FORMER Hearts star Alan Maybury today insisted he was ready for an Edinburgh derby day debut second time around – in the green and white of Hibs having become Easter Road boss Pat Fenlon’s seventh signing of the summer.
Maybury finally put pen-to-paper on a one-year deal having spent more than a month with Fenlon’s squad during which he featured in all pre-season games. Negotiations dragged on too long for the defender, who turned 34 on Wednesday, to play on the opening day of the season but now he faces a baptism of fire against his old club tomorrow.
But, the much-travelled former Republic of Ireland ace declared, he’ll be much better prepared this time round than when he ran out at Easter Road for his second match for Hearts only to find his side a goal down in just 20 seconds.
He recalled: “I knew a few of the Hibs boys, I was chatting to the likes of Grant Brebner and Nick Colgan in the tunnel. I didn’t know what to expect and in 20 seconds I was blown away as Ulises de la Cruz scored. The whole place was rocking. I’d only just come from reserve team football in England and it was all a huge difference.
“But by the time the second one came around I knew what it as all about and what to expect, how you approach them, how you conduct yourself in them . De la Cruz scored again and Hibs won 2-1 that day but there were a few derbies to remember, a 4-4 draw and Hearts had a 5-1 win at Tynecastle. I won a few, lost a few but they were always great occasions to play in, I really enjoyed them.”
Maybury insisted he has no worries about what he might face tomorrow, poiniing out that it’s now many years since he played for Hearts, his focus now firmly on the fresh start he sees Hibs hopefully making as boss Pat Fenlon takes charge for his first full season.
He said: “There might be a few boos. If you play well you will be all right, if you don’t then you won’t. It’s all black and white but it’s a good game to be involved in. It’s a long time since I played for Hearts, I’ve been at a number of other clubs since and I don’t think I’ve ever been a fans’ favourite because of where I play position-wise.
“I think most fans will appreciate I have always given everything. This is a great opportunity, a club like this with the facilities they have and what they are trying to do here. It’s a new era with the manager trying to start things afresh. There’s been a big turnover during the summer, he’s trying to change the way of thinking, how you approach things, trying to get the place up and running.”
Hibs’ Scottish Cup hammering by Hearts only three months ago will be uppermost in the minds of both sets of fans but, Maybury insisted, he and his new team-mates are not viewing tomorrow as an opportuniity for revenge.
He said: “I was no connected with the club but there’s enough who were and there’s a steely determination to say that cannot happen again.
“There’s different people come in and we want to move this club on.”