Hibs midfielder relishing Tynecastle showdown with Hearts despite crowd remarks

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To Hibs supporters, John McGinn’s football is a thing of beauty. However, the Scotland internationalist admits he will thrive on the inevitable harsh remarks from Hearts fans about his appearance in this evening’s Tynecastle derby.

The Leith side will attempt to at least extend their unbeaten run in this fixture to nine matches when they make the short trip across the capital.

With the new £15 million main stand now open, the fiercely contested clash will be played before a crowd touching 20,000 and Scotland internationalist McGinn insists he relishes going into the lion’s den – even though the home supporters do everything they can to try and make it an uncomfortable experience.

That includes mocking the 23-year-old’s looks but McGinn insists it just spurs him on.

He said: “They’re brilliant. Personally you want to play in the big games, that’s why I came to a club like Hibs, getting back into the top flight, playing in sellout games.

“And going to places like Tynecastle, where you’re so close to the crowd, you get reminded how ugly you are and stuff like that.

“I remember when I was at St Mirren someone called me the ugliest thing they had seen at Tynecastle – and two minutes later I scored, it was brilliant.

“I just laugh it off – I agree with them most of the time

“You get a lot of banter and certainly a lot of the boys I know thrive on it. They enjoy it.

“The wall of noise when you hear when you walk out the tunnel – it blows you away.

“Being from the west, it’s made out to be nowhere near the size of the Old Firm derby.

“But the experiences I have had, I have been very lucky in that I haven’t lost one yet. It has been great.

“When you drive past the Tynecastle Arms and all the Hibs fans are out steaming already and you think: “It’s 10am, calm it”.

“It is amazing and you want to just skip the handshakes and get going.

“The atmosphere is different class.

“We also have the Scottish cup game in a few weeks to look forward to.”

Marked man

McGinn’s reputation as one of Scotland’s brightest young talents will ensure that his threat will not have gone unnoticed by Hearts manager Craig Levein.

But the dynamic player insists he is learning to deal with becoming a marked man.

He added: “A lot of teams have noticed what I do so it is up to myself to adapt to that.

“That is what all the top players do and if you want to be the best you know you are going to get marked.

“That caught me off guard the past few games but I am aware that it is going to happen now.

“I have worked on it with the coaching staff here.

“It is brilliant for me and I take it is a compliment but at the same time no matter who you come up against you need to prove that you are a good player.

“I need to be aware of who my marker is and you need to take them away and create space for a teammate.

“If someone is going to spend a whole game marking you then there may be games when I will have to sacrifice myself for the team.

“We have all the video analysis to show me that and it is a great learning tool.”

Transfer window

McGinn was the subject of a failed bid from Mark Warburton’s Nottingham Forest during the summer transfer window and Hibs head coach Neil Lennon is bracing himself for further offers in January.

But the former St Mirren player insists he is becoming immune to the attention he attracts.

He said: “I am used it now.

“Over the past three or four windows the speculation has been quite rife.

“People keep texting me and telling me all sorts of things are happening.

“I have said before that I am very happy at Hibs and I am developing as a player.

“I still have a way to go before I am the complete player.

“Down the line I have got ambitions to test myself at a higher level.

“I won’t be rushing into that and if it means waiting to the summer or beyond that then I’d be more than willing to do that.”

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