Josh Vela is expecting open hostility at Easter Road this afternoon but, unusually for this season, he says it will be the opposition on the receiving end.
A poor start to the league season has led to Hibs fans booing them off the pitch but Vela, who is ready to focus all his thoughts on his football after reaching an agreement over five months of unpaid wages from his time at Bolton Wanderers, believes that, in the intense rivalry of the day, the critics will back the players as they host Hearts.
“It’s a derby and I think they will always get onside and hopefully they can make it a hostile atmosphere for them,” said the midfielder.
A player who has never played in a two-club city derby is relishing the challenge, having taken an interest in previous capital clashes thanks to former boss Neil Lennon, who managed him at Bolton.
“There are a few at Bolton… Wigan, Blackburn, various ones. But none of them is as big as this one. It is not the same kind of rivalry, that’s why I don’t think they are as big.
“I’ve watched a few because of the old manager being here. He was a feisty character on the sidelines so he was perfect for the derby.
“They looked like good games and they are definitely ones you want to play in so I’m looking forward to it. The atmosphere looks good and tackles go flying in and it is a higher tempo game so it’s one we have to get stuck into.”