After a testing couple of weeks, Hibs can head to Tynecastle in confident mood tomorrow after getting back on track against Ross County at the weekend.
County were probably the perfect opponents for us at that point because they had been struggling. I was always confident we’d win the game because I felt the Aberdeen defeat was a one-off caused primarily by fatigue after the Rangers game.
When County went 1-0 up, it could have become a difficult day for Hibs but we rallied well. We played some really good football and could have scored a few more goals. We thoroughly deserved the victory, and it’s set us up nicely for tomorrow.
Hearts were beginning to close the gap on us in the league, so to go five points clear of them again is a huge boost as it means that even if we lose they can’t go above us. We can’t go into it thinking that way, though, because a derby is about getting the bragging rights rather than worrying about league positions. Yes, it’s always nice to be above your city rivals, but ultimately you just want to ensure you win a derby – or certainly not lose it.
Hearts’ victory over Celtic will have given them a real boost and they’ll want to put on another performance in front of their new stand. They’ve also got a slightly more settled side now than earlier in the season so it should be a much tougher game for Hibs. It’s all set up to be a really good game, so hopefully it proves to be a good spectacle.
Oli Shaw’s scored a couple of big goals recently but I’d be inclined to go with experience tomorrow because we’re going to be given a serious test of our mettle. I won’t be worried if Oli starts because he looks a promising striker, but I feel experience is one of the most important factors in this fixture because it can get extremely physical.
I think it’s a flip-of-a-coin match – I genuinely can’t see a favourite. I was more confident about Hibs’ prospects earlier in the season but Craig Levein’s done a good job of sorting Hearts out, so it will be a really big test for us. It we’re at our best, however, we’ve certainly got the quality to win the game.