Greg Docherty: Cup semi victory can make up for Hibs’ derby loss

Straight after Tuesday night’s derby defeat, Greg Docherty had already turned his attention to making amends.

Hibs' Greg Docherty and Hearts defender Aaron Hickey (left) vie for possession during the Easter Road derby

Emotionally and mentally bruised and disappointed by the 3-1 loss to capital rivals Hearts, the midfielder was looking for ways to atone.

Next month’s Scottish Cup semi-final offers one obvious opportunity but he says there are other ways to compensate the home fans. Foremost is ensuring there will be no more league head-to-heads with Daniel Stendel’s men by cementing their place in the top six and, from there, they can see out the season battling for a European spot, while their foes are left scrambling around in the bottom six, trying to avoid relegation.

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“It is disappointing. It’s a derby defeat. It’s not nice,” said the January loan signing. “It’s sickening. You’re gutted for the supporters and everyone at the club. Maybe it’s a bit of a wake-up call for us. Yeah we’ve been playing well and going okay but these things go out the window. We’ll definitely learn from this when we go to Hampden, and maybe that’s the extra motivation that we need.

“They came here from where they are [in the league] and they’re fighting for everything. A derby is won on small margins and they struck when they were on top. It was a stuffy game. It’s a derby, sometimes it’s not pretty. It’s disappointing that the second balls maybe broke for them. We need time to reflect on it and look back but one thing for sure is we will bounce back from this, that’s for sure.

“The semi-final, when it comes around, will be our full focus. It’ll be a massive chance for us to make up for this result, so that’s the obvious one [to make amends]. And, to go to Hampden [and win a derby], there would be no better place to do it.”

But, aware that the fervour will grow as they approach the cup tie, as will the demands from hurting Hibs fans who will want them to put things right after Tuesday night’s poor showing, Docherty, right, says that fixture has to be put to the back of their minds as they reset their sights on league business.

Sitting in sixth place, there is still work to be done to make sure they remain in the top half of the table when the league splits in four games’ time, but they have set their sights higher and the frustration they felt at losing three points against Hearts and squandering the chance to leapfrog Livingston and close the gap on Aberdeen and Motherwell in the chase for third place will now have to be channelled into this weekend’s Premiership performance.

Jack Ross’s men travel to Pittodrie and want a win to bolster their chances of booking a Europa League qualifying spot come the end of the campaign.

“Saturday is an even bigger one for us, to bounce back and really make a statement,” said Docherty. “We’ve lost a derby, it’s really hurting. It’s three points dropped and it’s a shame because we played really well on Friday night. It’s hard to put your finger on. We’ve got to show a different side to us now and really come back from this and continue the good work.”

That good work includes a run of results sullied by just two defeats – to Rangers and Hearts – since the turn of the year, which, when combined with Motherwell and Aberdeen’s stuttering form in the same period, has given them a stab at a t-op-three finish.

“Saturday now becomes huge for us. We will be hurting as a club in the coming days, but things can turn quickly. There’s a lot to play for before we get to the break and then the semi-final. But Saturday is massive for us.”