Hearts Prepare For Visit To Rivals
Hearts assistant manager Billy Brown claims Hibernian face all the added pressure going into their Scottish League Cup quarter-final derby.
Brown feels his team have been written off for the Easter Road clash following a poor run of league form that has seen them take just one point from seven games and end the first round of fixtures facing the 15-point deficit they started off the season with.
To compound matters, attacking player Ryan Stevenson is almost certain to miss out with a knee injury to leave administration-hit Hearts with just one outfield player aged over 21, midfielder Jamie Hamill.
Hibs had lost just once in nine games before their 2-0 home defeat by Aberdeen on Saturday and their fans will expect them to avenge their August league defeat against their youthful Edinburgh rivals.
And Brown feels his former club face the burden of expectation on Wednesday night. Brown, who was assistant to both Colin Calderwood and current boss Pat Fenlon at Easter Road, said: ``I don't think there are many games at this level where there is no pressure on. In derbies there is even more.
``But reading the papers and listening to everyone, they are not giving us a chance. As far as I can see, all the pressure is on Hibs.
``They have signed loads of players and there are not many clubs who pay £200,000 for a player and Hibs have (James Collins).
``So there is a financial outlay and big expectations for their supporters. They are at home, there are not many young players in the Hibs team and they are playing a young team.
``I would think, if there's extra pressure in a game like this, it's certainly not at this end of the city.''
Hearts' league predicament means they are in real need of picking up points at home to St Johnstone on Saturday and their financial constraints mean manager Gary Locke has little if any scope to rotate his squad. But Brown scoffed at suggestions their demanding cup tie could prove a distraction to their relegation battle.
``I have never found being involved in an Edinburgh derby a headache,'' he said.
``It's something to really look forward to. They are great games to take part in.
``You have got to be a realist in this job. We knew what we were taking on here. If anyone thought this was going to be plain sailing, it never was.
``It's not a distraction, it's something everyone in here relishes.
``It's a game we are desperate to win and these games mean more to the supporters than any other. As long as we give our all we can get a result.
``We need a break but it's a great game to win and we have certainly got a chance of winning it. I don't go into this game with no confidence and neither do the players.
``We are getting hammered from every angle at the moment but things will change.''