Football Expert & Columnist
Andy Walker says that Hibs have to start delivering big performances on derby day as they take on Hearts on Thursday
Andy Walker is expecting some New Year fireworks when Hearts and Hibs clash on Thursday.
Last Updated: 01/01/13 12:58pm
Hibs will travel the short distance to Tynecastle in confident mood after a marvellous 1-0 victory over Celtic. Leigh Griffiths kept up his impressive goalscoring form but the likelihood is that the Edinburgh Derby will be his last for the club.
Wolves, understandably, want to do business with a player they paid £150,000 for and extending the loan deal beyond January is not an option for the Midlands club.
Although Griffiths wants to stay and Hibs would love to keep him, it would take a reasonable sum of money to secure his services and I think it is unlikely Hibs will spend the type of cash Wolves are looking for.
In order to get away from the embarrassing and humiliating 5-1 Scottish Cup final defeat to their great rivals, Hibs owe it to their supporters to start delivering big performances on derby day.
Despite many off-field problems, Hearts continually rise to the derby day occasion and have suffered just one defeat in 13 games.
Yet again this season, Hearts players have had to contend with delayed wage payments but in fairness to the men in the dressing room, it has strengthened their resolve to stay together and deliver the result the fans are desperate for in the biggest fixture of the season.
Who knows if Saturday's late postponement at Ross County will have a positive or negative affect on Hearts preparations for a game that they know how to handle? In front of their own supporters, Hearts have plenty of potential match-winners. I like the look of Andy Driver, a wide player getting back to his best after injury.
It's easy to forget that Hearts knocked back an offer of £3million from Burnley a few years ago and he's showing everyone now how good he can be.If John Sutton starts, he'll give Hibs captain James McPake the physical challenge that both players relish.
And now that Ryan Stevenson is back at the club, he's another midfield player with the habit of scoring goals on the big occasion.
What we can be sure of is that Hibs will be on a high. Winning against Celtic after drawing at Parkhead earlier this season shows that Pat Fenlon can get some decent results when the pressure is on but this is the one that the supporters want to win above all else.
If it is to be Leigh Griffiths last game for the club, Eoin Doyle has now shown that he can take his place as the main goal threat. I've been impressed with his game outside the box and his desire to get on the end of some excellent build up play from Paul Cairney.
The last time the sides met, Hibs home advantage saw them shade it by a single goal in a Scottish cup-tie. It gave their fans something to cheer about but the players owe them so much more if they are to make up for that painful cup final defeat.
I wonder if they can deliver at the home of their biggest rivals?