On this day eight years ago, Hearts hosted Hibs in the final league derby of the 2011/12 season.
Unbeknownst to everyone at the time, the game would serve as a prelude to the Scottish Cup Final. Eight days prior to this match, Hearts had drawn 2-2 with St Mirren in the quarter-finals, and three days later would beat them 2-0 in Paisley.
The Jambos sat sixth in the SPL table while Hibs were second bottom, four points ahead of Dunfermline in last place.
Form was patchy heading into this game. The aforementioned draw with St Mirren was preceded by a superb 2-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox, though that was the men in maroon’s first league victory in six.
Across the city Hibs had disposed of Ayr United to reach the Scottish Cup semis but they had only one SPL win in five.
Both sides would go into this match with players missing through suspension – Hearts were without the services of captain Marius Zaliukas while Ivan Sproule and Isaiah Osbourne were missing for Hibs.
First team coach Gary Locke addressed the media at the pre-match press conference earlier in the week, and although Hearts were nine derby games unbeaten heading into this one, he didn’t believe past results counted for anything.
“There is no point looking back, you've got to look forward,” he said. “This Sunday is a big game. I think this will be a different derby to the last couple.
“It’s another difficult game. Hibs have picked up under Pat Fenlon and Billy Brown and have had a few good results recently.”
Ryan McGowan also spoke to the press and he insisted the players knew just how much a derby victory would mean to the fans.
“I’ve been here five and half years so I know exactly what it means to the people and to the fans,” he said. “I still stay with a lady who is a diehard Hearts fan so I’d be a little bit worried going home, if we lost, going home to see her.
“There are people around the club like Darren Murray and Gary Locke who are born and bred Jambos so everyone knows exactly what the derby is about.”
Hearts: MacDonald, Grainger, Barr, Webster, Hamill, Black, Driver, Skacel, Taouil, Elliott, Beattie. Subs: Ridgers, McGowan, Santana, Robinson, Novikovas, Glen, Holt.
Hibs: Stack, Kujabi, Hanlon, McPake, Francomb, Soares, Stevenson, Claros, Wotherspoon, Griffiths, O’Donovan. Subs: Brown, Doherty, O’Connor, Doyle, Booth, O’Hanlon, Towell.
Jamie MacDonald was forced into an impressive early save, flinging himself to his right to deny David Wotherspoon but referee Craig Thomson had already blown for a foul inside the box, with Tom Soares climbing on top of Danny Grainger.
At the other end Graham Stack had to be at his best when Andy Webster met Grainger’s corner, but his header was pushed away by the Hibs keeper.
Two moments of real quality broke the deadlock just before the half hour mark. First, Ian Black showed tremendous awareness to play a top drawer defence splitting pass for Craig Beattie, who took the touch of a lifetime to take the ball way from his marker before coolly slotting through the legs of Stack and into the back of the net.
Beattie was at it again soon after, latching onto Paul Hanlon’s poor headed clearance to hit a spectacular first-time volley from 20-yards but he fired well over the bar.
In the second half, Beattie proved his worth at the other end. George Francomb nodded Wotherspoon’s free kick across the face of goal but the Hearts striker was there to hook the ball away from the line.
Beattie once again came to the rescue, hooking Matt Doherty’s header away from the goalmouth as the visitors went in search of the equaliser.
MacDonald made a stunning save with his legs to deny Roy O’Donovan, who headed on target from Leigh Griffiths’ cross as time was beginning to run out for Hibs.
Four minutes into injury time it was game over. Grainger’s deft pass down the left found Suso Santana, who carried the ball the length of the Hibs half, cutting into the box before expertly arrowing a low shot beyond Stack and into the bottom right corner.
The win made it 10 derby games unbeaten for the Jam Tarts and closed the gap on fourth-placed Dundee United to one point. Ultimately Hearts would finish the season in 5th, while Hibs would end up in second bottom, eight points ahead of Dunfermline.
The biggest story of the season would play out on May 19th when the two sides met again in the Scottish Cup Final, with a rampant Hearts side demolishing the Hibees 5-1 at Hampden Park to lift the trophy for the eighth time.
What they said
Speaking to HeartsTV at full time, manager Paulo Sergio said: “We played fantastic football in the first half. We were solid, compact and defended well. We were waiting for the right moment to kill the game. I’m very proud of the players.”
Graeme MacPherson (The Herald): The Edinburgh derby continues to be a source of great joy for Hearts and one of unbridled misery for Hibernian.
You have to go back to May 2009, a run of 10 matches, to find the last time the Easter Road club got one over on their old rivals and goals from Craig Beattie and Suso Santana meant there would be no end to Hibs' winless drought at Tynecastle yesterday.
Stuart Bathgate (The Scotsman): Hearts have experienced their fair share of ups and downs both on and off the pitch this season, but one aspect of life at the club has remained constant: their ability to get the better of their Edinburgh rivals.
Yesterday’s win was the same score as the first derby at Tynecastle, and the same margin as the New Year game, when they were 3-1 victors at Easter Road. Indeed, not only the scores but the patterns of the games have been so similar that, if you watched recordings of them back to back, it would be easy to conclude they had been played on consecutive days.
Hibs have not been swept away by irresistible force in this season’s derbies, as they have been at times in recent years. Nor have they been undone by the goalkeeping gaffes which once plagued them in the fixture. Instead, they have simply been second best in the factors which determine the vast majority of games: talent and teamwork.
Watch all the build up, highlights and reaction on HeartsTV by clicking here.