Early Bragging Rights
The first Edinburgh derby of the season is on this weekend’s agenda and with Hibernian preparing to welcome neighbours Hearts to Easter Road, they will also look to build on last week’s win over St Johnstone.
Sunday Is Derby Day
After being dumped out of the League Cup by virtue of an administrative error, Hibernian’s season got off to the worst possible start and after being held by St Johnstone for 89 minutes last Saturday, things looked little better for manager Lee Johnson.
However, a minute later and the green half of Edinburgh had finally been handed some good fortune at the start of this campaign and with Josh Campbell bagging a last-minute winner, it meant the Easter Road outfit opened their Scottish Premiership account with maximum points.
While it is Easter Road which serves as the venue for the first Edinburgh derby of the season and with Hearts also earning themselves three points last Saturday, something will already have to give this weekend.
Although it is fair to say that Hearts will not be in a giving mood and with Robbie Neilson’s men finishing third in the table last season, they are not only the best of the rest outside Glasgow, but they are also soon to embark on a European campaign. One that will guarantee either Europa League or Europa Conference League group stage football in the autumn and with six continental clashes on the horizon, it will certainly swell the bank balance of the Jam Tarts.
A bank balance that is perhaps a little depleted after the signing of forward Lawrence Shankland and with the Scottish international returning home after a stint in Belgium, he will be tasked with scoring the goals that help keep Hearts ahead of the chasing pack.
Because admittedly that is all that Hearts, Hibernian or any of the other eight clubs that are not Celtic or Rangers can hope for and with no team outside the Glasgow duopoly having lifted the league crown since Aberdeen in 1985, there is little belief of change anytime soon.
Which means European football is the prize that the two Edinburgh protagonists will be aiming for at the end of this season and the way to achieve that, is by taking points off those who have the same ambitions.
While with Hearts having not lost any of the last four Scottish Premiership derbies with Hibernian, they will fancy their chances of further success. However, a new season does have the ability to reset the form guide, which is what their supporters will be wary of.
Then again, punters of a neutral persuasion may embrace this and with two of the past four league derby clashes ending in a draw, Bet365′s enhanced price of 3.26 for a Sunday stalemate, is worth some consideration.
In addition to this, Sunday could also be the perfect environment for Shankland to get off the mark for his new employers and if you think this will be the case, you can add his goal to a full-time draw, in a 9/1 bet365 Bet Builder.
* Odds subject to changes.