Tough Test For Hibs In Derby
Sunday 12th February 2017
Hibs make the cross city trip to Tynecastle for the second year running in the Scottish Cup fifth round and a similar performance to the one which saw them rescue a draw from being 2 behind will be required if they wish to progress to the Cup quarter finals.
Neil Lennon's side are huge underdogs going into the match despite being the current holders of the trophy and know the Jambo's are itching for revenge following their capitulation in last season's tournament.
Tynecastle will be rocking come kick off time and it's likely Hibs will have to play smart as no doubt Ian Cathro will have his side go for the jugular with an intense pace from kick off much like they did in the recent 4-1 demolishing of Magic Hat's miserable Rangers outfit.
Hibees will need to 'keep the heid' especially with the unpredictable Willie Collum in the middle and it's imperative they don't lose possession easily against a side who can take advantage through cheeky chappie diver Jamie Walker.
Last season saw Hibs save their best performances for matches against Premiership opposition and given the lacklustre showing last time out against Ayr United, supporters will be hoping that history repeats itself this time around.
This is the one game both sets of fans are demanding their team wins more than any other this campaign.
The Gorgie followers demand revenge from their outfit having been in a position to make it 115 years in a row for the Easter Road side but managing to screw it up in spectacular style whilst Hibbies desperately don't want to see the Cup ripped from their grasp by their evil foes from the West of the City.
It'll be fascinating, enthralling, intense and one hell of a rip roaring cup tie. That much is for sure.
David Gray:"Hearts being at home probably makes them the favourites, and we`re happy with that. We know we are capable of beating anyone on our day.
"The objective is to get promoted and we know we need to do it this year, but it took us 114 years to win the Scottish Cup and to go and to win it twice, just imagine.
"That`s at the forefront of our minds and we`ll apply ourselves to go and do that.
"It`s a difficult one because they`re in the Premiership and we`re in the Championship.
"They`re doing what we want to be doing. We want to be challenging in the top half of the Premiership and I think we are good enough to do that.
"It`s up to other people to say what the gulf is, but we know on our day, we`re pretty much a match for anybody.
"We`re only worried about ourselves and if anybody wants to compare us that`s up to them."
Neil Lennon:"Any trophy when you have won it, you want to defend it the best you can and it is no different for us. It was a tremendous bit of history for the club and the players.
"That`s gone but when you are the holders you want to hold on to it, to keep it because I`m sure it`s given them and the supporters memories they will never forget. And you always want more of that."
Garry Parker: "I like going there. It is a good atmosphere. It is a nice place to go, obviously if you get the right result.
"When it`s tight the atmosphere is always good and I`d love to be playing in this game.
"If the crowd is on top of you, even better - especially if you are playing well and get the right result. You can turn it to your advantage.
"But I do like going there. The crowd are on top of you, you get a bit of stick.
"But that`s part and parcel of football. I do like going there.
"You can hear bits and pieces and I laugh, I find it funny. But you just have to concentrate on the game.
"They have been looking forward to it from the draw. I wasn`t here last year obviously but they got through versus Hearts, took a replay, happy days.
"Hopefully we can try and do the same this year."
Them Team News:
Arnoud Djoum returns from African Nations Cup success with Cameroon and is likely to return to the starting line up.
Player to watch: Jamie Walker
The 23 year old has undoubted talent and tends to show it in higher profile matches rather than the more mundane.
Prone to a bout or 3 of simulation he's also a player who can con referees into giving dangerous free kicks or penalties.
Hibernian Team News:
Ross Laidlaw will continue to deputise for injured no.1 Ofir Marciano whilst the influential Paul Hanlon remains on the sidelines with a pelvic injury.
Jordan Forster will return to the match day squad after sitting out last week due to a dead leg but will likely have to settle for a place on the bench.
Player to watch: Jason Cummings
Dropped for last weeks encounter against Ayr, Cummings came on to score the equaliser and simply must start as he loves a goal against his boyhood heroes.
Scored in both matches last season and will be itching for another to make it five games in succession he's netted against the men in maroon.
Match Facts & Stats
Hibs are undefeated in five league and cup ties against the Jambo's and have knocked them out of the Scottish Cup twice since losing the 2012 final to the Tynecastle outfit.
Has the potential to be the match winner for either side and hopefully no-one is talking about him after the 90 minutes are over as it means he'll have likely made himself the most important man on the park again.
Generally useless, often incompetent, it's hard to see why he's highly regarded by the SFA and FIFA.
Prone to calamitous errors of judgement and despised by the home support, it's a wonder he was given this match.
Can't back against Hibs for this purely for the reason of playing the Dark Side I'll tip 1-1 and a Hibs win at Easter Road.
Hibs face Raith Rovers in Kirkcaldy next Saturday in John Hughes first match in charge of the Starks Park outfit.