Hibs believe they can beat Hearts says Lee Johnson as he makes 'bridging the gap' vow

Lee Johnson has admitted Hibs have to bridge the gap to Hearts – but insisted his players believe they can take the bragging rights in the first Edinburgh derby of the season.

Easter Road is the venue for the first Scottish Premiership meeting of the 2022/23 campaign and while the teams played out a goalless draw at the same venue in February, Robbie Neilson’s side recorded a league victory at Tynecastle and semi-final success at Hampden.

Johnson, who played in the powderkeg fixture as a player in maroon, is only too aware of how big a game it is for those of a green and white persuasion.

Hide Ad

"It should be a big atmosphere, big day, and it was nice to get a win on the first day but we want to make sure we perform really, really well in this too,” he told Sky Sports.

"I'm well-versed in the pressure of big games and you've got to create the environment, the vibe of belief, and positivity, and then from that place, players can bring out their best.

"If we get good support from the terraces which I think we will – we certainly have had so far – then I think we can really take the game to them."

Hide Ad

There are several new faces in the Hibs squad including some who will be making their derby debut but Johnson is confident his players can step up on the day, as he challenged his team to bring their best.

"We were too far off Hearts last season statistically and in terms of all the data we look at, and we need to bridge the gap, so it's a big test for our squad,” he continued.

Hide Ad
Lee Johnson insists Hibs have to bridge the gap to Hearts

"I believe we're in a good place and I think we've got threats. It’s two contrasting styles in terms of playing philosophy but I think it will lend itself well to a really good game.

Hide Ad

"We do believe we can win, there's no doubt in that. We work hard to perform, to be fit, to be organised, to be cohesive, and when you step over the white line as a player, that's when you have to produce.

"The best players can bring their best when it matters most, and it's going to matter most on Sunday."