Jack Ross backs Martin Boyle and Josh Doig to shine in derby as Hibs boss makes strong Edinburgh claim
Jack Ross has hailed the ‘collaborative thinking’ between Hearts and Hibs as the Easter Road boss spoke of the importance of both teams continuing to aim high.
Ross is desperate for his team to be top dogs in the Capital but he also recognises the importance of the city’s two Scottish Premiership clubs performing to their best and with the rivals currently occupying the top two spots in the table separated only by goal difference, he hopes both clubs continue to do the city proud.
“In my time we have had two derbies in front of crowds and it doesn’t matter where the clubs are or how they are performing for the intensity of the fixture,” Ross said ahead of the short trip across town.
“When I took the Hibs job I think both teams were a point off the bottom; since then we have kicked on, and look at how Hearts have responded. It’s indicative of both clubs going in the right direction.
"To be fair to both clubs’ hierarchies, I think they understand the importance of collaborative thinking and trying to make Edinburgh strong in footballing terms.
“We want to be the best in the city but we also understand the importance of having two really strong teams in the city.
“At the moment we’ve got that and it’s healthy if it continues to be the case.”
Ross is delighted to have Martin Boyle available for Sunday's encounter despite an injury scare on international duty with Australia. The in-form winger, who was named the top flight’s player of the month for August, scored a brace on his last visit to Hearts.
“He is a matchwinner for us, he has shown that consistently,” the Hibs head coach said.
"You need them in your team. It makes me smile when people point to ‘one-man’ or ‘two-man’ teams. Just about every club in the country – and we talk about it at national level too – has talismans.
“We are fortunate to have more than one matchwinner but Martin certainly fits that category. His goals and assists record last season and this season is brilliant.
"He is enjoying his football and continued his goalscoring streak in the Australia game.
“He has had that feeling of playing and scoring at Tynecastle and winning and I think he wants that again.”
There will also be a first taste of an Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle Park for Josh Doig, who left Hearts for Hibs as a youngster and has enjoyed a meteoric rise at Easter Road. Despite the intensity of the fixture Ross insists the 19-year-old won’t be fazed.
"We knew earlier in the season when supporters started to return that it was going to be a different challenge for Josh,” Ross explained.
"It was well documented that he broke through in a season that was unique, hopefully, and we won’t experience again. Thus far he has handled it and responded to the change very well.
"Josh has shown consistently his ability to deal with new challenges so I haven’t given it a moment’s thought; he is more than capable of dealing with it.
"I treat him like an established first-team player because that’s what he is. It's the kind of occasion and environment that all players want to play in.”