Hibs prepared for ‘unpredictable’ Edinburgh derby showdown at Easter Road
From the unpredictability to the need for a “killer mentality”, Hibs are ready to take on Hearts in front of a packed Easter Road.
The second Edinburgh derby of the season quickly approaches Hibs, as they look to reassert themselves as the dominant team in the capital. Hearts have grown exponentially in quality over recent years and were undefeated in all four clashes between the two sides last campaign.
However, with a new season came new opportunities as Scott took the helm and brought together a brand-new team. This has seen a great deal of success so far with Hibs coming out as 1-0 winners in their last meeting at Tynecastle in September. Despite Saturday’s home advantage, Scott is wary of the threat Hearts pose as they look to get revenge.
“It is a difficult one to predict,” Scott stated. “They have altered their shape and system a few times in the last few matches. Their last result was very commendable against Glasgow City for example. They are normally a possession-based team, and they weren’t on that day and they came away with something really good. It is difficult for us to prepare properly so the focus is switched more to ourselves and where we can take our form.”
Clashes between the two sides have never been closer with Saturday’s encounter set to be the tightest match-up yet. Both Hibs and Hearts come into the game with the exact same league record after 12 games with Eva Olid’s side only occupying fourth spot on goal difference.
The duo’s form coming into the fixture is also commendable. Hibs have won seven of their last nine games which has helped to close the gap between themselves and the top three. Six points is now all that separates Scott’s side and SWPL1 champions Glasgow City in third as they grow closer to breaking the monopoly the top three hold on the league. However, in-form striker Jorian Baucom insists the side mustn’t dwell on their long-term goals.
“It’s a tight league across the board where you are a few points away from being in the top three,” she added. “Our main focus is just on Saturday. Of course, you want to look ahead and want to win and get as high as you can in the league but just focusing purely on getting these three points, going step-by-step and improving our game is the main focus right now.”
The importance of the fixture isn’t lost on the Hibs squad with many players in the first team being fans of the club all their life. This has been evident in the build-up to the game according to Baucom with the American insisting that the squad are going into the game with a “killer mentality” in order to see out another victory.
“This is like the biggest game ever,” Baucom explained. “Not that other games are not important, but everyone talks about Hearts and Hibs between fans, family and teammates in the locker room. This is the game you want to perform in, this is the game that you come in with that killer mentality, looking to do whatever it takes to get that win. It will be a special day at Easter Road for sure.”
The attendance for the fixture is once again looking strong. Over 5000 free tickets have been secured for the match thanks to the efforts of Baillie Gifford. With a record derby crowd at Easter Road, it only prompts more excitement for the players and the manager as they look to secure back-to-back victories against Hearts.
“It is great, I have been here before,” Scott said. “The volume and noise that you get behind you can be quite incredible, particularly in the big moments. If you manage to get on top and get some momentum in the game, the noise goes up and it really encourages the players, it draws that little bit more energy out of them. It is a brilliant occasion for the players and for me to be here as well.
“It’s a great credit to Baillie Gifford for allowing both clubs to maximise the opportunity of the event. Both clubs have capitalised really well on the opportunity to give tickets out and create a good crowd and atmosphere for the players. Ultimately, it is just exposing the game to a newer audience. We don’t play in front of these crowds every week so hopefully, we pick up some numbers for these kinds of fixtures and events that both clubs have done really well promoting.”
“It will be exciting,” Baucom added. “Our Hibs fans, the support they give us is unreal and they help women’s football as well. We have about 5,000 fans plus for this Saturday and it is only going to grow. Just to be able to say that we have that many fans for women’s football, it’s a proud moment. You never used to get that back in the day and even doing these media days now, getting advertisements, getting the word out about the game, it is only going to help us grow.”