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<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth Barry Anderson auth-> Mike McCurry
[G O'Connor 8] ;[D Riordan 63]
1 of 020 Lee Miller 23 ;Andy Webster 88 L SPL A

Robertson has luxury of full squad for crunch derby


HEARTS will have a full quota of players available to them for the biggest Edinburgh derby in years as they attempt to salvage their European ambitions.

Manager John Robertson will head to Easter Road on Saturday with a squad bearing no injuries - something of a luxury at this time of the season given the rigours that players have experienced.

Hearts have had a heavy schedule this term having played in the group stages of the UEFA Cup and made both domestic cup semi-finals whilst challenging for third place in the league.

Now, with the finishing line in the SPL imminent, the Tynecastle side will be at full strength against Hibs as they cling to their threadbare hopes of taking third place and the coveted European place that goes with it.

Robertson admitted today that the atmosphere at the club’s Riccarton training base has been electric all week.

He said: "I would be very upset if they were calm because this is a derby game and the players should be up for it, which to me they have been in training this week.

"We don’t have any injuries which is nice and that means I can pick the team accordingly for Saturday.

"We have prepared well and are working towards the derby in a positive manner. The mood is as normal so I’m confident we’ll be in good shape."

Robertson remains mindful of his pervious face-off with his Capital rival Tony Mowbray just ten days ago at Tynecastle.

It was a match which Hearts controlled for the majority of the evening only to lose to two sucker-punch strikes from Garry O’Connor and Dean Shiels.

The manager has been in charge for two derby games and has yet to taste victory having overseen a 1-1 draw the last time Hearts ventured across the city. This time he will remind his players of the hurt they endured in the aftermath of their last encounter with Hibs.

"The last match was painful for us, but then again only because of the result. We had the best of the chances and controlled game but still lost. That will be in our minds.

"At the end of the day that game proved anything can happen in derby matches and this one is a chance for our guys to turn the tables a bit by getting a victory." With Hibs often perceived as the more baby-faced of the Capital clubs it is interesting to note that the average age of the Hearts side was lower than Hibs’ in their Tynecastle triumph.

Whether it is experience or youth which tells come 4.45pm on Saturday, Robertson, a man with many pleasant recollections of visits to Easter Road as a player, is expecting a pulsating encounter as always.

"I don’t think there is much in it and it is going to be close again," he added. "Maybe experience can tell this time but you cannot be sure.

"Anything can happen all I want is for us to prepare correctly and apply ourselves when we go out onto the pitch at Easter Road. That’s what I’ll tell the players."

Taken from the Scotsman

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