Hibs midfielder Scott Allan has warned league leaders Hearts that Alan Stubbs’ men will be a different proposition on Saturday to the one they defeated at Tynecastle in August.
The unbeaten Gorgie side edged out their city rivals 2-1 on that occasion, a superb strike by Sam Nicholson and a Prince Buaben penalty earning Hearts the bragging rights despite a late consolation by striker Farid El Alagui.
Allan was a virtual spectator that day, replacing Danny Handling from the substitutes’ bench with little more than five minutes remaining as Hibs fought to salvage a point.
Despite the Hibees trailing their arch-rivals by 19 points, Allan believes he and his team-mates will be a far more difficult nut to crack this time round.
“We’ve put three wins together so obviously it’s a good tester for us on Saturday,” said Allan, instrumental in the Easter Road side’s 4-0 rout of Rangers last weekend.
“Hearts have been the most consistent team in the league, getting results at difficult grounds and they’ve built on that. But, to be honest, records can be broken and I fancy us to go there and get something.
“We want to put on a good performance, get the win this time and be the first team to beat them.
“We’re starting to put some good performances and results together because earlier in the season we were playing some good football but weren’t coming away with the results, so it’s starting to click into place. If we manage to get back-to-back wins against the two teams above us then that would be a real confidence booster going into the second half of the season.”
Allan says there will be a real desire within the visitors’ dressing-room come Saturday, Stubbs’ players keen to atone for the last derby in October when Alim Ozturk’s last-gasp wonder strike from 40 yards cancelled out Dominique Malonga’s first-half effort to deny Hibs victory at Easter Road.
“It’s a testament to Hearts and has summed up their season really,” Allan said. “Even when we thought we were going to nick something that day, they managed to get something. But football lasts for 90 minutes and it was some strike.
“A lot of their squad was together during the hard times of last season so they’ve adjusted the best in the Championship and that’s why they’re top of the league.
“But we just need to look after ourselves and take every game as it comes and try and get the three points. We can’t wait for Saturday. It’s a scalp for anybody if a team has gone unbeaten the whole season so far but it’s a derby game and that puts the onus on us even more.”