In September Hibs, who are sitting in third place and are looking to keep fourth placed Aberdeen at arms length, ran out 3-1 winners. The Dons conceded a penalty and had a man sent off but it was the full-throttle verbal challenge from visiting manager Jim Goodwin on home defender Ryan Porteous that captured the headlines and ensured this Friday night’s encounter is laced with added incentive.
He accused the 23-year-old Scotland defender of “blatant cheating” and revealed he had spoken to his squad and the referee David Dickinson, to warn them about the Hibs man prior to kick-off. That earned him an initial eight-game ban – two suspended until the end of the season – but just days before the latest face-off, that was reduced to five games with two of them still suspended.
Having already missed the Dundee United match, Goodwin will still be confined to the stand against Hibs, and then Tuesday’s away fixture against Livingston, but his initial outburst is still likely to colour the mood in the stands and on the pitch.
“I did think it seemed a lot to get eight games with two suspended,” said Hibs boss Lee Johnson.
“As managers, we just want to win. We are working so hard under difficult circumstances a lot of the time. It’s tiring, you use so much energy, you have to have so much drive and it’s passionate.
“So sometimes you say things you don’t mean, sometimes you say things to justify something and sometimes you say things you do mean because you want to get it out. That time, that was obviously the circumstance and he’s been sanctioned for it.
"If people are saying the home crowd will be hostile towards Ryan [because of that], I think he just needs to keep on doing what he's been doing: defend the box really well and make sure that outside the box he's showing his class and quality on the ball, his communication, good decision-making.
"He made a couple of mistakes for the St Johnstone goals but he was big enough and brave enough to hold his hands up and say, 'yep, that was on me'. Since then you can't argue with his training standards and therefore he plays against Aberdeen. Simple."
But the Leith side will head to the north east without the services of Martin Boyle after the talismanic forward picked up a knee injury in the victory over St Mirren.
The exact nature of the injury is not yet known but he travelled to Manchester, along with Hibs and Australia medical representatives, to meet with a specialist on Wednesday after a scan showed an anomaly.
Now the club, Boyle and his Australia national team boss Graham Arnold face an anxious wait to see how long he will be sidelined and whether he will still feature at this month’s World Cup.