Fenlon says Hibs will relish Tynecastle visit

Pat Fenlon insists Hibernian will relish going into the ‘lion’s den’ of Tynecastle for tomorrow’s New Year derby with bitter rivals Hearts.

Pat Fenlon insists Hibernian will relish going into the ‘lion’s den’ of Tynecastle for tomorrow’s New Year derby with bitter rivals Hearts.

The Easter Road side earned their first derby victory in 13 matches with last month’s 1-0 success in the Scottish Cup, a result which exacted a small measure of revenge for May’s Scottish Cup final hammering at Hampden.

The men in green and white’s previous win came in Gorgie in May 2009, with Hearts racking up eight victories and four draws in a commanding spell.

With the latest clash coming just two days after the 40th anniversary of Hibs’ most famous Edinburgh derby conquest – the 7-0 thrashing dished out by Turnbull’s Tornadoes on New Year’s day 1973 – John McGlynn’s Hearts outfit will have every motivation to ensure they do not suffer back-to-back defeats.

But, buoyed by their cup win over Hearts and by Saturday’s
defiant 1-0 victory over champions Celtic, Fenlon insists this term’s Hibs team will not be dominated by their foes the way they have in previous campaigns.

He said: “We know we can go and stand toe to toe with anybody now and that’s the
important thing. That’s what we’ve changed about this club, and that’s what will happen as well. We know it’s going into the lion’s den, it’s a difficult venue. But we are looking forward
to it.”

Whilst Hibs had to produce an energy-sapping display to defeat Celtic at the weekend, Hearts were able to relax after their meeting with Ross County fell victim to a controversial postponement in Dingwall.

However, with the winter break to follow, Fenlon is confident the Easter Road side will be all set to go again tomorrow night. He added: “It’s recovery and rest, that’s the important thing. We probably won’t get loads of training done. We will obviously work in relation to Hearts but it’s just getting the players ready again.”

Fenlon has heaped praise on Eoin Doyle after his countryman’s display in the weekend win over Celtic. The Irishman was deployed in a role wide on the right of Hibs’ five-man midfield and Fenlon insists the 24-year-old former Sligo Rovers player set a shining example to the club’s youngsters with his approach to the game.

Fenlon said on Hibernian TV: “Doyle has played there before. He has played wide on the right and on the left for us and for his previous club so we knew he could do that for us. His work-rate is fantastic, he’s a credit to himself and that’s what you need to make it at a higher level, an attitude like his.”