Grant Holt believes Hibs are strong enough to defeat both Celtic and Hearts in their upcoming double-header.
The former Easter Road striker acknowledges that it will take a monumental effort to get through Saturday’s Betfred Cup semi-final against Brendan Rodgers’ all-conquering domestic side and then follow it up with victory in Tuesday’s Edinburgh derby at Easter Road.
However, Holt, who was part of Neil Lennon’s Championship-winning squad last season, feels that the fearless approach which has served Hibs so well in big matches in recent years will serve them well over the coming days.
“It’s two massively tough games but Hibs have got it within them to win both,” the 36-year-old told the Evening News. “They’re very fit and the manager and the rest of the staff will have them in peak condition. They’re more than capable of coping with two big games in the space of a few days. They’ll be extremely difficult games to win but I’m certain they can do it.”
Hibs are set to have a full-strength team on Saturday with the exception of injured centre-backs Liam Fontaine and Darren McGregor. Goalkeeper Ofir Marciano returns to contention following the birth of his child last week as the Easter Road side look to defeat a Celtic side they drew 2-2 with at Parkhead at the end of September.
“You’ve always got a chance in cup matches anyway but, if you look at what Hibs did against Celtic in the league a few weeks ago – nearly breaking their unbeaten run – it just shows you how good, on their day, they can be.
“Celtic have always got a threat and can punish you at any time but Lenny’s been there before and knows what it’s all about.”
Holt, who scored as Hibs defeated Hearts 3-1 in February’s Scottish Cup replay, admits Tuesday’s Edinburgh derby takes on a different dynamic now that the Easter Road side are widely viewed as favourites as a combined result of a seven-game unbeaten run against their city rivals and the fact they have now re-established themselves in the Premiership. “Tuesday’s game is probably a bit different to last year’s because both teams are in the same division,” said Holt. “Last year, everyone saw us as the underdogs because we were in the division below and there was no real expectation on Hibs. But after what we did to them in February, I think it’s heightened expectations on Hibs. The boys will love it, though.”