Liam Fox believes the importance of winning derbies is steeped in the club’s culture, from the first-team right down to Academy level.
Hearts U20s saw off their city counterparts Hibs 1-0 at Ainslie Park last night, thanks to a cracking Robbie Buchanan strike.
U17s coach Liam, in charge of the U20s until January, knows that no matter the level, Edinburgh derbies are important to all concerned.
Speaking exclusively to Hearts News, he said: “The magnitude of a Hearts-Hibs game filters down to this level, and I think it’s got to.
“It’s important for the kids, whether it be an U20s game or Academy games, because people can tell you that’s its just another game but it’s not. It matters to Hearts supporters, it matters to Hibs supporters and it’s a big game.
“We don’t have them at first-team level at the moment, so for us to come out on top last night was enjoyable.”
Gale force winds made conditions tough for both teams yesterday evening, but Liam was pleased with how his side handled the occasion.
“I was absolutely delighted with the first-half performance,” he said. “We were dominant and on top. We created some decent chances and considering the conditions, I thought we passed the ball really well. We were brave and I think it came from me asking them before the game to really compete because it was a derby.
“Second balls were going to be massive and I thought that if we won the majority of them then we had good quality in the team to go on and create chances. That’s how it worked in the first half, though the second half was slightly different.
“We probably didn’t win as many second balls then, but the boys’ attitude to hard work and getting back in and defending the lead was different class.”
Liam hailed the Wee Jambos for rolling their sleeves up and getting stuck in when required, and points to hard work on the training pitch paying off.
“You can see they’re learning wee bits and pieces as they go, for example there was some game management towards the end where they kept the ball,” he stated. “It sometimes might not be pretty to watch but it was a derby. It’s good for them to get the rewards. They all want to play nice, pretty football but sometimes you need to dig things out if you’re going to be a professional footballer player, especially at this club.
“We’ve got high standards and we demand a lot of them, so it shows me that they’re learning on the training pitch and taking it into games. That’s probably the biggest plus for me.”