Heart of Midlothian vs HibernianScottish Premiership, KO: 15:00 Oct 7, 2023, Tynecastle
NICK MONTGOMERY has yet to taste defeat since taking the reins at Hibernian but faces his toughest test yet as his team head across Edinburgh to take on bitter rivals Heart of Midlothian in the derby.
Caretaker gaffer David Gray led them to a 2-0 victory at Aberdeen while Montgomery has overseen draws with Kilmarnock and Dundee either side of victories against St Johnstone and St Mirren.
That 4-2 win over the Buddies took Hibernian into the League Cup semi-finals so the former Central Coast Mariners boss has a chance to lift some silverware within months of his arrival from Australia.
We could see another Edinburgh derby in the final but it's all about Premiership points and bragging rights as they collide at Tynecastle for the first time this season.
Heart of Midlothian also had a poor start to the season, with an ultimately doomed bid to reach the Europa Conference League group stage having an effect on domestic results, just like it did for Hibs.
The dugout hokey-cokey that saw Frankie McAvoy installed as head coach while Stevie Naismith became technical director to get round UEFA regulations didn't help but the former Scotland striker was restored as the main man after that European exit.
That has coincided with an upturn in results and Hearts head into the derby in good spirits, having followed up a League Cup win at Kilmarnock with a 1-0 Premiership victory at Ross County last weekend.
Some fans still aren't convinced that rookie Naismith is the best man for the job but a victory in the derby would go a long way towards silencing his doubters.
How the bookies view it
Derbies are always tough to call but Hearts are favourites with home advantage at a best 7/5 with SkyBet. Hibernian look a little overpriced at 23/10 with Bet365 while the draw will be a popular option for punters at 5/2 with William Hill.
Recent head to head
Heart of Midlothian have held the upper hand in Edinburgh derbies of late, losing just once in the last 11 meetings. That defeat came at Easter Road last season and the Jambos have won four of the last six derbies at Tynecastle. The last meeting was a 1-1 thriller as Naismith's men held on with 10 men for the point that secured European football and that result brought up a bet for our man Mark.
Players to watch
Hearts skipper Lawrence Shankland has been going through a drought, drawing blanks in his last seven outings. But he netted four times in the derbies last season, with one of those goals bringing up a bet for me in January, and the big occasion could see him spark into life again. Shankland is 13/10 at William Hill for anytime scorer.
Martin Boyle announced his return to Hibernian with a stunning last-gasp equaliser in the first Edinburgh derby of last season. The Australian international is now back at his best after a serious knee injury and the winger is 29/10 at William Hill for a goal. Boyle is usually good value for an assist as well but I've yet to see any prices.
Anything else catch the eye?
Goals are usually guaranteed with Hibernian, although we saw a 0-0 draw with Dundee in their last outing. That was down to poor finishing and bad luck more than a lack of chances so this derby should be pretty exciting. BTTS is just 7/10 with QuinnBet but over 2.5 goals is a bit better at 17/20 with Bet365.
Sparks usually fly whenever these teams collide so the card markets are also well worth a look. You have to go to over 6.5 cards to get to 11/10 at Bet365 so opting for individual players looks a smarter move. Cammy Devlin is always at the heart of the midfield battle for the Jambos and he's 21/20 with the same firm to be carded. I also like the 6/4 on offer for Lewis Miller to fall foul of the referee as the Hibs full-back loves a tackle.
This Scottish Premiership match between Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian will be played on Oct 7, 2023 and kick off at 15:00. Check below for our tipsters best Heart of Midlothian vs Hibernian prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.