Hibernian’s new boss John Collins has told his players to treat tonight’s (Wed, Nov 8) CIS Insurance Cup match with Edinburgh-rivals Hearts as though it were just another game.
As a player, Collins sampled many derby matches and has told his players that, while everyone in the media and on the streets wants to talk about the match, their preparation is no different and they should treat every game the same.
While he has a point, there is no doubt that Hibs fans will want to see Hearts toppled at Easter Road, and will surely celebrate a win more than they would against any other side in the lesser of the two national cup competitions.
Collins said: ‘I’ll be stressing to my players that they need to treat it like any other game. It’s very tough, but it’s part of being a top player. Top players produce, no matter what game it is.
‘In all honesty, the build-up to derby matches is the same wherever you go. There’s a lot of media attention and lots of fans who speak to you in the street about it.
‘I was fortunate that I played in derbies in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and even the south of France. From a player’s point of view, you have got to try to stay away from all the build-up and try to stay calm – and this may sound strange – treat it like any other game.’
Falkirk showed last night that anything can happen in the cup when they bounced-back from being goal down against Celtic at Parkhead to eventually triumph on penalties and Hibs have a great chance of benefiting from the turmoil at Tynecastle to reach the semi-final of the tournament.
Hibs squad: Malkowski, Whittaker, Martis, Jones, Murphy, Sproule, Beuzelin, Benjelloun, Stewart, Thomson, Fletcher, Zemmama, Brown, Killen, McNeil, Shields, Shiels, Hogg, Glass.
Hearts squad: Gordon, Neilson, Berra, Tall, Goncalves, Barasa, Hartley, Aguiar, Fyssas, Mikoliunas, Velicka, Zaliukas, Pressley, Banks, Jankauskas, Wallace, Brellier, Mole.