Pat FENLON today admitted he’ll enjoy a derby day win against Hearts – but not half as much as the Hibs fans.
While he has an obvious affection for the Easter Road club, Fenlon accepts it will probably never run as deep as that enjoyed by those who have grown up supporting Hibs all their lives.
But, he insisted, victory would leave all in green and white delighted, from his perspective three vital points to help ease Hibs relegation worries and for the fans the chance to party should they smash Hearts’ unbeaten run of nine derbies.
Asked if he felt he would enjoy such a result as much as those who will cross the city to support Hibs at Tynecastle tomorrow, Fenlon said: “No, I don’t think so.
“You are the manager and have feelings for the club but they have grown up all their lives supporting the club, through the good times and the bad times so it is a completely different scenario.”
And Fenlon insisted he wouldn’t try to “con” the fans by claiming he’d feel exactly the same way as them should Hibs win a derby for the first time in almost three years. He said: “Three points are all that is important to me but supporters enjoy it differently.
“They are the ones that have to go to work and take the flak and they are the ones that can give it out. If you are a supporter of the team winning the game is competely different to when you are a player or a manager.
“I want to win because it’s the next game and three points. By beating Hearts we would give people a bit more pleasure, but from my point-of-view it’s just about winning the match.”
Fenlon has, of course, already sampled the rough end of derby day, losing his first encounter with Hearts 3-1 but today he believes his side, much transformed during the January transfer window with an influx of new signings, is better equipped to deal with the Jambos.
He said: “There’s been a fair turnover of players since and hopefully the result will change as well. I actually don’t think we deserved to lose the last one. I thought we were as good as they were.
“We gave away goals from set pieces and did not create loads of chances but I did not feel we deserved to lose 3-1, that’s for sure.”
Hibs have also been buoyed by clinching a place in the semi-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup while they’ve taken four points in their last two SPL matches, results which, Fenlon believes, has restored some self-belief.
He said: “I think we have been doing all right over the last four or five weeks and we seem to be getting the little breaks, such as the penalty against Ayr, which we might not have got before, things that make you think maybe it’s turning around.
“Talking to supporters and people around the club, I know the current record is disappointing and the overall record is something that needs to be change. That’s the long-term goal, in the short-term it’s to pick up something from the game and hopefully all three points which would be massive in relation to what we are trying to achieve.”