Scottish football: Hibernian welcome city rivals Hearts to Easter Road for a Scottish Cup fourth-round tie on Sunday with revenge in mind for the 5-1 mauling dished out when the sides met in the final of the competition back in May.
Hibs are much improved six months after that humiliation, flying high in second place in the SPL, but their boss Pat Fenlon admits he’s never watched a video rerun of the Hampden match.
“I can’t learn anything from it. I have a completely different group of players. The only thing I can learn is to maybe keep my hands in my pockets,” he said, referring to a hand-gesture made towards the away support which landed him a touchline ban.
Fenlon, who this week celebrated a year in the job, admits the heavy defeat at the national stadium was a “definitive moment” and forced him to have serious talks with those running Hibernian in the aftermath of that result.
Few would bet on a repeat of the Cup final scoreline this time around, but Hibs know their old foes, despite indifferent form and financial troubles, will be no pushovers. Hearts have not tasted defeat in the last 12 derbies and won all four of the Scottish Cup encounters between the Edinburgh sides in the last 18 years.
The Tynecastle men, who are without a win in five, know they will have to stop Hibs’ scoring sensation Leigh Griffiths to keep that record intact. The on-loan Wolves striker has bagged 13 goals already this term.
Elsewhere Rangers host fellow Division Three side Elgin City at Ibrox on Sunday, a week after the teams were forced to postpone a league clash when the Borough Briggs outfit over-sold their capacity.
Ross Jack’s side have been in fine form to date, hitting the net 29 times in the league — the same amount as Rangers themselves. The Ibrox manager Ally McCoist hopes to have winger David Templeton back for the match against what he described as “one of the better sides we have played this year.”
There are a dozen ties a day earlier, starting with Saturday’s early kick off — a Highland derby between Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
The only other all-SPL tie of the round sees Motherwell face Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
With a must-win clash against Spartak Moscow to come in the Champions League four days later Neil Lennon may be tempted to send out some of his second string against Arbroath at Parkhead.
The Celtic boss faces a dilemma, however, knowing that his team have been slated for poor home performances of late, and will want a positive result to boost them for the big European night to follow.
Elsewhere the pick of the round sees Dundee United head to Galloway to play Stranraer, St Johnstone are at Cowdenbeath, Kilmarnock host Queen of the South, Partick Thistle take on Dunfermline, Highland League outfit Turriff United are at home to Morton and Stenhousemuir have a local derby against rivals Falkirk.
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