John McGinn has thrown down the gauntlet to Hearts after claiming Hibernian have been the best team in Edinburgh for the past few seasons.
Hearts manager Craig Levein provoked a furious response from opposite number Neil Lennon in January after claiming a 1-0 win in the Scottish Cup would “restore the natural order” in the Edinburgh derby.
Despite that win, it is Lennon’s side who have performed better in the Ladbrokes Premiership this season, currently sitting seven points ahead of their city rivals, and Hibs midfielder McGinn thinks they have the bragging rights.
“Over the past few seasons, I think we have proven that we have been the top team in Edinburgh,” McGinn said.
“I know Craig Levein came out and said ‘natural order’ but we will assess that natural order on 14 May and see who’s on top.
“I think Hearts need to catch us up and we’re very aware of that.
“We know if we slack off they will be on us, but we want to look up and show that we are the top team in Edinburgh.
“We will have the opportunity to prove that at Easter Road and over the course of the season.”
Hibs have exceeded expectations so far this season to sit fourth in the table after an impressive 2-1 win away at Rangers last time out, and they can gain further ground on second-placed Aberdeen when they host the Dons this weekend.
European football at the end of the campaign, McGinn says, would be a huge achievement in their first season back in the top flight.
He said: “For a newly-promoted side - and everyone just assumes it’s Hibs and we will be in the top six - over the course of the season we have really impressed.
“If you strip everything back we have been unfortunate in a few games as well, so we are determined to first and foremost get the top six spot, and then build on that.
“If we can get Hibs into European football it would be massive for everyone involved.
“In three years to win the cup, get promoted and hopefully get European football it would be a special spell for the club.”