Nick Montgomery is a man with plenty of experience in derby matches, but no particular liking for living in the past. It is all about the here and now for the Hibs head coach as he prepares to lead his side into battle against their city rivals. 

The Easter Road side haven't tasted victory in Gorgie since Boxing Day 2019 but that length of time without a win at Tynecastle doesn't bother the former Central Coast Mariners boss. 

“I wasn’t here then, so that doesn’t matter to me. My focus is on 2023. There is a lot of history for both clubs but it doesn’t matter what went before."

So no room for your 22 in a row, John 'Hammer of the Hibs' Robertson's 27 goals, the 5-1 cup final, the 6-2 at Easter Road, the 7-0 on New Year's Day, or the Millennium derby. And yet it's a refreshing approach to the Scottish game. Plenty of managers have come and gone at Hibs; some who tasted victory as a player and as a manager, some who were unbeaten as both, and others who endured a mix bag of results. But not even the post-match rammy that marred the end of the previous meeting between the two rivals back in late May and resulted in a fine and two red cards for each team can shift Montgomery off track.

“The game is ultimately going to be decided on the field not by having an argument in the dugout," he said, pragmatically. “Sometimes you just can’t help and emotions take over. Sometimes something silly is said that winds you up. I’m sure we will try to be respectful for everybody and the game is the most important thing, not the two benches."

But don't mistake that approach for one of meekness. Montgomery is, he tells us, 'a winner'. And not only that, he 'loves a challenge and a battle'. He sounds tailor-made for the rough and tumble, the kick and rush, the tit-for-tat of an Edinburgh derby. This, after all, is a man who grew up supporting Leeds against bitter rivals Manchester United, and as a player experienced the Steel City Derby many times over. This is not a man who needs any introduction to the importance of getting a result at Tynecastle for those of a green and white persuasion.

There is the potential for so many sub-plots to this game. Hibs' unbeaten run under Montgomery is at stake, Hearts could do with a victory to kickstart their season, and there are the usual city bragging rights at stake. 

But there is a nagging feeling that, while Montgomery is giving off the impression that the preparation for this game is no different to a match against Dundee, Livingston, or Celtic, the reality behind the scenes is very different. It may not be quite at the level of Neil Warnock's infamous, 'You've got to f***ing die to get three points' rant - which Montgomery experienced as a player -but given all that the new manager has said and done since his arrival in terms of changing the culture at the club, instructing the players to act like they are at a big club, bringing in motivational speakers, focusing on improving things step by step, it would be no surprise if outwardly, it's business as usual but in the inner sanctum of the Hibernian Training Centre, there's a little bit more edge to the preparations for this game. 

Different managers approach different games in different ways. Montgomery's predecessor Lee Johnson, perhaps because he had experienced the Edinburgh derby as a player, bigged it up until it was a gargantuan episode in the season and then, when his side was on the wrong end of a 3-0 drubbing at new year, launched into an impassioned broadside at his players, previous decisions made by the club, and what he felt was a 'malaise' lingering around the training centre. 

Montgomery's softly, softly approach may just be key to players shutting out the noise. Because while preparing for this game in the same way as any other might be crucial to getting the best out of his team, being able to treat it as the white-hot occasion that it is once they cross the white line might be key to getting a result. As he said himself: "When the whistle blows and you cross that white line, it's a battle, and the players are battling for three points and the fans' bragging rights, so obviously there is a bit extra. It's definitely a case of staying calm and making sure that emotion doesn't go on to the pitch."