Saturday, 1 May 2010
Hibernian 1 Heart of Midlothian 2
Clydesdale Bank SPL, Saturday 1 May 2010 - Easter Road
It can be infuriating being a Hearts fan. Last week the team were, by all accounts, quite awful and looked to have thrown away their chances of playing in the Europa League next season after a dismal 2-0 defeat at home to Motherwell. Seven days later - and having had a few choice words thrown at them from manager Jim Jefferies - Hearts deservedly took the plaudits and three points from the latest Edinburgh derby.
After last week's defeat, Jefferies made four changes to the team - with Michael Stewart not only strippedof the captaincy but, it would appear, from the manager's plans for the boys in maroon. Certainly there was no sign of the former Manchester United player at Easter Road. Jefferies brought back Larry Kingston, Ryan Stevenson, Ian Black and David Templeton.
On a surface which wasn't the best, Hearts at least tried to pass the ball. Their most notable effort was a thirty yard rasping effort from Kingston which smacked off the post with home keeper Smith well beaten. Hibs played like a team that had lost their last five league games but a goalless first half was about right. However, the opening goal arrived ten minutes into the second period - and had controversy written all over it. Hibs Rankin ambled into the penalty area when Zaliukas went to challenge before thinking twice about tackling inside the box. As the Lithuanian moved back the former Caley Thistle player took a step forward before falling to the ground - penalty said referee Dougie MacDonald, a man who has been rumoured to have Hibernian tendencies. Stokes duly despatched the ball past Jamie MacDonald and the home team were ahead.
Spurred on by this obvious injustice, Hearts then took control of the game. On 72 minutes Hearts substitute Calum Elliot got on to a flick from Obua to lay the ball into the path of fellow sub Suso Santana and the Spaniard drilled the ball into an unguarded net to level the scores. Knowing only a win would do to keep their Euro ambitions alive, Hearts drove forward for the winner. It came with just two minutes left.
The impressive Templeton swung in yet another dangerous cross which the Hibs keeper flapped at. The ball fell at the feet of the unmarked Obua who lashed it home from four yards for the winner.
They may have left it late but Hearts thoroughly deserved the win which now moves them to within three points of Hibernian. Hearts final two games are at Tynecastle - against Dundee United on Wednesday and Celtic a week on Sunday. Hibs have to play Motherwell and Dundee United away. Getting fifth place in the SPL and the possibility of European football next season remains an uphill task for Hearts - but their hopes are still alive.
That's two wins and two draws for Hearts against the wee team this season - normal service has been restored in the Edinburgh derby!