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4 of 099 ----- L SPL A

No chance of hot Hearts catching us cold a second time, says Mowbray


TONY MOWBRAY today promised Hearts they'll be involved in an entirely different match tomorrow following their 4-0 hammering of Hibs in the first Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle.

The Easter Road boss believes the margin of victory in only the second game of the season may have given Hearts the impetus which has led to their 12-game unbeaten run, one which sees them top the SPL table by three points.

But Mowbray insisted defeat in Gorgie had inflicted no psychological damage on his side, citing his own side's form which culminated in a fifth successive away win in Dunfermline in midweek, a result which firmly established Hibs in third place.

Hearts, of course, enjoy a seven-point advantage over their Capital rivals but Mowbray questioned what effect seeing that trimmed to four if their closest rivals were to inflict a first defeat of the season might have on the, as yet, managerless Gorgie outfit.

Mowbray said: "We have now played 12 games rather than this being the second of the season. The pattern of play and fitness levels are spot-on and tomorrow will be a totally different game.

"There was no question Hearts deserved to win that day but we felt the final result was unjust.

"If you break down their goals, a soft penalty and Guillaume Beuzelin's aberration inside our area, they were mainly avoidable. "But the record books say we were beaten 4-0 and you have to accept that, take it on the chin and await the next opportunity which comes tomorrow.

"And that presents us with a chance to show how far we have come since the second game of the season."

Mowbray pointed out that in losing so heavily at Tynecastle his side had been chasing the game having gone behind and he admitted that's a scenario which has happened too often this season although, in the main, his players have staged some remarkable comebacks, none more so than the 4-2 win over Kilmarnock in their last match at Easter Road.

He said: "It would be nice as a manager to have some matches at home where we can control the game and win comfortably rather than reacting to a sloppy start or whatever."

Having said that, Mowbray believes his players deserve a great deal of credit for their results so far this season, Hibs sitting on 25 points compared with 18 at the same stage last season.

He added: "This year I think we've improved individually and collectively as a team, and I think the results are reflecting that at the moment." Mowbray's side, of course, has been built on a shoe-string with a mere £5000 paid for Ivan Sproule representing the total outlay in terms of transfer fees with wages at Easter Road also paling against those reputedly being paid to a number of Hearts players.

But rather than take an envious look, Mowbray insisted he viewed the disparity more as a challenge. He said: "Hearts have made a big investment, they have a backer willing to put investment into the club.

"The challenge is 'can you punch above your weight' and take on the teams with greater resources - it's the same challenge for everyone in the SPL."

The abrupt departure of Hearts boss George Burley hasn't derailed the Gorgie express with victories over Dunfermline and Kilmarnock clinched in the interim.

And even if a new manager were to be appointed in the next 24 hours, Mowbray doesn't believe he'd have much influence over tomorrow's match.

He said: "I think if someone was to come in he'd sit in the stand and see what he has, he'd have little effect as to what team plays tomorrow."

That said, Mowbray admitted Hearts represent formidable opposition - but he is naturally quietly optimistic his side can emerge as victors.

He said: "Hearts results in their last couple of games have been pretty tight but they still kept two clean sheets.

"They are pretty solid and hard to beat and we'll give them the utmost respect.

"They are the top team in the division and we'll have to be at our very best to beat them.

"We'll be hoping to do so and if we come out of this fixture with a positive result it might just knock their belief a bit."

Meanwhile, Hibs today announced that tickets for the CIS Cup quarter-final against Dunfermline at East End Park on Tuesday, November 8, will go on sale to Early Bird season ticket holders from 9am tomorrow.

Remaining season ticket holders can buy theirs from Monday before they go on general sale the following day. Hibs and Dunfermline have agreed reduced prices, £16 for adults, £12 for concessions while under-12s can see the game for £8.

Hibs have been given 5500 tickets for the match in response e to a plea for the match to be made all-ticket following chaos at the turnstiles at Wednesday night's SPL clash between the sides.

Taken from the Scotsman

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