Robertson strike and Millen red card help Hearts to derby victory Hibs duffers are made to pay the ultimate penalty
2 Jan 1997
HIBS plunged to an embarrassing derby day defeat on their own Easter Road yesterday as new manager Jim Duffy watched shellshocked from the dugout.
There was nothing Duffy could do as his players moved from one disaster to another as he took command for the first time.
He watched, obviously worried, as his players squandered chances in the first half.
He watched in agony as Hearts striker John Robertson scored his twenty-fifth goal in Edinburgh derby games.
He suffered as defender Andy Millen was ordered off for a second yellow card offence seven minutes before half-time.
Then, inside three second-half minutes, the new manager was plunged into the deepest despair.
It was in that spell that Hearts scored two more goals and ended any hopes Hibs might have had of a revival.
Ironically, Hearts' second goal came from Jim Hamilton, the striker whose sale to the Tynecastle club finally made up Duffy's mind to leave Dundee.
Then the third arrived after an amazing blunder by the most experienced player on the field, Scotland keeper Jim Leighton.
When that happened there was no way back for Hibs, and in the closing minutes, Hamilton struck once more to give Hearts their best win over their city rivals in the premier division for nine years.
Yet, believe it or not, Hibs had been the better team in a first half where they created most of the goal chances - but missed them.
There was a shot from Darren Jackson which was stopped by Gilles Rousset in 29 minutes and two minutes after that, Hibs went even closer to going in front.
Pat McGinlay sent in a low drive from 25 yards which struck the base of a post and then spun away to go behind.
Yet, within a minute, Hibs were a goal down, and they found themselves victims once more to striker Robertson.
It was the first direct shot on goal but, while Hibs had missed their opportunities, Robertson was given just that one, and he scored.
Gary Mackay sent Colin Cameron clear on the right.
He moved the ball on to young David Murie, who crossed.
There was Robertson lurking on his own just inside the penalty box.
He rifled a low shot past Leighton and into goal, and Hearts were ahead.
In 36 minutes, Rousset saved well from another McGinlay drive, and then Hibs' luck ran out once more.
Millen, who had been booked for a trip on Hamilton after only 11 minutes, fouled the same player once more.
The referee walked over, took out a yellow card and followed that with a red.
Before half-time Gary Naysmith cleared a Darren Jackson shot off the line and it seemed that Hibs were just to have no luck.
However, even the Hearts support who celebrated at half-time could not have forecast the blows which were still to fall.
In 62 minutes the Tynecastle men went further ahead.
This time Paul Ritchie had moved forward to help in one of the increasingly frequent attacks.
He shot from almost 30 yards, the ball struck a defender and was deflected across the penalty box.
Colin Cameron collected it, played it in to the near post, and Hamilton was there to steer a shot out of Leighton's reach and into the net.
Three minutes later Leighton's blunder came, and Hibs went three down.
The keeper dribbled the ball out of his penalty box, and then inexplicably delayed his clearance.
Hamilton raced in and blocked the ball as Leighton attempted to send it upfield.
Again it broke for Hearts, and again it broke to Cameron.
He looked up, sent his shot for the empty goal and Leighton was left to watch it drop under the bar as he stood stranded on the 18-yard line.
Hibs put on Chris Jackson and Graeme Donald, and took off Keith Wright and Brian Grant in the 72 minutes.
Nine minutes from the end, Ray Wilkins appeared to replace Kevin Harper, but in 87 minutes Hearts scored again.
Hamilton had now taken over from Robertson as the main executioner.
The veteran front man had remained in the dressing room at half-time, allowing Neil McCann to take over.
Hamilton then took it upon himself to score his second, and to add the fourth.
This time, a bad clearance from Willie Miller gave him the chance and he blasted a shot into the net with Leighton once more helpless.
The other bookings in the game were for Harper for a vicious tackle on Mackay, and for Hearts' Dave McPherson and David Murie.
Next Fixtures: Hibs - Rangers (h).
Hearts - Raith Rovers (a).
TURNING POINT THE sending off of Andy Millen gave Hearts a telling advantage in this derby at Easter Road.
When Millen went for a second bookable offence - both committed against Hearts striker Jim Hamilton - Hibs had gone a goal behind and, with 10 men, they simply had no chance of ever fighting their way back to give manager Jim Duffy even the faint hope of a reasonable result in his first game in charge.