BEN WILLIAMS has revealed Terry Butcher is not the brains behind Hibernian’s revival – but psychology guru David Yeoman.
Rod Petrie might have been seen to pull off a masterstroke by appointing the former Caley Thistle manager in November.
But Easter Road keeper Williams reckons that ensuring Butcher brought his shrink with him has been the real work of genius.
He said: “The manager is a very positive person and he’s keen to get across the importance of psychology in football.
“It plays a massive part. It doesn’t have to work for everybody. For the few that it does, though, it only takes minor improvements for each individual and then the collective group can take a giant step forward.
“It’s all about having the confidence to enjoy the game, express yourself and get the best out of yourself as a player.
“Goalkeeper is a specialist position and you are under an immense amount of pressure. If you make a mistake, it’s a goal.
“I’ve had to develop a thick skin, a mental strength to deal with any negatives so I buy into the value of positive thinking and having a positive mentality.
“Footballers thrive on confidence and self-belief. The best players in the world have that in abundance and are able to go out and express that.”
There is no denying Butcher has already forged a stronger mentality at Easter Road since taking over from Pat Fenlon.
Hibs have lost just one game out of seven under the Englishman – a narrow 1-0 defeat at table-toppers Celtic – and they go into tonight’s derby on the back of two straight wins over Ross County and Kilmarnock.
Williams added: “There is no extra focus with it being a derby. We will approach it the same way we approach every other game.
“We have to recognise the momentum we’ve built up, focus on the positives we’ve taken from the seven games the new management team have been in charge and take that into this game. Our aim is to win the game, please the fans and send everyone home happy.
“The improved mood comes with results. All footballers thrive on confidence. When that’s there, they play much better.
“It’s a simple formula – but it’s not easy to pull off. I think we’ve worked hard at creating that mood here over the last seven games.
“The manager, and us as players, have put the hard work in and really grafted for the results that have put us in this position.”
The last time the two sides met was also at Easter Road in October and Hearts came out on top that night.
But Terry Butcher won’t be banging a drum about avenging that League Cup defeat. Williams said: “If you get caught up in emotions like revenge it’s never good.
“Revenge is a negative emotion and you shouldn’t focus on a negative feeling going into a game.”
The fans were certainly left feeling pretty negative after the 1-0 home defeat
to Gary Locke’s kids in the League Cup quarter-final and Williams admits he understood their anger.
He said: “We could sense their frustration. I’ve never been in a position like that before in football in terms of demonstrations outside the ground. It’s not nice to see but you can empathise with the fans.
“But they’ve got a lot more to look forward to now.
“The team’s working incredibly hard. The self-belief’s there and we’re looking to win every game we go into.”