Brown relishing opener
Hibs' Mark Brown cannot wait for the new SPL to begin as the club kick-off their campaign against Celtic.
By James Pearson - Follow me: @SkySportsJamesP
Last Updated: 13/07/11 4:42pm
Hibernian goalkeeper Mark Brown cannot wait for the new SPL season to begin as the club kick-off their campaign against Celtic.
The Edinburgh-club, who finished 10th in the standings last season, tackle the runners-up in the opening weekend.
A bumper crowd will be expected at Hibs' impressive Easter Road and Brown is looking to help the team start on a winning note.
Celtic won 3-0 at Hibs in January, although Brown and company have been working hard on the training ground and are targeting an upset.
"The season's going to be good. There's no better game to start with than Celtic at home," Brown told skysports.com.
"It's a tough one. Celtic will have vast support, I'd imagine. There's no better game to start the season off than Celtic.
"We just can't wait until the football starts. The hard work we've been doing, now we can put into the results."
Hearts were the last non-Old Firm side to finish inside the top two, although Brown concedes it will be difficult for anyone to repeat the feat due to the resources the Glasgow giants have on offer.
The Jambos ruffled Gers' feathers last year by toppling them at Tynecastle to briefly make it a three-horse race before Jim Jefferies' side ultimately fell out of contention.
"It's going to be difficult, as it is every year," he continued. "Hearts put up a decent showing last year, but fell away at the end. They've got the most money and biggest squads.
"You can match them for a while, but it's difficult over the course of a season when injuries and suspensions start to kick in. It can harm the squad if you've not got the strength in depth, but you never know."
Hibs won just five of their 19 homes games in league action last season and Brown admits all the players are eager to turn around their disappointment and make East Road a fortress once again.
"It was a disappointing season for everyone. Hibs changed the manager during the season, which didn't help," he said.
"Confidence is important and by and large the home form wasn't good enough. As a team that's something we're looking to address this season.
"If you want to be towards the top of the league you have to pick the majority of your points at home."
The former Kilmarnock and Celtic shot-stopper admits the club suffered an up and down campaign following Colin Calderwood's midseason appointment, although he believes his influence is now shining through.
"It was difficult for him at first as he didn't know much about the players having come up from England," he said.
"Initially he had to try and get to know about the players while playing games, which wasn't ideal.
"I think you can see the benefits of working with the players every day in pre-season.
"It's been good. All the players have enjoyed pre-season. It's been hard, but an enjoyable time at the same time."
Brown is vying with Graham Stack to get the nod from Calderwood to start their season opener and the 28-year-old is hoping he has done enough in pre-season to impress the club's tactician.
"It's a difficult challenge. You need competition for places. No-one is guaranteed their place in the team," Brown concluded.
"I'm just working hard and when I've got the chance to feature in pre-season I'm just looking to do my best.
"Hopefully come the first game of the season I'll be the one the manager puts in the team."