The Hibs players couldn’t have given any more than they did at Tynecastle yesterday.
They were right up for the game and thoroughly deserved a replay. The approach was how it should always be in a derby – fully committed. Hearts tried to play a bit of football, but I felt, in light of the conditions and the pitch, Neil Lennon got his tactics spot on because we pretty much stopped them stamping their authority on the match. We looked the more determined side.
Even though Hearts were going into the game on a high, I wasn’t surprised we made it such a tight match. They had done well in their previous two games but the derby is a totally different ball game. First and foremost, it’s about battling – you’ve got to earn the right to play football. I thought our experience of the fixture shone through at times because the Hearts players seemed to want a bit more time on the ball, which is something you rarely get in this game.
However, I’m sure the new boys in their side will now be better equipped for the replay, which is why I won’t be going overboard about our chances. I genuinely can’t call how it’s going to pan out. Hearts didn’t play well yesterday but they’ll be confident they can play a lot better than that in the replay.
I think every Hibs fans would have taken a home replay against Hearts to set up a quarter-final against Ayr or Clyde, though. It was a good weekend all round for Hibs, because things went for us in the league as well, with Dundee United getting hammered by Falkirk. I didn’t expect that result but hopefully it dents United’s confidence and takes the sting out of their challenge.
On the other side of the coin, we need to be wary of Falkirk coming into things. We can’t get too carried away by the results of other teams because first and foremost we need to take care of our own business. There’ll be a lot of hype about the cup replay but before that we need to make sure we’re totally focused on beating Raith Rovers on Saturday. That’ll be a tricky game because it’s John Hughes’ first match in charge of them.
In the context of what we need to achieve this season, the game at Stark’s Park is more important than the Hearts game.