It’s fair to say that the noteworthy action in this fixture came off the park, and not for the right reasons. League leaders Hearts hosted their bitter city rivals Hibs in the first Edinburgh derby of the season.
Hibs haven’t won at Tynecastle in their last nine visits, a run stretching back to 2013. They must’ve fancied their chances against an injury plagued Hearts.
Craig Levein made three changes from the side beaten 3-0 by Celtic at Murrayfield with two of them enforced. Steven Naismith lasted just eight minutes of that match and Steven MacLean was suspended after grabbing Kouassi Eboue’s testicles in the same game. The strike duo were replaced by Callumn Morrison and Sean Clare, handed his first start in maroon. Defensive midfielder Peter Haring was turned into a makeshift striker along with being named captain on the night. Ben Garuccio replaced Demi Mitchell at left back in the Jambos’ other change.
Neil Lennon’s Hibernian hadn’t played since their 4-2 defeat at the hands of Hearts’ opponents on Sunday, Celtic. Daryl Horgan and Emerson Hyndman both started that day, they were to be replaced by Steven Whittaker and Marvin Bartley, captaining the Hibees on this occasion as Hibs went 5-3-2.
The first real effort on goal came from the Jambos
Jimmy Dunne played a long free-kick forward, looking for Callumn Morrison. Efe Ambrose won the aerial duel of the two but the ball nearly fell to Hearts’ makeshift centre forward Peter Haring. An interception from Mark Milligan landed straight at the feet of Olly Lee. His so called weaker left footed shot stung the palms of Adam Bogdan in goal. The Hungarian taking no chances and diving to his right to turn Lee’s effort behind.
Olly Lee’s inswinger was then met by an acrobatic effort from Clevid Dikamona. The Congolese centre back is yet to score for Hearts. It would have been some way to open his account, flashing over the crossbar.
Mallan the menace
Everybody is aware of Stevie Mallan’s quality from dead ball situations and the Hibees nearly took the lead when his corner was met by Darren McGregor with a back post header. Unfortunately, however, that effort went into the side netting.
Mallan was next to try his luck, rattling an effort off the top of the crossbar after killing Marvin Bartley’s pass dead before flashing a free kick onto the bar with Zlamal beaten. Twice in quick succession the woodwork was denying Hibs from going in front.
Martin Boyle also headed wide after his strike partner Florian Kamberi had found Vykintas Slivka. Slivka clipped into the box looking to find the Scottish-born Australia international with a header, but he glanced wide of the goal at the Gorgie end.
Boyle was also inches away from giving Hibs the lead shortly after. Efe Ambrose headed into the box and after Steven Whittaker nodded on. Boyle had to outsretch but couldn’t make contact which surely would have had Hibs in front.
Hibs down to ten men
The first major talking point of the second period was Florian Kamberi’s sending off. Hibs were reduced to ten men with the Swiss striker’s first booking being for persistent fouling and the second coming for his reaction following his challenge on Oliver Bozanic. The striker scored from the spot on Hibs last visit here, the 2-1 loss towards the end of last season which denied the Cabbage finishing second.
The next talking point didn’t come on the park
Bobby Zlamal went to retrieve the ball which had been kicked away in Hibs frustration having conceded a free kick for a foul on Sean Clare. As the Czech shotstopper went to retrieve it, he hit the deck. He had appeared to have been hit in the face by a Hibernian supporter.
On the park, the next talking point came from another Olly Lee inswinger. Adam Bogdan flapped at the Englishman’s delivery and as it landed at Clevid Dikamona’s feet, the centre back was toing and froing before sending a left footed effort crashing off the post. Close to breaking the deadlock as the Jambos went in search of the opener.
A potential winner?
Hearts thought they had nicked the game in added time. This is where the next talking point would emerge. Demi Mitchell sent a long ball forward, off the bench, as Hearts looked to nick all three points. His cross found fellow substitute Craig Wighton who nodded over the onrushing Bogdan. This was after Jimmy Dunne had been beaten aerially by the Hungarian. Wighton headed on for Dikamona who sent a header goalward and as Lewis Stevenson looked to clear off the line, the ball hit the back of the net but the goal was disallowed for offside.
The second time in as many games for Hearts, much to the pleasure of Neil Lennon who taunted the home support in the new main stand, only for the Hibs manager to be struck by a coin in the chest. Not the first time he has suffered as an away manager at Tynecastle, remembering the time he was struck by a Hearts fan who ran onto the pitch. A horror showing on the park, a poor game served up by these two. What’s worse though, were the antics off the field of play and in the stands.
Both clubs released a statement on the behaviour of supporters. Both managers were embarrassed by what’s gone on in the stands. Ultimately, that distracted us from a poor game of football. Next up, Hearts travel to Parkhead as second plays first. Hibs are in the capital, welcoming St Johnstone to Easter Road.