HE HAS experienced just one Edinburgh derby but Terry Butcher already has a decent sense of things.
“It’s like a boxing match, with two boxers slugging it out as far as I’m concerned,” he says. This time around this could be even tastier than the New Year’s bout. The Hibs fans are looking for something to cheer them after another season that has failed to deliver and helping Hearts on their way to the Championship would fit the bill.
“I’m not going to say that we need a strong referee, but it will be like two boxers slugging it out,” adds Butcher. “We could maybe knock them out.
“That is why all the tickets are sold out at our end and will be for Hearts, I suspect. But we have to focus on what we need to do. We have had a wretched run of results recently and it would certainly please our fans if we could win this one, without a doubt.”
Hearts, though, are unlikely to succumb. Despite the position, they still enjoy significant bragging rights over their neighbours and they don’t want to do anything to dilute that.
Butcher, below, knows the home crowd will offer vocal backing for their players and while he loves the atmosphere generated in the tight Tynecastle Stadium,
he knows very few of the comments flowing in his direction will be positive.
“I have been there before with other clubs and funnily enough, our record at Tynecastle was very good with Motherwell and Inverness Caley Thistle,” he says. “But I don’t think this will be quite the same. It will be like going into the lions’ den but that is something to be savoured and enjoyed.
“[The fans behind the away technical area] are not on my Christmas list but they are vociferious, as I’m sure everyone will be at Tynecastle on Sunday. I will let Maurice [Malpas, his assistant manager] go out, I will just sit in the dugout and watch!”
Since taking over from Pat Fenlon, he has had to sit back and study a lot of what goes on at Hibs and he has made judgments about how things will change for next season.
His cards, though, are being kept close to his chest.
“The job has not been tougher than I expected, it’s the same. We know and we have learned a lot from the process and whether that makes it easier or not next season we will soon find out.
“Everybody says it is this or that but from where I am, it’s incredible. I learn more with every minute and it is a real test and real challenge but isn’t that why I came here? Isn’t that what you want in football?”