London Hearts Supporters Club

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1 of 003 John Colquhoun 40 ;John Colquhoun 56 L Premier A

Hibs men realise the pressure is on to end their dismal derby run


29 Oct 1993

CUP finals are all very well, sitting at the top of the premier division is fine, but Hibs supporters are not ready to give their blessing to the Easter Road revival until the derby hoodoo, which hangs like a forbidding cloud over their optimism, is killed off once and for all.

The chance to put the jinx to death comes at their home ground this weekend, when Hearts make the short journey across city in their usual confident mood.

They have every reason to take on Hibs in jaunty style, of course.

Not for almost five years have Hearts known the indignity of losing to their city rivals.

Communism, like the Berlin Wall, has collapsed; the world has seen strife and starvation in Somalia, Bosnia, and Croatia; Maggie Thatcher has been deposed -- or at least it seems so; royal marriages have disintegrated; The Magic Roundabout has made a come-back; Hibs have not beaten Hearts.

It is the most astonishing derby track record in the game and has survived a whole bundle of matches in which Hibs were the better team.

But the loyal green lot are not ready for any further forgiveness.

This, in their view, is the time for a result.

The players at Easter Road are fully aware of the feeling in town.

Darren Jackson, who in derby terms could be called one of the newer fellas, yesterday showed a genuine appreciation of the impatience among the aficionados.

"They can handle our defeat in the League Cup final by Rangers, because they thought we matched them on the day.

I think they appreciated we gave it our best shot and at times stretched Rangers," he said.

"But when it comes to the derby on Saturday, things will be different.

They will not be able to cope with another failure to beat Hearts."

That record encompasses 18 premier division games and will reach its fifth anniversary, unless Hibs change matters, on New Year's Day.

"It is a terrible record, but putting it right would be the pefect pick-up for our players and fans.

I don't think I have ever seen our lads so determined to succeed.

We had the day off after the cup final and then got down to work to prepare for the game."

The odds are that Hibs will face an exciting new front-line partnership.

With Maurice Johnston enjoying the benefit of a hard work-out in his first game against Partick Thistle last week and John Robertson looking likely to return after missing out because of injury, Hearts will have a potentially lethal attack.

Johnston, signed on a free transfer from Everton, did not look too far away from match fitness at Firhill and could make a real impact in his first Edinburgh derby, while Robertson, who has scored a record 20 goals in these contests, seems to have the knack of hitting form on the day.

But, apart from Robertson's magnificent interventions, it has been the case that the quality of play in the capital derby has ranged from the mediocre to appalling.

The strain on Hibs players trying to end such a lengthy winless run has no doubt contributed and the fear of ending their worthy run has no doubt weighed heavily on the Hearts men, but the end product has been woeful entertainment for the fans, the number of whom has dwindled in recent times as a consequence.

But the signs are that they anticipate the real thing this time as the game heads for a sell-out, with Hibernian already saying that it will be a £100,000 gate.

With players of the Robertson- Johnston quality on one side and the Jackson-McAllister ability on the other, there should surely be no reason at all why this derby cannot redeem itself at long last.

Taken from the Herald

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