Hibs fans’ concerns about the possibility of being forced to play a third derby at Tynecastle this season are highly unlikely to be realised when the post-split fixtures are revealed next week.
The Capital club are anticipating playing just two of their final five matches at home as, by the time the Scottish Premiership splits, they will have had 17 games at Easter Road and 16 away.
On the face of it, identifying two of the three away games Terry Butcher’s side can plan for looks fairly straightforward as they’ve already faced both St Mirren and Ross County twice in Edinburgh already so trips to Paisley and Dingwall would easily correct that current imbalance.
But Sunday’s third Edinburgh derby will mean that Hibs will have played their greatest rivals twice in Gorgie while they’ve also twice travelled to face Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle which, presumably, will mean playing one of those three sides on their home turf for a third time to produce a balanced fixture list of 19 games home and away.
As many Hibs fans see it, such a scenario gives them a one-in-three chance of having to play Hearts at Tynecastle again over the course of the next few weeks, with history showing plenty instances of fixture discrepancies as satisfying every club proves problematic.
However, while SPFL officials are still in discussions with clubs, police and broadcasters as they prepare to unveil the post-split calendar for both halves of the table, the Evening News understands it is highly improbable that Hearts would enjoy home advantage, and the commercial benefits that would bring, for a third time.