Robbie Neilson today warned Hibs they must handle a totally different atmosphere when they return to Tynecastle tomorrow.
The Hearts coach was in the directors’ box as the Easter Road club beat St Johnstone in last week’s League Cup semi-final. Tomorrow, they visit Hearts in the Scottish Cup and Neilson knows there will be a different ambience around the ground.
Around 13,000 Hibs fans dominated Tynecastle against St Johnstone but tomorrow will see three quarters of the stadium clad in maroon. Both clubs know winning this season’s only Edinburgh derby will secure a quarter-final place and Neilson is confident with the Hearts support behind him and his team.
“I was there last week and there was a lot of green, whereas usually it’s maroon,” he said. “Hibs brought a great support and that helped them. It was a huge atmosphere. St Johnstone had 3500 fans and Hibs had the rest of the ground. I think that atmosphere helped them but it will be a different story tomorrow.
“Playing in front of 13,000 of your own fans is totally different to 13,000 opposition fans. Yes, Hibs had a good result to win 2-1 but it will be a different day tomorrow.”
Neilson also noted the contrasting styles of the two teams and outlined his belief that Hearts can emerge victorious. “It’s two good teams. Hibs are a really good passing team, they play a diamond in midfield, they get a lot of possession and they get their full-backs high,” he continued.
“We play a different style of football. We have a lot more athletic players, with a lot of power and a lot of pace. We also have good passers of the ball and we’ll have a huge crowd backing us. We go into the game with full confidence we can get a result.”