Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hibs v Hearts: Here we go again

Jason Cummings is "buzzing". Prince Buaben is ready to face the "chaser." And Fraser Aird would rather be watching Coronation Street.

Hibs and Hearts meet at Easter Road, by Tom Hall at the Scottish Football Blog.
Bad news for Fraser. The omnibus of goings on in Weatherfield will finish on ITV2+1 a full ten minutes before kick off at Easter Road. Maybe there's a soap opera closer to home to distract him.

The second Edinburgh derby of this Championship season is upon is.

The form book is supposed to crash out of the window. But the bookies still have Hearts as favourites.

I don't understand how the bookmakers calculate such things. But I'd reckon the 14 point lead Hearts have over Hibs has something to do with it.

And their 10 game unbeaten run. And three wins from the last three derbies.

Hibs themselves are four games undefeated since their 3-1 win at Ibrox. But last week's 4-0 win at Livingston followed two home draws with Raith Rovers and Dumbarton.

Nine wins from ten games is good going. Four wins from ten games isn't so much.

And Hibs have made a stuttering start to the season, handicapped by a disrupted summer.

History doesn't much help either.

This week Pat Stanton told the BBC:

"Too often, Hearts just seem to brush Hibs aside, there's no real resistance. It's almost been inevitable that Hearts would beat us, and Hibs have accepted it."

And on his blog David Farrell wrote:

"I never felt as a team we were ever as fired up as Hearts were. They were snarling and scratching at you from the tunnel onto the pitch. They were pressing all over us, people like Sandison, Black, Kidd, Mackay, Levein and Robertson galvanising and pushing each other. Make no mistake, they were angrier than us. They were ready for a derby, ready for a scrap."

That sums up the historical drift of these games. Recent history too: Hibs have won just 10 of the last 44.

It's true that this season's opening derby at Tynecastle might have been a very different game if Liam Craig had scored his first half penalty.

He didn't. And Hearts, as so often before, took advantage.

So, having left myself thoroughly depressed, what do I see happening at Easter Road today?

I'll be looking to see that form book hurled through a window. I'll be looking to see Hibs play with a pace and incisiveness that hasn't always been evident at Easter Road this season. Too often at home Hibs have done right the things but at such a pedestrian speed that they've been rendered blunt.

I'll be looking to Hibs give their fans something to cheer about.

And, at the end of 90 minutes, I'd be happy to see a draw.