JOHN McGinn reckons Hibernian’s experience of winning last year’s Edinburgh derby Scottish Cup replay at Easter Road will stand them in good stead when they clash with Hearts again tonight.

The sides meet for a second time in this season’s competition after a 0-0 draw at Tynecastle earlier this month. Hearts had nine players making their derby debuts in the first game but they now have to visit Leith and McGinn feels last term’s victory will help the holders.

“I’m sure it will,” the midfielder said: “It’s scary the way football works.

When I signed here I might not have had an Edinburgh derby but two years in a row we had an away draw and a replay. I’m glad it’s happened, they are really good games to play in.

“I think I’m more ready for it now. You just let the build-up go over your head and concentrate on the football because when the whistle goes it settles down. It’s a bit frantic but you can play your football eventually.

“It’s heartbreaking when you lose a goal because you know pelters are coming your way. But you learn to experience the ups and downs. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions.

“You just have keep the head. You can’t let the occasion pass you by because it’s games like this you want to make a name for yourself in. You don’t want the [final] whistle to go and regret that you didn’t turn up.”

McGinn and his team-mates go into the game on the back of a strong post-match rebuke from manager Lennon in the wake of their 1-1 draw with Raith Rovers in the Ladbrokes Championship last weekend.

Lennon branded his league leaders’ performance “an absolute disgrace” and accused them of failing to treat their opponents with enough respect. “We knew it was coming,” McGinn said. “As soon as the final whistle went, we were the first people to know that it wasn’t good enough. The fans made their opinion clear as well. They pay their money and travel in their numbers and it wasn’t good enough.

“But we have a really important game in which to turn it around and prove to the manager that we can do it. I think that’s what he wanted, a reaction, and we will give him that. He had a go at me because he knew I could do more. He does that because he wants the best out of the players.

“The manager is the first person to praise us when we do well. You can’t be happy with the praise and cry about the negatives.”

Lennon said: “They know they dropped their standards a long way on Saturday but in terms of character, they have that in abundance.”

On tonight’s game, he added: “The important thing is to win and if we win ugly, then I will take that. It will be physical and I think the tempo of the game will be up a notch from the last one because the pitch dictated the tempo as well.”

Hearts midfielder Don Cowie acknowledged the importance of tonight’s match from his club’s point of view. He said: “A club of our size, we need to be challenging for trophies, getting to semi-finals and finals.

"There’s extra motivation with it being against your rivals and what it means to everybody in the city, but we need to start challenging to win trophies, we want to be in Europe.

“This club is on the way up, between the training ground and the stadium. Everything is geared towards us being successful and we need to do that on the pitch as well.”

Cowie, who was in the Hearts side that lost the replay last season, went on: “It’s a special game. Before I joined the club, it was just a case of watching it on TV and you think it’s a big game, but until you’re actually playing in it you realise just how big it is.

“We had a fans event on Sunday and it just reiterated that. It means everything, and we’re all aware of that.
“It’s a big game, it’s going to be fierce, a big rivalry. The Tynecastle pitch didn’t help last week. Hibs came with a game plan, they were a bit more physical than they normally are, played a bit longer. They just played the conditions better than we did.

“By all accounts, Easter Road is in better condition, so hopefully it will be a better game.

“Hibs have shown that they’re capable of beating Premiership teams, they’ve done it countless times, and we’re well aware of that. I just feel that if we play to our best, we’ve got better players.”

After going on to win the trophy last year, Hibs  made the most of their long overdue cup success and spent a year touring the trophy around Edinburgh and surrounding areas.

Former Inverness, Watford and Cardiff player Cowie conceded that their city rivals “were entitled to that” and looked forward to renewing 
the derby rivalry in the Ladbrokes Premiership 
as soon as possible.

Cowie said:”It was a great achievement. They got to two finals last year while playing in the Championship so you’ve got to take your hat off to them.

“They’re a very good team and it would be great for the city if they could get promoted and next season we’d have even more derbies.
“But the most important thing for us is that we win the game tonight.”