Hibernian 1-2 Heart of Midlothian
Sunday 22nd September 2019, KO 15:00 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Easter Road
Hearts came from behind to defeat Hibs and earn their first victory of the Ladbrokes Premiership season in a stunning second-half turn around.
Stevie Mallan gave Hibs the lead with a superb strike from long range just after half-time but the Jambos refused to let their heads drop and goals from Uche Ikpeazu and Aaron Hickey secured a win that was fully merited.
Craig Levein made four changes to the side that was defeated by Motherwell last weekend with returns to the side for Joel Pereira, Michael Smith and Loic Damour, while Ryo Meshino looked to build on his impressive cameo performance last weekend with his first start for the club.
The Jambos lined up in a 3-4-2-1 formation with Smith taking his place on the left of the back three while Aaron Hickey moved to right wing-back to accommodate Jake Mulraney on the left.
Hibs had the first chance of the game after seven minutes. When Sean Clare was dispossessed the home team broke forward and Stevie Mallan played a cross-field pass to Daryl Horgan, with the Irishman hitting the byline and cutting it back to Mallan at the edge of the box, but Glenn Whelan diverted it over the bar.
The game had few opportunities in the opening half hour but Hearts registered their first attempt on the 30 minute mark. Hearts worked the ball wide to Aaron Hickey via Michael Smith and Craig Halkett, and Hickey’s cross was headed just over the bar by Clare.
Into the second half, and Hibs took the lead almost immediately when the ball broke to Mallan 30 yards from goal and he fired a rocket into the top corner beyond Pereira to send Easter Road into raptures.
After the goal, Craig Levein shuffled his back and moved Smith to his more orthodox right-back position, while Callumn Morrison made his first appearance of the season replacing Clare just after the hour mark. Hibs then threatened again when Flo Kamberi’s shot was blocked by Craig Halkett, before Melker Hallberg shanked a shot wide of the post.
Hearts started to come back into the game after the substitutions and after a flurry of corners, got their equaliser. Meshino worked a short corner to Mulraney, who played it back to the Japanese for a cross at a better angle. Christophe Berra headed it down to Ikpeazu, who chested it down and somehow volleyed it back across Chris Maxwell into the net.
Moments later, Hickey got the ball wide and played it to Meshino, now becoming more involved, and he played a one-two with Mulraney before curling a shot just over the bar from around 25 yards out. Whelan was next to threaten, when Meshino teed him up at the edge of the box but the Irish international dragged his shot wide.
With seven minutes remaining, Hearts then took the lead in astonishing fashion. Meshino worked the ball wide to Ikpeazu who held the ball up and played it inside to Hickey. The 17-year-old took a touch and unleashed a shot into the top corner via a slight deflection from Josh Vela to send the away end of Easter Road into scenes of joy and mayhem.
Hibs attempted to respond and Jason Naismith headed wide at the far post following a corner, before sub Glenn Middleton skinned Mulraney and Hickey down the wing and cut inside before hitting a shot to the near post which Pereira pushed round the post for another corner for Hibs. From the corner, Christian Doidge headed towards goal but Pereira held it.
Scott Allan then tried his luck from distance, but Pereira again got down well to save the ball. From the corner, Hibs had the ball in the net when Pereira appeared to spill a corner that Doidge diverted in, but replays showed the Hibs man used his hand to punch the ball into the net and referee John Beaton correctly awarded a foul as Hibs ran out of time, while Hearts recorded a famous victory.
Hibs: Maxwell, Hanlon, Vela, Horgan (Doidge, 85'), Mallan, Stevenson, Hallberg (Middleton, 76'), Naismith, Kamberi, Allan, Porteous.
Subs: Marciano, Newell, James, Jackson, Shaw.
Hearts: Pereira, Smith (Dikamona, 88'), Berra, Clare (Morrison, 61'), Mulraney, Whelan, Ikpeazu, Damour (Irving, 65'), Halkett, Hickey, Meshino.
Subs: Doyle, Bozanic, MacLean, Keena.
Referee: John Beaton