It was honours even between Hearts and Hibs in the New Year’s derby at Tynecastle.
The visiting side took an early lead through Jason Cummings, but were pegged back by a stunning Jamie Walker hit.
The Jambos headed into the first Edinburgh derby of 2015 with two changes from the side that beat Livingston last Saturday; in came Walker and Miguel Pallardo for Billy King and Jason Holt, who both dropped to the bench.
Hearts almost got off to the worst possible start after only 30 seconds when Alim Ozturk gifted possession to Cummings at the edge of the box, but his drive was blocked and then collected by Neil Alexander.
Nerves looked to play a part as the men in maroon hit misplaced passes and gave the ball away on more than one occasion. The visitors certainly looked the more settled team, and Liam Craig’s 10th-minute free-kick deflected up into the arms of Alexander.
You could sense it was coming and after 23 minutes it did; Hibs took the lead. Allan bombed down the left and whipped in a perfect cross for Cummings to slide in and knock beyond Alexander from inside the six-yard box.
Cummings nearly got his second on the half-hour mark. Lewis Stevenson’s deep cross found the Hibs frontman unmarked in the box but he couldn’t steer his header on target.
Hearts did threaten two minutes later when Sam Nicholson skinned Stevenson to send over a cross, and though Mark Oxley got a touch to it, the ball fell to Walker who stabbed wide from just inside the box.
A moment of sheer brilliance saw Hearts get back on level terms, and it was courtesy of Walker. With five minutes until half-time, Adam Eckersley’s short pass inside saw Walker collect and from 20 yards out and he rifled an unstoppable shot past Oxley and into the top corner.
The second-half started with the men in maroon looking a bit more like their usual selves; passing from the back and exploiting the wide areas. Walker continued to impress and was treated to some rough tackling for his troubles.
The Jambos grew in confidence as the half went on, with Paterson heading onto the roof of the net from Nicholson’s corner in the 66th minute.
A period of fluid passing between Prince Buaben and Paterson found Eckersley out on the left, his ball in was met by Nicholson but the winger headed clean over, under little pressure.
Hearts had Paterson to thank at the other end. Allan crossed from outside the box and with Dominque Malonga ready to pounce, the right-back’s mid-air, hang time clearance saved the day.
Both teams went on the attack in the final stages to try to grab the winner. A series of Paterson blocks kept Hibs at bay, while at the other end Buaben flashed an effort wide from 18 yards.
That was that, however, as the match ended all square. Hearts’ unbeaten run at the top of the Championship – and over their city rivals this season – continues.
Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Wilson, Ozturk, Gomis, Walker (King, 72'), Nicholson, Pallardo, Buaben (Robinson, 88'), Keatings (Oliver, 90'), Eckersley. Subs: Gallagher, Holt, McKay, McGhee.
Hibs: Oxley, Gray (Booth, 46'), Hanlon, Fontaine, Robertson, Craig, Stevenson, Handling (McGeouch, 66'), Allan, Malonga, Cummings (Boyle, 83'). Subs: Perntreau, Stanton, Heffernan, Kennedy.
Referee: Steven McLean.
Top man: Jamie Walker.