Hibs set for derby delight
Hibs host Hearts in front of the Sky cameras on Thursday night and Scottish Premiership expert Gareth Friel fancies them to win.
- Related Content
Hearts may be 13 points adrift at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership table but despite all their troubles on and off the field, they have beaten city rivals Hibernian twice this season, 1-0 in both the league and League Cup.
The Jambos have only beaten Hibs and Aberdeen in 2013-14 but their unexpected point at St Mirren on Sunday, combined with yet another defeat for Ross County, means they have a glimmer of hope ahead of the trip across the city for the derby on January 2.
Hibs won at home for only the second time this season against Kilmarnock and Terry Butcher's admission that he has employed a therapist to help his players get over the 5-1 Scottish Cup defeat to Hearts in the 2012 Scottish Cup final suggests we could see a different Hibs on Thursday night.
Most of the Edinburgh derbies over the years have been fairly turgid affairs and won't linger in the minds of neutrals for too long so it was interesting to hear Butcher say he reckoned this one could be much more open and exciting.
The last seven games have produced only eight goals but with Hearts in their current predicament they will surely have to open up and go for the three points and that could suit Hibs.
I fancy the home side to gain their first home league win over their rivals since 2009 and with it likely to be a more open game than history would suggest, backing Hibs to win and both teams to score at 3/1 could pay dividends. I also like the look of Hibs to win by one goal at 13/5.
On New Year's Day, Inverness look too short at 8/13 in their derby match against Ross County given that they have failed to score in their last two and were beaten 4-3 by Aberdeen at home just over a week ago.
Backing no goalscorer at 12/1 looks decent if County can defend as they did at Pittodrie on Sunday but they can't be trusted to do so.
Aberdeen also look reasonable value at 12/5 to beat Dundee United given the Arabs have been thumped in their last two by St Mirren and St Johnstone. Both those defeats came on the road though and Jackie McNamara will be desperate for his side to bounce back so we'll stick with backing Hibs against Hearts as the first tips of 2014.