Hibs’ relegation ‘brilliant’ for Hearts’ Paterson

Paterson is relishing four derby clashes in Championship. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Paterson is relishing four derby clashes in Championship. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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HEARTS full-back Callum Paterson is delighted that Hibs were relegated on Sunday because now he has Edinburgh derbies to look forward to in 2014-15.

Paterson believes that he and his team-mates will have a massive advantage over Terry Butcher’s under-achievers – and not just because Hearts beat their city rivals four times last season.

The Scotland Under-21 player argues that he and his team-mates will be going into the new campaign in a much more positive frame of mind than their Leith counterparts. Already doomed to demotion by the 15-point penalty and signing embargo imposed as a consequence of last summer’s administration, Hearts slowly improved as the campaign wore on and won five and drew two of their last eight fixtures. Hibs, by contrast, won only two of their last 21 games.

“It was strange to see Hibs going down the way they did and it wasn’t good for them but it’s brilliant for us to have four derbies,” said the 19-year-old. “That will boost attendances for both clubs and the Championship will be a good league. We’ve appointed a new manager in Robbie Neilson, a new coach in Stevie Crawford and we’re trying to bring in new personnel.

“It’s going to be a tough league but we can’t wait to get going.

“We ended the season on a massive high – except for the last couple of games – by scoring a few goals and we’re really looking forward to it. Hibs, on the other hand, aren’t going to be happy that they’re going down. We’ve had the chance to reflect on last season and now we’re raring to go and prepared for it.

“Then you throw Rangers into the mix as well as Livingston and Falkirk. It’s going to be a massive division next season with a lot of quality games. Everyone assumes it will be two from ourselves, Hibs and Rangers to go up but there’s so much quality that you can’t rule anyone out. There will be a lot of focus on the league.

“Dundee went down last season and went straight back up, and ourselves and Hibs will be looking to do the same.

“It’s going to be a fascinating league with quite a few big games and I can’t wait. It’s going to be well supported and there will be good exposure for the second tier in Scottish football. As young Hearts boys we’ve all played about 20 or 30 games each so we’ve become experienced players and we need to show it.

“On a personal level, Robbie Neilson can be good for me because he’s been a right-back throughout his career and I’d love to emulate him.”

Paterson is set to win his second under-21 cap against the Dutch at St Mirren Park tomorrow night before finally enjoying a well-earned break.

“We haven’t really been off since the domestic season finished so everyone’s fitness levels are still high and we’re raring to go,” he said. “This is the last game of the season and we’re looking forward to it.

“Once it’s finished I’ll get a two-week break in Portugal which I’m really looking forward to but the Ramsdens Cup kicks off quite early so we’re back in training on 26 June.”