Craig Levein: Edinburgh derby hopes aided by Hearts-minded players

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Hearts manager Craig Levein will be relying on his home-grown players to show what it means to play in an Edinburgh derby.

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Hearts boss Craig Levein will take charge of his first Edinburgh derby in 13 years on Tuesday evening. Picture: SNS

Hearts boss Craig Levein will take charge of his first Edinburgh derby in 13 years on Tuesday evening. Picture: SNS

The Jambos make the short trip to Easter Road on Tuesday night to play Hibernian in the first league derby between the sides since 2015.

Hearts are without a win against their big rivals in any competition for three years, and Levein - who has enjoyed success both as a player and a manager in this fixture - says his local boys will be well up for the challenge of ending that run.

“We have the benefit of having some Hearts-minded players in the team which I think helps,” he explained. “They will be able to let the rest of the players know just how important this is.”

He added: “We’ve talked a bit about the game and what we will need to do to be successful.

“Ross (Callachan) will help with his energy, enthusiasm and determination, Christophe (Berra) as well, and Jamie Walker is a big Hearts supporter.

“There’s players in there who understand the game and what’s required.”

Levein, who took charge at Tynecastle in September following a turbulent period under Ian Cathro, has lost just six times in 50 derby matches as a player and during his first spell as manager of the club.

He relishes the meetings, but admits he is happy to win ‘ugly’ to claim three points.

“I loved this fixture as a player and as a manager,” he said. “It was one of the big moments that I used to look at the calendar and look for when they were coming. It will be a big day for us.”

He added: “The last few derbies haven’t been particularly good. It’s been painful to watch at times and you can probably count on one hand the amount of good games there have been, but that’s not what it’s about - it’s about winning.

“Our thoughts are about trying to win the fixture, and that might mean there are a lot of challenges to be won, a lot of second balls to be won, but if we’re going to win the match we will need to do that.

“I think everybody knows how important the game is.

“I can’t guarantee we will win the match, but I think it’s really important we leave everything out there (on Tuesday) and if that’s good enough to win the game, so be it.”

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