In an era where a footballer's every conceivable output can be monitored and measured, the heat of a derby is among the last remaining unquantifiable metrics.

As of yet, no one has quite fashioned a model or algorithm to predict exactly how a human being will react to the sensory overload of a hostile crowd, to the crushing weight of an entire fanbase's hopes and dreams on their shoulders. Until that day, these occasions will continue to be sink or swim environments.

An experienced CV helps, of course, yet it is no guarantee that a person will not buckle when the opposition swarms on them, when that knot in the stomach evolves into a dull weight in the legs. For Nick Montgomery, though, there is no better indicator than knowing he manages players who have stepped into career cauldrons without melting.

The Hibs manager could hand Edinburgh derby debuts to the likes of Myziane Maolida and Emiliano Marcondes at Tynecastle on Wednesday evening, and such is his faith that his January recruits can deal with what awaits them that he does not feel compelled to forewarn them of the battle to come. The last time he took his team to Gorgie, they picked themselves off the canvas to a point from being 2-0 down, and he firmly believes that proves they have the character to go one better this time.

READ MORE: How Myziane's brilliance inspired Hibs' victory over Dundee

“Look, there’s players who have come in [who have played in big atmospheres]," said Montgomery. "Myziane has scored for his national team against Ghana in front of 100,000 people. Marcondes scored the winner in the Championship play-off final, the biggest game in English football in terms of promoting a team to the Premier League.

“I don’t need to tell them. They know all about it. When you walk the streets, you hear people talking about the derby, so you always learn how to deal with emotion – and there is a lot of emotion in it.

“But it’s a game of football, and what you can’t do is get carried away with that emotion. You saw that in the last two games, there’s been a lot of frantic periods but whenever it settles down you see both teams’ identity come into play.

“You can’t play frantic for 90 minutes. You learn a lot about the staff and the team, and what I learned was at Tynecastle we came back from 2-0 down, the first time the club has done that for four-and-a-half years.

“I learned a lot about the players’ character that night. In the derby at home, I don’t think we got the result our performance deserved.

“But now this is another opportunity, and we will go there full of confidence and hopefully continue this momentum."

Montgomery is categorical that Hearts are facing not only a very different Hibs from the Tynecastle draw in October, but also from the side they beat at Easter Road in the final days of 2023. Seven new faces arrived on Leith in the month following, and the squad has a much healthier look about it.

"It is a different Hibs team," Montgomery said. "The fact is for a lot of the season we did not really have a big squad, we were hampered by a lot of injuries. Even when I came into the club I think there were five long term injuries out from the first team and after that last game we lost a lot of players to international duty.

"Since everyone has come back and the January window, when we made seven signings and seven moved out, for sure it is a different proposition. I think we brought a lot of quality into the front third. You need to score goals  to win games of football and that’s something we worked really  hard to do.

"Backing from the football board and the Gordon family allowed me to make changes and it probably was quite drastic in terms of seven players – I don’t think there’s many teams who have brought seven players in and moved seven out, but I thought it was necessary. It has given us a real good chance to finish the season strongly."

Like plenty others this season, Hibs were undone by a single swing of Lawrence Shankland's boot the last time these teams met, and it still stings that it came after keeping him in check for over 90 minutes. And while Montgomery is more concerned by his own gameplan, he knows his team can't afford to let the Hearts captain out of their a sight for even a moment.

"He's one of the best strikers in the league," said the manager. "There are plenty of games where he's been the difference between two teams - we know that. He's a quality player. Last time we kept him quiet until the 94th minute.

“We pay attention to ourselves, but they have good individuals – not just Lawrence Shankland. He’s been a focal point for them, and the stats tell you that you have to keep him quiet. But the defenders know that.

“There’s some good strikers in this league, so what you can’t do is give any time and space in the box to players that can punish you. It’s about us, we always focus on ourselves but still give respect to the opposition.