Naismith expects exciting derby as Hearts tackle 'aggressive' Hibs

The Hearts boss says cool heads will be crucial when the rivals meet this weekend.

Steven Naismith expects exciting derby as Hearts tackle ‘aggressive’ Hibs SNS Group

Steven Naismith is anticipating an exciting Edinburgh derby as his Hearts team take on a Hibs side he thinks has transformed under Nick Montgomery.

The sides meet at Tynecastle in the Edinburgh derby with Hibs under new management, with Montgomery having succeeded Lee Johnson last month.

Hibs are unbeaten in his four games in charge so far, and head to Hearts in confident mood after scoring eight goals in that time.

Naismith expects a different challenge from the one posed by previous Hibs sides and, with his own side looking to make their mark, foresees a thrilling contest.

“They’re a different team,” he said. “I think they play a much more aggressive attacking style than they did before.

“In the three or four games that we’ve watched he has definitely come in with his own ideas. It’s definitely a different challenge to what Hibs have been over the last couple of years under the previous manager.

“I think it’ll be an entertaining game because it’s two teams who want to attack.”

With an intense atmosphere, and local bragging nights at stake, Naismith stressed the importance of cool heads and looked back to the previous meeting of the sides, when Hearts scored early through Yutaro Oda, had Alex Cochrane sent off, conceded to a Kevin Nisbet free kick but got the point they needed to secure European football.

“It plays a big part in it, without a doubt,” he said. “I think you saw in the game last season that it was pretty frantic and got a bit heated.

“But if you look over the course of the game I think we dealt with it really well. We had calmness and we obviously dealt with the red card and them scoring straight from their free-kick.

“We stuck to the game plan and our way of playing and we got the result we wanted by the end of the game.

“We’ve got good experienced players who lead the group and they’ll play a part as well.”

Having played in Glasgow, Liverpool and Edinburgh derbies himself, Naismith knows the importance of the fixture but was keen not to heap too much importance on one game that it obscures the team’s wider aims.

“Being a derby, there’s that extra edge to it,” he admitted.

“The outcomes of the game weigh heavy but talking about the bigger picture it is three points. That’s what our aim has been. We’ve won three out of our last four and we want to continue that run.

“The main objective is to get the win. It then allows you to go into the international break in a really positive frame of mind and push on to the exciting games we’ve got to come in the next month.”

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