‘Chasers’ jibe hard to take for Han­dling

Buaben com­ments will fire up Hibs

The Herald - Herald Sport - - SPFL CHAMPIONSHIP. HIBERNIAN V HEARTS (SUNDAY, 12. - DEREK MILLER

IT IS an es­tab­lished tra­di­tion in foot­ball to sug­gest that any pub­lic jibe from the op­po­si­tion will be ‘pinned up in the dress­ing room’, pro­vid­ing an added layer of mo­ti­va­tion as slighted play­ers seek ret­ri­bu­tion for those er­rant words.

It may seem like an old-fash­ioned con­cept, but Danny Han­dling has ex­plained that the prac­tice is still alive and well at Hiber­nian, with an im­pu­dent Face­book mes­sage from Hearts mid­fielder Prince Buaben cur­rently on dis­play at their East Loth­ian train­ing cen­tre ahead of to­mor­row’s Ed­in­burgh derby.

Buaben’s of­fend­ing com­mu­nique, which was tar­geted at his own sup­port­ers but un­doubt­edly had a with­er­ing edge, came after a re­cent 1-0 win at Al­loa Ath­letic, on the same day Hibs had stum­bled to a 0-0 stale­mate against Dum­bar­ton.

It read: “Happy with the win even [though] we didn’t play the way we can. We got 3 points and that’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween us and the other chaser #myteam­strong En­joy your week­end #jam­bos.”

Han­dling can­didly ac­knowl­edged that “we don’t ap­pre­ci­ate” the “dig at Hibs”, while sug­gest­ing he will take great de­light in prov­ing “the other chaser” can make up ground at Easter Road.

In a fix­ture which is tra­di­tion­ally not short on flash­points, Han­dling’s words add an ad­di­tional spice to a fas­ci­nat­ing derby date as

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It is no sur­prise that the Tynecas­tle side, un­beaten away from home and six points clear at the top of the ta­ble, start favourites to ex­tend their ad­van­tage over their cap­i­tal ri­vals to 17 points. Danny Wilson is poised to re­turn to cap­tain Hearts but Dale Car­rick is def­i­nitely out while James Keat­ings is a doubt. Last sea­son 2-1, 1-2 (in top flight) Pre­dic­tion Away win Hibs aim to close the 14-point gap be­tween the sides.

“We saw a com­ment from Prince Buaben on his Face­book. He said he’s get­ting bored of th­ese ‘chasers’, so it would be nice to shut him up,” said the 20-year-old. “He was hav­ing a wee joke with the fans but some­times you get an­noyed with what peo­ple say.

“The skip­per [Liam Craig] put it up on a sheet at the train­ing ground so all the lads have seen it. We want to prove him wrong be­cause he’s hav­ing a dig at Hibs and we don’t ap­pre­ci­ate that.

“You get on with life, but we’re striv­ing to beat Hearts and put him right. It’s ban­ter be­tween the two sets of play­ers, but it does make you want to beat them even more.

De­spite the chasm be­tween the ri­vals in the SPFL Cham­pi­onship stand­ings, Han­dling in­sists there is no in­fe­ri­or­ity com­plex at Easter Road, and re­tains a belief that Hibs pos­sess one of the best squads in the coun­try, let alone the cap­i­tal.

“There is a gap be­tween our­selves and Hearts but there’s a lot of foot­ball to be played,” con­tin­ued the Scot­land un­der-21 in­ter­na­tion­al­ist.

“We have a great squad, we have real tal­ent and play­ers want to play for this club. On pa­per we have one

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