The power-pendulum in Edinburgh just doesn’t know which direction to swing in at the moment.
Following their 5-1 mauling of Hibernian in the Scottish Cup final last May, coupled with a 100% league record over their rivals in the SPL last season, Hearts seemed to have firmly established themselves as the top dogs in Scotland’s capital city.
This season, however, as Hearts struggled to keep their heads above water financially and languished down the bottom of the league table, Hibs flew out of the blocks, looking like genuine title challengers until Christmas and beating their rivals in December for the first time since 2009, leading many people to suggest that the balance of power was shifting to the east of the city again.
But, following a somewhat predictable collapse from Hibs in 2013, they now find themselves playing out the SPL season in the bottom half of the table and, for the first time since the season began, they have slumped below Hearts following an eight-match winless run.
Defeat at Tynecastle on Sunday will confirm that they’ll finish below their pesky neighbours once again.
It is a prospect that seemed almost unimaginable just a few months ago and one which the Hibs fans, even with another Scottish Cup final to look forward to in two weeks, will find particularly difficult to stomach.
Pat Fenlon’s men haven’t won at Tynecastle since May 7th, 2009, and they will also have to overcome one of Scottish football’s most bizarrely impressive records if they are to take the Edinburgh bragging rights back to Leith again.
December’s victory at Easter Road was the only time in a playing, coaching and managerial career spanning more than 20 years that Hearts manager Gary Locke has lost to Hibernian while on the books at Tynecastle.
Even with the ending of that record, his impressive claim to fame continues at Tynecastle, where he has never seen his side lose to Hibs in any game that he has been involved in.
Hearts are 11/10 to maintain Locke’s submission hold over the Hibees, while the visitors are out at 11/5 to end the hoodoo.
The draw, a result which would probably favour Hearts in as much as they would remain above Hibs in the table, is also on offer at 11/5, but I reckon that nothing less than a Jambos win is worth betting on here.
Having thumped St Mirren 3-0 at Tynecastle last Saturday, they go into the game in decent form and new customers to bwin who use their free £20 bet to back another home win stand to pocket returns of £42 if successful.