Michael Weir: Hibs have given United renewed hope

Neil Lennon cuts a dejected figure
Neil Lennon cuts a dejected figure
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Saturday’s result was an unexpected setback in our bid to win the title.

I think everybody at Hibs would have anticipated beating Ayr. I thought after moving eight points clear we would kick on and turn the screw, but unfortunately we’ve given Dundee United a glimmer of hope.

The only positive from the weekend is that we fought back to get something out of the game, but the result just reinforces that we can’t take it for granted that we’ve already won promotion. There’s still a lot of hard work ahead before we can start thinking about the Premiership.

Instead of plain sailing towards the top flight, it looks like it’s going to be a rocky ride. After getting back on track against Raith, United will feel they’re still in it. They won’t have expected us to slip up, so they’ve definitely come out the weekend as the happier team.

We now have a wee break from the league to focus on the Scottish Cup showdown with our city rivals, and, in my view, that’s no bad thing for Hibs. They’ll be really excited about going to Tynecastle.

The results of the two sides over the past week hasn’t changed my outlook on this game. It’s an Edinburgh derby between two good sides – anything can happen. I’ve seen it so many times where you try and predict a derby and it goes the other way.

Hearts are the Premiership team and they are starting to hit form under Ian Cathro, so they will go in as favourites. But make no mistake, the Hibs players will be relishing it. We’ve got a lot of experience in the side and most of the squad have already beaten Hearts and won the Scottish Cup in the last year, so nobody in a green-and-white shirt will be daunted by it, and neither will Neil Lennon.

Hibs have won a lot of big games against good sides over the past couple of seasons, and that’s got to bode well. We’ve not been intimidated by anybody, and I don’t see any reason that should change this weekend. Yes, we’ll respect Hearts, but if our big players are on their game, we’re well capable of repeating our fifth-round triumph against them a year ago.

If we can do that, it will give us a major lift as we bid to seal promotion.