Christophe Berra has dismissed Neil Lennon’s “irrelevant” riposte as mere “football talk” as Hearts prepare to try to outdo their derby rivals for the first time in the league this season.
Hibs are still targeting second place and will be desperate to clinch all three points at Tynecastle tomorrow. Lennon was angered by opposite number Craig Levein’s talk of a “natural order” in Edinburgh earlier this season and was quick to issue a retort after Hibs’ 2-0 win in March. He dismissed Levein’s side as “irrelevant” after Hibs moved 12 points clear of their local rivals. Lennon’s side have now drawn even further ahead following this weekend’s results and the gap between the sides now stands at 20 points.
“That’s football talk, rivals and just getting headlines,” said Berra. “We’ll take that with a pinch of salt. Hibs have been really good, Neil Lennon and his team have got a lot of credit and rightly so.
“We’ve been very inconsistent, especially away from home; a lot of things have happened on and off the pitch, which can’t be helped.
“Next season is a new one,” he added. “Football is swings and roundabouts and it’s about how you start next season. You need to make sure you start well and hopefully on our behalf it can be remembered for the good things.”
Hearts are hoping to bounce back from Sunday’s loss to Celtic at Tynecastle – their first defeat at the ground since returning there in October. After tomorrow’s home match they finish the season at Kilmarnock on Sunday.
“We know how good we are at Tynecastle and that’s not the problem really,” said Berra. “It’s our away record that’s been at fault for a long time and we need to do something about it.
Berra, who was surprisingly absent from the PFA player of the year nominees, was philosophical about being left out of Alex McLeish’s first Scotland squad. The new national manager is now considering his options ahead of the summer trip to face Peru and Mexico.
Berra was a regular towards the end of Gordon Strachan’s reign and is hopeful of being recalled.
“I wasn’t in the last squad, the manager decided to go with younger players,” he said. “That’s down to him. I’ve enjoyed my time in the past and I’m concentrating on my club football.
“It’s not necessarily a motivating factor for me.”