Craig Levein has given an emphatic thumbs-up to a Scottish Cup tie between Hearts and Hibs at Tynecastle for the third successive year.
Yesterday’s fourth round draw paired the Edinburgh clubs together yet again and Levein is excited about the prospect.
The tie is scheduled to take place on January 20, just over three weeks after Hearts host Hibs in the Premiership.
In seasons 2015/16 and 2016/17, Hibs knocked their city rivals out of the Scottish Cup in fifth-round replays at Easter Road following draws in the original games at Tynecastle. This year they meet one round earlier and Levein hopes Hearts will be in a strong position to gain some revenge.
“I’m looking forward to it, it’s a brilliant draw,” he said. “The cup draws have kept the Edinburgh derbies alive in recent years. From my point of view, it’s a home tie so that’s a big thing. We’re really pleased with that.
“I think we’ll have more players back available and hopefully we’ll have had a few good results by then. Then we can feel a wee bit more confident. There might be a possibility that we’ll have one or two extra players in.
“We’ve got Hibs in the league before then so that just adds a little bit of spice. It’s a massive game for us and the fans will be delighted. Once I saw it was a home tie, I felt even better about it.”
The cup tie will be the first game back after a short winter break for Premiership teams. Levein insisted that doesn’t present any problems. “It’s the same for both teams. There isn’t any advantage for either side so I don’t think that’s an issue for any team,” he added.
• Hearts players will attend the Save The Children store on Edinburgh’s Dalry Road on Tuesday to film a challenge to promote Christmas Jumper Day. Both the club and the charity, whose name adorns the front of Hearts’ shirts, are keen to celebrate their partnership.
Players are expected to be put through a good-natured exercise in keeping with the Christmas Jumper theme.