ALLAN Johnston fears Hibs will be riding the crest of a wave when they host his Dunfermline side still on a high from their Scottish Cup triumph over Hearts.
Johnston was at Easter Road on Wednesday night to take in Hibs’ ‘ferocious’ 3-1 victory over their Edinburgh rivals but also saw Saturday’s opponents turn in a disappointing display in drawing 1-1 with Raith Rovers last weekend.
That performance drew stinging criticism from manager Neil Lennon but the public dressing down drew the perfect response against Hearts.
Johnston would love Hibs’ inconsistency to return this weekend but insists the Pars must be prepared for the capital outfit starting where they left off against Hearts.
The Fifers manager told @CCP_sport: “Hibs played really well against Hearts and I’ve now seen them in the last two games, because I saw them against Raith Rovers last weekend as well.
“They’ve got a lot of good players and there’s going to be a massive crowd. I’m sure they’ll get a big lift after playing like that and getting a victory against their rivals.
“So, we’ve got to make sure we start the game right and play at our very best.
“It’s a totally different game, with a totally different atmosphere.
“But I’m sure they’ll come out of the blocks really fast after getting the momentum of the other night. We’ve got to make sure we handle that and try to frustrate them.
“Hibs are big favourites and we’re going to their place, so it would be a great game to pick up a win.”
Dunfermline were idle last weekend because of the Irn-Bru Cup semi-finals and are still stewing over their own Scottish Cup exit against Hamilton Accies in their replay 10 days ago.
The Pars looked to be heading for the quarter-finals, and a money-spinning tie against Rangers at Ibrox, but lost out in a penalty shoot-out after Accies were awarded a controversial late spot-kick equaliser to take the game to extra-time.
Johnston admits the defeat still hurts but he is hopeful his side can take confidence from being able to more than match Premiership opponents in over three hours of cup football.
He added: “We did enough to win the game against Accies and the boys were rightly frustrated. We should have been in the next round.
“We need to take the performance into the Hibs game, because they played so well.
“We showed we can compete at that level, and Hibs are a like a Premiership team. We know we’ll have to be at that level again.”
Johnston was forced to cancel training on Thursday when players and staff got caught up in the travel chaos that hit the country with the heavy snowfall of Storm Doris.
However, he commented: “We’ve been doing really well and it won’t affect us. We’ve been playing well and defending well, so we’ve just got to keep doing that.”