They may be 15 points clear at the top of the SPFL Championship, but Hearts will be taking nothing for granted when Hibernian first-foot Tynecastle this Saturday for the eagerly anticipated Edinburgh derby.
Much has been said about Hibernian’s impressive form of late – not least from the Hibs manager himself – but Hearts Head Coach Robbie Neilson is continuing with the one game at a time philosophy which has served him and his team so well this season.
Robbie held his usual pre-match press conference at Tynecastle and believes the midfield will be the area where Saturday’s game is decided.
“Hibs have got some good, experienced players in midfield” said the Hearts chief. “They’ve got guys who have been there a few years and they’ve brought in a few players as well so it’s quite a strong department for them. That said, we’ve got a very strong midfield as well with some experienced players. I think whoever comes out on top of that battle will probably win the game.”
Neilson admitted Hearts are preparing for the game in the same manner as they have every other match.
“I don’t feel a difference amongst the players,” he said. “We just train as we normally do. We work hard and try to do things right. As the week goes on then the build-up will start to intensify but it’s important that we keep doing the same things we’ve done all season. It’s done well for us so far and we need to keep doing that.
You’ve got to be disciplined in the way you approach the game, and make sure that we try and do the things that we work on. We always want to pass the ball and we’ll still try and do that. Hibs are trying to do that as well.
It should be an entertaining game. The pressure can sometimes get to players and they worry about making mistakes, but it’s our job to try and take that away from them and make sure that there’s a freedom to go and pass the ball. If they make mistakes they mistakes, so be it. We just need to deal with it.”
Meanwhile, Hearts owner Ann Budge gave a New Year message to the club’s supporters saying everyone at Tynecastle was looking forward to what was hoped would be a successful 2015. She added she wanted the supporters of both teams to enjoy themselves on Saturday and enjoy some good-natured banter with their rivals… and urged them to behave in a way that makes their club proud.
She said the eyes of the world were once again on Edinburgh for the New Year celebrations and asked supporters to make Edinburgh proud of its two major football clubs and their fans.