sport

Sutton cools power shift talk

Hearts striker John Sutton believes it is too early for people to talk of the Jambos' demise and Hibs being the dominant force in Edinburgh.

Hearts, languishing at the wrong end of a congested Scottish Premier League table and in turmoil off the field, host Hibs on Thursday in their first match of 2013 and the final fixture before the two-week winter break.

Hibs, who lost 5-1 to Hearts in the Scottish Cup final in May, are more resilient this term after battling relegation in recent seasons and last month beat the holders in the fourth round of this year's competition.

Hibs' last Scottish Cup win was in 1902, exacerbating the pain of the Hampden loss, and Sutton was quick to point that out, while also noting Hearts have a Scottish League Cup semi-final to play at the end of this month.

"I think 'power shift' is a bit strong," the Hearts striker said.

"At the end of the season if they're in second and we're where we are at the moment, they've won the Scottish Cup and we haven't done very well in the League Cup, maybe you can talk about it then. It's premature at the moment.

"Certainly they're a different proposition to play against this year. They are a lot more difficult side to play against. I think the results have shown that this season."

Sutton hopes Hearts, who had not lost in 12 derbies until the cup defeat, can go into the two-week hiatus on a high.

The striker said: "It's a big game. It would be a nice one to get a good result in, with the time off afterwards, give everyone a bit of confidence and put everyone in a good mood for a few weeks."

Sutton is happy with his contribution after starting regularly in recent weeks.

"I've felt I've done a reasonable job and hopefully that will continue," he added.