'A complete shambles': Journalists' predictions for Hearts-Hibs Edinburgh derby
Our online team try to correctly guess the result from Thursday's Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle.
Craig Fowler: When initially asked for my prediction for Thursday's game, I was swaying towards a home victory. Considering Hearts have won only two games all season, this may have seemed a little naive. But the high-intensity, cup-game atmosphere which engulfs the derby seemed like the perfect opportunity for the underperforming stars to show more than what they had in previous weeks. Then I read that Daniel Stendel hasn't been in Edinburgh since Saturday, won't take training before the game and decided against bringing the players in on Christmas Day because he's "superstitious". It was a stark reminder that Hearts have been a complete shambles from top to bottom this season and therefore I cannot, with any sort of conviction, pick them to win any match. Prediction: Hibs win
Anthony Brown: A game that could easily go either way. Hibs have generally been in better form since their managerial change and carry the greater goal threat at present. In that regard, much will depend on whether key men like Florian Kamberi, Martin Boyle and Scott Allan (three players who have generally toiled to make an impact in previous derbies at Tynecastle) can replicate the level of form they showed against Aberdeen earlier this month. Hearts are in a grim state but invariably find a way to rise to the derby occasion, especially at Tynecastle. If they approach the match the way they did their last home game against Celtic, they will have every chance of making things difficult for their city rivals. Prediction: Draw
Joel Sked: Now, if you take into consideration where both clubs are, on and off the pitch, connection with the fans, stability and a bunch of other factors it points to an away win, or at the very least for the visitors a draw. In addition, I'm not one to buy into the form book being dismissed through an open window when it comes to a derby. HOWEVER, there is no expectation on Hearts. And it's the Edinburgh derby. For that reason... Hearts win.
Patrick McPartlin: Neither team is coming into this game on the best of runs - Hearts with those three consecutive defeats leaving them marooned at the foot of the table while Hibs were brushed aside all too easily by Celtic and then Rangers. However, form goes out the window when it comes to derbies. I expect Hearts to raise their game despite a handful of injuries and low morale, but I also suspect Jack Ross, who will have to shuffle his Hibs pack with Ryan Porteous suspended, will be looking for a reaction from his players. We’ve seen what Hibs are capable of against Aberdeen and Motherwell and although it won’t be easy, I think the visitors might sneak their second Tynecastle win of the calendar year. Prediction: Hibs win
Mark Atkinson: I think Hearts, finally, will be kicked into life by their predicament at the foot of the Premiership table and we may see a much-improved performance from them. There have been glimmers of progress under Stendel in the past two matches. They don't have enough firepower to truly punish teams, however. Hibs, on the other hand, have goals in them, but without Porteous in their defence, I can't see them keeping a clean sheet. Derbies at this time of year are often grisly affairs and I suspect we might be served up an ugly football match. Prediction: Hearts 1-1 Hibs.
Neil McGlade: Fortune favours the brave in these high-octane derby fixtures where, generally, Hearts have come out on top in recent history. However, it really is difficult to make a case for a home victory on Boxing Day given they've managed two measly wins in the Premiership all season, albeit one was against their city rivals. The Tynecastle club hit rock bottom on Saturday when they were beaten by Hamilton Accies so, technically, the only way is up. However, this is a side in complete disarray and nothing short of a complete shambles. Hibs, on the other hand, do look better equipped to take the points back across the city with them but I'm still not convinced they have it in them to see the job through. Prediction: Draw