Hibs 1-0 Hearts16 April 2023
Kevin Nisbet’s second-half strike was enough to separate the sides on a disappointing afternoon for the boys in maroon.
It wasn’t an ideal start to proceedings at Easter Road: Michael Smith was an early casualty, replaced by Nathaniel Atkinson after tweaking his hamstring trying to bring down a loose ball. The opening stanza was, typically, a fiercely contested battle in the middle of the park.
Joe Newell fashioned out the first big opportunity of the game, his free-kick from the right-side of the Dunbar End failing to find any takers in a green and white shirt. Moments later, Hearts hit back on the counter – Atkinson’s cutback for Alan Forrest was dragged wide after a gut-bursting run forward from the winger. There were suggestions that it took a touch off a Hibs shirt on the way out, but the referee awarded a goal kick.
Barrie McKay carved out a good opportunity after showing some nifty footwork to get down the left side: his cross found Shankland at the first go, before Devlin and Grant attempted to follow up on the rebound – with Hibs scrambling to get the ball to safety in the nick of time.
After his heroics in the previous derby at Tynecastle, Zander Clark produced more of the good stuff on his return to the starting line-up. Youan found himself with space in the Hearts area, with Zander getting a leg out in time to batter the ball away from danger with 25 minutes played.
Halliday was next to try his luck, connecting his head to McKay’s corner which forced a scrambling save from Marshall at the back post. After a period of both sides enjoying spells with the ball, the capital clubs went into the break with all to play for in the second 45.
HALF-TIME: HIBERNIAN 0-0 HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN
With no changes for either side after the break, Hearts weathered an early storm as battle resumed. Youan again found himself with a generous amount of space in the area, with Clark again coming up with a fine reaction stop to smother the shot.
Kevin Nisbet was up next: cutting inside down the right side, twisting and turning past Kye Rowles before flashing a curling effort wide of target. After another spell of pressure for the hosts, the first goal arrived for Hibs on 66 minutes.
In the midst of a goalmouth scramble from the corner, Kevin Nisbet jumped on the loose ball before rifling his shot high into the top of the net.
Substitute Stephen Humphrys led the response as Hearts attempted to hit back – his run deep into the Hibs box culminating in his low effort being cannoned away by Marshall who composed himself to gather the ball when Humphrys came back for more.
With time dragging on and just minutes left to play – Hearts couldn’t find a breakthrough and left empty-handed.
Hibs: Marshall, Egan-Riley, Fish, Hanlon, Jeggo, Doyle-Hayes (Campbell 70’), Stevenson, Cadden, Newell, Youan, Nisbet (Kuharevich 73’)
Subs: Johnson, Miller, Cabraja, Hoppe, Devlin, Henderson, McKirdy, Campbell, Kuharevich
Hearts: Clark, Smith (Atkinson 3’), Rowles, Sibbick, Kingsley, Devlin, Halliday (Kio 73’), Grant (Cochrane 73’), Forrest (Humphrys 60’), McKay, Shankland
Subs: Stewart, Haring, Kiomourtzoglou, Atkinson, Cochrane, Humphrys, Kuol, Hill, Oda