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Fenlon eyes capital gains in Edinburgh derby

PAT Fenlon believes that tonight's Hearts-Hibs clash is Scottish football's premier fixture.

For the first season ever there are no Old Firm clashes to draw attention to the Scottish game as Rangers rebuild in the Third Division and Celtic adapt to the new reality.

Edinburgh is more famous for its castle than its clubs but television viewers looking in on tonight's clash from Tynecastle won't be short-changed as the city rivals look to go into the winter break with bragging rights over their noisy neighbours.

"With Rangers and the Old Firm derby out of the equation, this is probably as big as it gets in relation to two clubs playing each other in this division," Fenlon stated.

"I think that has helped crowds go up from our point of view, and we are taking a big support with us to Tynecastle as well so I think it has generated big interest. The fact it is the big derby now means it has gathered even more momentum for everybody.

"There is generally more interest in it, it means a lot to supporters of both clubs, because they have got to go and face their rivals every day, where we only see each other every seven or eight weeks. So from our point of view it's about playing a football match and taking the three points. From the supporters' point of view it's something different."

A win for Hibs tonight would lift them nine points clear of Hearts but more importantly into joint second place in the SPL alongside Motherwell and Inverness Caley Thistle.

Hibs ended 2012 with a 1-0 win over Celtic but that came on the back of a 1-0 defeat at home by Ross County.

Fenlon is into his second year managing Hibs and after last season's scrap against relegation the clubs' attitude has been turned around entirely as they look towards the top of the table.

"We feel we're a match for anybody in the league at the moment," the Hibs boss added. "On the back of beating Celtic, you want to be able to go and back that up.

"If we could go there and win it would be a fantastic result, but we're under no illusions, we know it's going to be difficult."