Steven Naismith urges Hearts to be brave against Hibs and unlock 'intimidating' weapon for derby boost

The Hearts boss has sent a message to his stars ahead of kick-off against Hibs.
Hearts head coach Steven NaismithHearts head coach Steven Naismith
Hearts head coach Steven Naismith

Steven Naismith has told his stars that picking the right moments to take derby risks can unlock big Hearts rewards as they prepare to face Hibs.

It could be the final Edinburgh derby of the season, and this clash could go a way to defining whether there is a fourth league encounter. The visitors are chasing down a top six spot while the hosts sit 11 points clear in third spot, despite a 5-0 loss to Rangers on Saturday.

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Before that, the Tynecastle side had won eight straight and confidence remains from that impressive run. They now have the chance to claim another bout of bragging rights, having dramatically edged Hibs out 1-0 at Easter Road in December.

Naismith doesn't expect Nick Montgomery's side to set up base in their own half in front of a packed crowed in Gorgie, and that may provide chances for Hearts to strike telling blows. The head coach said: "A lot of the games recently have been against teams that have sat in, that will be different - Hibs will come to attack and that helps with that.

"It’s making choices when you have the ball and not being safe in possession. You have to have risk to get opportunities and we have done it at right times in the last couple of months but you do need to give the fans something to get behind and make the atmosphere good because it can be an intimidating one and we can use that to our advantage."

The other derby at Tynecastle this season was a 2-2 draw back in October, before December's Hearts win. Entertainment was provided in different styles but he expects both sides to share similar goals heading into battle.

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Naismith added: "I think the two derbies so far have been entertaining in different ways. The last one lacked a lot of quality but both teams probably had opportunities to have good attacks.

"The first one was very open. We probably shot ourselves in the foot with a small period of that. It's two teams that want to have possession, two teams that want to attack. I'd imagine it will be an entertaining game.

"They want to try and have possession, they are really expansive, and they've got pace at the top end of the pitch - they've got quality as well. I don't think it will be much different to what we've seen most of the season from them."

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