Hibernian midfielder Joe Newell admits they have a point to prove against Hearts and nothing could give him greater pleasure than turning the tables on their Edinburgh rivals.
The clubs meet on Saturday in a game which could have a major bearing after losing runs threatened to derail their objectives for the season.
Hearts sacked manager Robbie Neilson on the back of five consecutive defeats which saw them slip to fourth place in the cinch Premiership and in danger of missing out on guaranteed European group stage football.
Hibs suffered a fourth successive loss on Sunday against Dundee United to leave them only one point above seventh-placed Livingston with two matches left to seal a top-six place.
While both sides are in similar form lately, Hearts have been comfortably ahead in the derby stakes in recent seasons.
The Gorgie side are unbeaten in the last nine meetings of the Edinburgh rivals and have scored six goals without reply in the last two fixtures.
When asked if Hibs had a point to prove, Newell said: “I can’t deny that, they have had our number the last few times. We are due them one.
“It’s horrendous, definitely the worst part of being a footballer, losing your local derby.
“And then the absolute opposite, there is no better feeling in life, if we win next week I can’t think of anything else I could do that will make me that happy.
“That’s the reality and they will feel the same. All our lads will know the importance of it, there will be no question marks going into it next week.
“It’s probably the perfect game to have after a few bad results.”
Newell came off the bench in a 2-0 win for Hibs at Tynecastle on Boxing Day 2019, when Martin Boyle’s double sealed his side’s most recent derby victory.
But the Englishman has never experienced a derby victory at Easter Road. The last time Hibs won at home against Hearts was under Neil Lennon in March 2018.
On the prospect of breaking that run, Newell said: “I can’t emphasise it enough how much it would mean to me, it would mean the world. It’s impossible to play for this club and not be really invested in it.
“I have been here four years now, you have got mates who are fans, your own family and friends become fans. It’s impossible not to be a fan yourself when you have been here this long.
“It’s something I have thought about a lot and I will be trying as hard as I can.”
When asked what needs to change for Hibs to reverse their fortunes, he said: “Being clinical. I was suspended for the last one in the cup and, you might think it sounds mad, but I genuinely thought we were the better side and we lost 3-0.
“So it’s about being clinical. We will work on it this week and work on little things to try and give us that platform in the game.
“The one at their place earlier in the season, we were 2-0 down at half-time and it’s a mountain to climb. We will probably look at that and make sure we are a bit more solid and giving ourselves a chance and then at home, with the crowd behind us and the quality we have got, we will be confident.”
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