Hearts have won four of the last six meetings between the sides; Hibs' last victory over their Edinburgh rivals was in December 2019; watch the game live on Sky Sports Football from 11am on Sunday; kick-off at noon
Sunday 7 August 2022 14:20, UK
Hibernian and Hearts will go head to head in front of a sell out Easter Road this Sunday - but which side will hold their nerve in the opening Edinburgh derby of the season?
There have been changes to both sides since they last met in the Scottish Premiership at Tynecastle Park back in April.
It was Hearts who ran out 3-1 winners that day with Stephen Kingsley adding to Andy Halliday's double after Drey Wright's early opener for the Easter Road side.
This season both kicked-off with victory on the opening day of the new campaign as Hibs beat St Johnstone thanks to a late Josh Campbell goal while Barrie McKay and Alan Forrest helped Hearts beat Ross County.
Ahead of the first clash of the new season, WhoScored.com has picked out some key players who could prove decisive on Sunday.
Having joined from Bodø/Glimt at the turn of the year, work permit issues delayed Elias Melkersen's debut for Hibs. It wasn't until March that supporters finally saw the teenage striker in action for the first time.
Melkersen is yet to score a league goal for the Easter Road side, but did score a brace on his first start in the Scottish Cup earlier this year. While he did underwhelm in the opening weekend win at St Johnstone, the young Norwegian will go some way to writing his name into Hibs folklore if he can fire his side to victory over Hearts this weekend.
It's hard to understate Joe Newell's importance to this Hibs side. Newell made the first team of the week of the season having earned a WhoScored.com rating of 7.28 and having made the second most tackles (61) of all Hibs players since the start of the 2021/22 Scottish Premiership season, his ball winning quality will be crucial against Hearts. All five of Newell's best rated performances in a Scottish Premiership match since the start of last season have come at home and supporters are hoping he can continue that run on Sunday.
Since the start of last season, only Martin Boyle (7.04) has earned a better WhoScored.com rating than Ryan Porteous (6.98) of all Hibs players and the 23-year-old's proactive approach to defending ensured they were able to beat the drop last season. Indeed, Porteous ranks first for clearances (106) of all Hibees players since the start of 2021/22. This is 21st overall in the division. The centre-back impressed against Hearts last term, with two of his six best rated performances coming against the Jam Tarts, and he'll be key once again in Sunday's lunchtime kick off.
Having left QPR at the end of last season, Hibs handed the experienced David Marshall a two-year deal and he came in immediately as their number one. Marshall kept a clean sheet on his Hibs debut, playing his part in shutting out the St Johnstone attack at McDiarmid Park and while he wasn't really tested in the 1-0 win, the experience and composure he brings to the defence will benefit the Hibees as they seek to claim all the spoils against Hearts.
Since the start of last season, only Jota (17) has created more clear-cut goal scoring opportunities in the Scottish Premiership than Barrie McKay (15), with the 27-year-old proving a shrewd signing last summer. McKay scored Hearts' decisive second in their opening weekend 2-1 win over Ross County last weekend, that just his third Scottish Premiership goal since joining. Hibs, to their credit, have one of the best defensive records in the division since the start of last season, so it'll take a huge effort for McKay to add to his goal haul at Easter Road.
Admittedly, Lawrence Shankland doesn't have a great record against Hibs. He has found the back of the net just four times in 14 outings against the Hibees and has been on the winning side just once in that time. Hearts fans, then, are hopeful he can add to that personal record in the Edinburgh Derby. Shankland hardly endured a debut to remember against Ross County, but he crucially provides cover and competition for Liam Boyce on the Hearts frontline.
Having excelled during his loan stint with Hearts last season, Alex Cochrane made a permanent move over the summer. He certainly celebrated the transfer in style in the opening round of games. Cochrane only registered one assist in the Scottish Premiership last season, but doubled that return against Ross County on Saturday, returning a rating of 8.11 to make the WhoScored.com team of the week. In addition, that rating was his second best in a Scottish Premiership match, so the 22-year-old heads across the capital with a spring in his step.
Only Joe Hart (20) has kept more clean sheets than Craig Gordon (14) since the start of the 2021/22 Scottish Premiership season, with the latter returning the best save success rate (75.7%) in the division over the same period. Gordon has been a key player for Hearts following his return in 2020, and his good form was rewarded with a two-and-a-half year deal back in December 2021. Now 39, the Scottish goalkeeper continues to shine and, having kept a clean sheet in two of his three league meetings with Hibs last season, conceding just once in the process, Gordon's performance could prove the difference between victory and defeat on Sunday.