Hearts V Hibernian at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview

10 August 2013 03:31
Hearts V Hibernian - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

MacDonald envious of Hibs position

Jamie MacDonald has reminded Hibernian doom-mongers the Easter Road team remain in a far stronger position than Hearts going into the Scottish Premiership capital city derby at Tynecastle.

Pressure has been building on Hibs manager Pat Fenlon, with the Irishman's future up for discussion this week after a 1-0 opening-day defeat to Motherwell which followed a European calamity.

The Leith side lost 7-0 at home to Malmo in the second leg of their Europa League qualifier to go out 9-0 on aggregate to the Swedish club.

Hearts goalkeeper MacDonald, though, was quick to point out that the Jambos began the season on minus 15 points and under a registration embargo after lapsing into administration, while they also suffered a 1-0 defeat to St Johnstone last week.

Therefore, when asked about the increasing pressure on Fenlon, MacDonald, 27, said: "There has been a lot made of that.

"They have had one league game and they lost to Motherwell who have been the second best team in the country in the last two years.

"The European tie was a freak result, one that comes along every now and then. But I would rather be in Hibs' position now than ours, with us having minus 15 points.

"They have managed to add to their squad this year. They have just signed James Collins for B#200,000.

"If only we were in that situation. We would just love to have B#200,000 to keep the club going, never mind buying a player with it."

The former Scotland Under-21 goalkeeper has a rather unusual first target for the season - getting to zero points.

MacDonald said: "We want to stay in this league and we are confident that if we can get a few wins we will put pressure on other teams and we will start to climb the table.

"Our aim now is to get to zero. That is the first target. We will try to do it bit by bit. Once we get to zero we will look at the team above us.

"We have 37 massive games now. With having the 15-point deficit every game is big for us.

"It is all about trying to enjoy as much as you can, daft as it may sound. Hopefully if we do that we will start winning games."

Hearts striker Dale Carrick is out of Sunday's clash with a knee injury but Gary Locke does have the rest of his squad available to him for the visit of the Hibees.

New Hibernian defender Michael Nelson only has happy memories of Tynecastle- and he is praying it stays that way following Sunday's meeting with Hearts.

The former Kilmarnock centre-half, who returned to Scotland last week after agreeing a move from Bradford to Easter Road, will experience his first Edinburgh derby when Hibs travel to Gorgie.

During his 12-month stay at Rugby Park, the 33-year-old visited the maroon side of the city just once but walked away a winner following a 3-1 victory in September last year.

He will return this weekend, however, as part of a Leith squad feeling the heat following a 7-0 Europa League humiliation at the hands of Malmo and last Sunday's 1-0 defeat to Motherwell in their Scottish Premiership opener.

Nelson, though, is confident he can maintain his unbeaten record at Tynecastle.

He told Press Association Sport: "I've only played there once and that was with Killie. We were under a bit of pressure for most of that game and then big Cillian Sheridan grabbed a hat-trick.

"It was a good atmosphere that day but I'm sure it will be a lot more intense on Sunday. Sometimes you can go back to grounds where you have had bad results two or three times and it can play on your mind.

"But I've been there just once and managed to win, so hopefully I can keep up that 100 per cent record."

Hibernian boss Pat Fenlon's selection worries have eased slightly.

The Easter Road boss will welcome back Rowan Vine and Jordon Forster after the pair sat out the Leith side's Scottish Premiership opener against Motherwell, while left-back Ryan McGivern should be fit to face Hearts after recovering from a thigh strain.

However, Fenlon's group are still not at full strength, with winger Alex Harris (ankle) this week joining James McPake, Tim Clancy, Paul Cairney and Bradley Donaldson on the absentee list.

Source: PA