Hearts legend Gary Mackay has urged his old club to show some derby fight in a bid to end their winless rut in Wednesday’s Scottish Cup replay at Hibs.
The retired midfielder, who holds the record for most appearances in a maroon jersey, was part of the team that enjoyed a 22-game unbeaten run against their bitter Edinburgh rivals.
The current side are without a victory over their Leith counterparts in six matches ahead of Wednesday’s fifth round Easter Road showdown.
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro hopes his team can outplay Hibs but Mackay also wants to see the players roll up their sleeves.
He said: “I want to see genuine passion from the Hearts players. I believe the ability to simply be fired up has been lacking from Hearts in recent Edinburgh derbies and I feel passion is still a crucial factor.
“Derbies are about winning in whatever manner you can and that’s it. If it’s not pretty then you will accept it.
“The longer the run goes on the harder it becomes to break, and the sooner that Hearts break this run then the better it is for the club and the supporters.
“I can only imagine how difficult it would have been for the likes of (former Hibs players) Mickey Weir and the Gordon Hunter during the 80s and 90s when Hearts had that unbeaten run.”
The Edinburgh rivals fought out a goal-less draw on a rutted Tynecastle pitch nine days ago and Mackay insists establishing your dominance at the start of the tie is imperative.
He added: “I think it will be frantic, they are always are but it’s about winning the right to play, and that starts in the first 20 minutes, half an hour.
“Easter Road is a good surface to go and do that. But if you don’t then it could become a really difficult 90, 120 minutes.
“Winning the right to play, winning tackles, getting the ball and then passing it, you won’t be able to do that without winning your individual battles all over the pitch.
“Ian Cathro has got a style that he wants to put in place but ultimately, no matter what kind of style you put in place, it’s about winning football matches.”