Hibs’ Head Coach Neil Lennon aims to retain his unbeaten derby record against Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday but admits that the fixture means more to the players and fans than himself.
Since joining Hibs, Lennon has overseen two wins at Easter Road and a draw at Tynecastle against city rivals Hearts and the pair meet again on Wednesday night in Gorgie.
Hibs go into the game five points clear but Hearts have gained a huge boost in confidence after hammering Celtic 4-0 and ending their long unbeaten domestic run.
Lennon anticipates a physical game but is believes that his players will be ready for the challenge.
Speaking after yesterday’s victory over Ross County, Lennon said: “We are unbeaten in the three (derbies) I’ve been involved in, but it means a lot more to the supporters and players, so if we can it’s important to maintain it.
“Like every run it ends, but we don’t want it to end too soon.
“We also have a target of trying to get into the top six, to finish an outstanding 2017 well. We don’t want it to peter out. We’ve played well but not got what we’ve deserved at times.
“You expect derbies to be physical and the raw atmosphere brings that out in players. It’s an important facet of the game, to put a marker down.
“I expect it to be physical. The players like the big games and that’s the beauty of getting promoted after three years in the Championship, they’re playing them week in, week out.
“We’ll watch the Celtic game again, it’ll have given them a boost, but it might just be one of those games where everything came together, we’ve all had those.”
When asked if he was looking forward to seeing the new-look ground, he laughed and said: “Not really. The extra 4000 there will just add to my popularity!
“The pitch didn’t look great, watching the Celtic game, so that might be a factor in our thinking but it was always one of my favourite stadiums and the improvements should make it even better.”