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EDINBURGH DUO READY FOR FINAL SAY

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EDINBURGH’S Big Two will lock horns in Glasgow this evening for the right to meet either holders Celtic or Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup Final on December 20.

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson is assessing winger Josh Ginnelly before naming his line-up for the 5pm kick-off at Hampden.

The on-loan Preston star went off early on against Arbroath a week ago, but fellow-flankers Elliott Frear and Jordan Roberts are expected to overcome knocks. Steven Naismith and Peter Haring are available, but have been used sparingly so far this season due to fitness issues.

Definitely out are Christophe Berra (Achilles) and Loic Damour (foot) while Hibs gaffer Jack Ross is also playing it cagey for the tie that was originally due in April, but had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Easter Road gaffer, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “With the opportunity to reach a Final and to potentially win a Cup, it has not been devalued at all in terms of the timing of the matches and the timing of the Final, should we reach it.”

Leith skipper Paul Hanlon added: “I think it’s going to be a massive test. They are a squad that has got good players and they have started their season well, so it is going to be a difficult game.

“But on the flip side, we have started the season great, we have got a number of games under our belt now in which we have performed well.

“It’s an Edinburgh derby and that in itself makes it a massive game, but, on top of that, being a semi-final of the national Cup, it is a huge game.

“It is a big disappointment that there won’t be any fans in the stadium, but it is a massive match for both clubs and the city. Naturally, we want to come out on top.”

MATCH STATS

* ALL three of Hearts’ scorers in March’s league win over Hibs are no longer with the club.

* HEARTS have won just one of their past five Scottish Cup meetings with Hibs, who have won two with the other games drawn.

* THE last Scottish Cup Edinburgh derby at Hampden saw a Hearts win – their 5-1 victory in the 2012 Final.

* ROBBIE NEILSON is taking charge of Hearts in an Edinburgh derby for the first time in his second spell as manager, having last been involved in the fixture in 2016.

* BOTH of Jack Ross’ derbies as Hibs boss have been won by a margin of two goals – 3-1 for Hearts in March and Hibs’ 2-0 victory in December.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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