Hearts were beaten 2-0 by city rivals Hibs at Easter Road this afternoon.
A first-half goal from Jason Cummings was all that separated the two sides right up until the 90th minute, when Farid El Alagui doubled the Hibees’ lead, as this season’s Edinburgh derby unbeaten run came to an end for the men in maroon.
Robbie Neilson made seven changes to the side that beat Alloa 3-0 midweek; Neil Alexander, Kevin McHattie, Alim Ozturk, Miguel Pallardo, Jamie Walker, Osman Sow and Genero Zeefuik were all in from the start.
The game started at customary breakneck speed, with both sides playing out the majority in the middle third of the park.
Hearts almost got through the Hibs defence after ten minutes when Walker dummied Sow’s pass and the ball ran through to Zeefuik, but he was outmuscled by Paul Hanlon as Mark Oxley rushed out to collect.
Moments later Cummings did well to keep possession in the Hearts box before teeing up Fraser Fyvie, though his placed shot flew inches over the crossbar.
The Hibees then rattled the bar, courtesy of Callum Paterson’s defensive header from a cross into the six-yard box. The resultant corner was cleared away from in front of the goal-line by Adam Eckersley, as the home side enjoyed a dominant few minutes.
Alexander was at his best to deny Cummings on 25 minutes. The Hibs frontman peeled away from Danny Wilson in the box and curled an effort goal-ward, but the Hearts no. 1 pounced to his right to palm the ball away.
Just before the half hour mark, Hibs opened the scoring. The Jambos failed to clear their lines from Fyvie’s corner and the ball was flicked back into the unmarked Cummings on the edge of the six-yard box, and he simply tapped into an empty net.
Robbie mixed it up before half-time, bringing on Sam Nicholson for McHattie as Hearts reverted back to a more familiar 4-2-3-1.
Hibs almost doubled their lead before the break when Fontaine’s rocket shot from 18-yards crashed off the crossbar, and Hearts could count themselves lucky not to be going in more than a goal down.
The Jambos started the second-half a different side, looking much more confident and assured. Ten minutes in, Walker’s long-range drive from 25-yards was touched over the bar by Oxley.
The hosts passed up a golden opportunity to double their lead after the hour mark. A ball into the box found El Alagui, who had sprung the offside trap, but his soft touch allowed Alexander to gather, much to the Hibs striker’s dismay.
Billy King replaced Zeefuik for the final 13 minutes and Hearts immediately went close; Nicholson tore down left before finding Sow in the middle, but his low drive was blocked by Oxley.
There was to be no repeat of last time’s dramatic ending, as Franck Djedje’s 90th minute through-ball found El Alagui unmarked and he had time to take a touch before dinking over Alexander and into the net, which consigned the champions to their first Edinburgh derby defeat of the season.
Hibs: Oxley, Forster, Hanlon, Fontaine, Stevenson, Boyle, McGeouch, Fyvie, Allan, El Alagui, Cummings (Malonga, 68' - Djedje, 86')). Subs: Cerny, Craig, Stanton, Handling, Dunsmore.
Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, McHattie (Nicholson, 37'), Wilson, Ozturk, Gomis, Walker, Pallardo, Sow, Zeefuik (King, 77'), Eckersley. Subs: Gallacher, El Hassnaoui, Keatings, Anderson, McKay.
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Top man: Osman Sow