Scott Robertson insists Hearts and Hibs are far more closely matched in ability than the 14-point gap between the two Edinburgh clubs currently suggests.
The Hibs midfielder praised the table-topping Tynecastle side for the ruthless manner in which they amassed 25 points from a possible 27 in the opening quarter of the campaign despite not always being at their best. The 29-year-old maintains that there was nothing between the teams in the first derby of the season and believes that games such as that, where Hibs felt hard done by at losing 2-1, have summed up the contrasting fortunes of the two sides in the first nine games.
“I’m surprised that gap has opened up after one round of games,” said Robertson. “They have only dropped two points and deserve all the credit in the world for that. Fair play to them. They have beaten every team except Dumbarton, which is brilliant from them. We would have loved to have done the same but have found it a little more difficult to break teams down. That has been our biggest shortfall, I think.
“We lost more ground in the last derby but I don’t think there was anything between the two sides and it’s the games elsewhere that have cost us – Falkirk, Dumbarton, Raith Rovers. We’ve lost a lot of points in those games whereas, in similar situations, Hearts have scraped wins.”
Hibs kick off the second quarter of their campaign with a teatime trip to Livingston today and Robertson remains confident that the gap between the Capital clubs – who meet at Easter Road tomorrow week – will soon start to close when his side find the resolve to grind down plucky opponents the way their city rivals have.
“You can’t tell me Hearts will pick up the same amount of points in the next round of fixtures,” he said. “That would be incredible, really. I see them dropping points. It is just a matter of where and when that comes.
“We are certainly looking to pick up a lot more than 11 points from our next round of games. What we need to do is win the games we have faltered in – I don’t think there has been a game we have been outplayed or dominated in. Yet, we have dropped points.
“So we need to stand up and be counted. You don’t need to play brilliant football to win games, and I think Hearts are probably testament to that. Although they have played well and won four or five-nil in some games, there have been others where they haven’t played so well yet still get three points. I gather against Alloa they didn’t play well but still managed to win the game. I don’t think we have done that once this season.”