Grant Holt today warned Capital rivals Hearts that Hibs can turn in an even better performance when they meet again in their William Hill Scottish Cup replay at Easter Road on Wednesday week.
The veteran striker believes the Tynecastle side were taken by surprise by the work-rate of Neil Lennon’s players as Edinburgh’s big two battled out a no-scoring draw in their fifth-round tie in Gorgie.
While Hibs boss Lennon believes his side – the cup holders – may now enjoy a slight advantage in being at home, Holt insisted the pressure remains on Hearts, the Premier League club up against a Championship side
He said: “We went in to this as underdogs, as the Championship team – that’s all I heard.
“However, we can play anyone. We’re not fussed who we play. We know the qualities we have. We’re a good side. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing.
“We don’t give up, we don’t stop running, we work hard – and that’s probably what’s surprised Hearts as much as anything. How hard we work as a group.
“I don’t think there is ever a driving seat in a derby. I have been at places and been home and away and it’s no different, really.
“You go there with the same mindset that we came into this game with – to win a game of football. I don’t think there are any favourites. I just think whoever is better on the day will win it.”
Holt, though, was of the opinion he and his team-mates can produce a better display on their own turf, claiming neither side would have been happy with the poor state of the Tynecastle pitch. He said: “I think we can play better. I don’t think we were really at it. We couldn’t pass the ball as well as we would like, it was a scrappy game.”
A scrap was certainly what the latest Capital derby was although Holt admitted he’d relished the occasion, his first match against Hearts, both on the pitch and his running verbal battle with Hearts fans.
He said: “You’ve got to enjoy it, If you don’t enjoy a derby then you shouldn’t bother playing football. You have to embrace it.
“The fans have had a day out and a had a few beers so they can say exactly what they want to say. I always get stick and abuse and I was unfortunate at the end not to stick it down their throats.
“Normally that’s what happens, but it’s football. If someone shouts at me, I’ll shout at someone else. As everyone keeps telling me, I’m very thick-skinned and big boned. I can take it.
“It’s just football. I just take it as a laugh and a joke. As long as there is no malice involved in anything, too often I think too much is made of stuff and you can’t really have a laugh and a joke.
“It is still going to be heated but I think you have to enjoy and embrace it for what it is.
“On the day, I thought we probably edged it but a draw was fair. It is about getting the result. I don’t think that pitch is designed to play good football on – there’s sand everywhere. It was like playing golf out there. There were times we were trying to play passes and it was getting stuck under our feet.
“We have John McGinn and James Keatings who like to run with the ball and you can’t do that.”