ nine-match run without defeat stretching back almost three years, but drive Hibs seven points clear of basement outfit Dunfermline in the battle to avoid relegation from the SPL.
The Pars will be idle this weekend, their fixture with Celtic having already been played with the Hoops facing Kilmarnock in the final of the Scottish Communities League Cup, leaving Hibs effectively with a “game in hand.”
And Fenlon is determined to make as much use as possible of that fact, insisting all talk of the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen – which will be played at Hampden on Saturday, April 14, with a 12.15pm kick-off – be put on hold as his players concentrate on top-flight survival.
The Hibs boss was hammering that message home today as his squad returned to training in preparation for the trip to Gorgie where Hearts will be favourites to extend their unbeaten run into double figures.
But the quarter-final victory over Ayr United combined with more promising results in the League recently has seen confidence on the rise in the Hibee camp. Fenlon acknowledged the fans were entitled to enjoy the prospect of the club’s first Scottish Cup semi-final in five years and to look forward to the day when he hopes his side will progress to the final itself. However, he is well aware Hibs have a string of highly important matches between now and then, starting with the third Capital derby of the season.
Fenlon, who suffered a 3-1 defeat in his first derby on January 2, said: “It’s a game we are looking forward to. If we can pick up points it would be fantastic as it would move us further away from the bottom of the league and that’s what it is all about.”