|Report Index--> 2008-09--> All for 20090103|
|<-Page||<-Team||Sat 03 Jan 2009 Hearts 0 Hibernian 0||Team->||Page->|
|<-Srce||<-Type||Scotsman ------ Report||Type->||Srce->|
|Csaba Laszlo||<-auth||Paul Forsyth||auth->||Calum Murray|
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No fireworks at New Year party
Paul Forsyth at Tynecastle
Hearts, in particular, will be frustrated to have emerged with just a point from a derby in which they struck the woodwork three times, and found themselves confronted by the unusual challenge of an inspired Hibs goalkeeper. No wonder their manager, Csaba Laszlo, wants to sign a new striker before the transfer window closes. While they didn't quite create the "20 million chances" he later claimed his team had created, another performance like this in next weekend's Scottish Cup tie at Easter Road, and the law of averages is bound to bail them out.
Although Hibs had markedly less to offer in attack, they played their part in what was an absorbing grapple, at least by the standard of scoreless draws. That Calum Murray saw fit to issue only four bookings – one for Hearts and three for Hibs – was a tribute to the quality of his refereeing, which allowed a typically physical derby to flow. When Christos Karipidis hobbled into the press room on crutches, having played for 89 minutes with an ankle injury, it was no surprise to hear that he had ruled himself out of Wednesday's match at Motherwell.
This was a blur of a fixture, flashing from one end to the other at breakneck speed, with the absence of any discernible pattern detracting nothing from the spectacle. From the moment a minute's silence for the former Hearts captain, George Miller, was interrupted by a few yobs in the away end, it was clear that this would be another of the passionate, no-holds-barred exchanges so familiar in these parts. When Dean Shiels came on to replace Alan O'Brien midway through the second half, the home support showed that they were in no position to claim the moral high ground, directing the most tasteless of chants at Hibs' substitute.
Neither was there any love lost on the pitch, where some struggled to keep up. Mixu Paatelainen gave a debut to Jonatan Johansson, but the Finn appeared to have lost a yard of the pace that had been such a feature of his previous spell in Scotland, and there were signs in the first half that his failure to track back was leaving David Van Zanten exposed. When Andy Driver burst clear after only a few minutes, his drilled shot from a narrow angle might have been heading for the side net, but Yves Ma-Kalambay took no risks with a smart reaction at his near post.
Hibs' goalkeeper, so often blamed for the soft goals his team are prone to leak, made a number of athletic saves, and came off his line with newfound confidence, as he needed to in the absence of his injured captain, Rob Jones. In a first half that tested the full range of his abilities, he tipped wide a flashing shot across goal by Laryea Kingston, gathered a low effort by Michael Stewart and retreated quickly enough to gather a deflected Andy Driver strike that threatened to spin over him.
Without Jones' 6ft 7in frame in central defence, the partnership of Steven Thicot and Chris Hogg looked vulnerable, especially when the likes of Christophe Berra joined Christian Nade in the box. Indeed, the closest Hearts came to opening the scoring in a breathless opening period was when Robbie Neilson arrowed a low throw into the mayhem, where Nade flicked a looping header over Ma-Kalambay and on to the top of the crossbar.
It was not the last time that the woodwork, already reverberating to the rhythm of a raucous Tynecastle, would be left rattling in the wind. Four minutes into the second half, Eggert Jonsson hit the bye-line, looked up long enough to pick out Nade, and watched as the striker turned a left-foot shot on to the base of the post. Substitute Gary Glen also tested the frame of the goal, this time from over 25 yards. The youngster, who had already scuffed a shot straight at the goalkeeper, gathered possession in the middle of the park, and released a dipping shot that glanced the top of the crossbar.
Hearts maintained a pulsing tempo throughout, which was no small feat in the circumstances. With Jonsson and Jason Thomson already filling in for the suspended Marius Zaliukas and Lee Wallace, and Stewart deputising for Bruno Aguiar in the hole, a first-half injury to Thomson forced them to make further adjustments. Jonsson slid across the defence, Stewart and Karipidis withdrew to deeper roles, and Glen was asked to play in the supporting role behind Nade.
Jonsson showed his versatility with a perfectly-timed tackle that denied Derek Riordan just before the interval, which only added to Hibs' frustrations. Steven Fletcher, surely on the last legs of his time at Easter Road, was their main source of inspiration, although he should have done better when Lewis Stevenson set him up just outside the box. His shot was high, wide and not very handsome.
Riordan briefly threatened with a dipping free kick and a dangerous shot across goal, but it was his sought-after partner that caught the eye. When Fletcher rose at the back post to meet a second-half cross, the header he returned across Janos Balogh drifted agonisingly beyond the post. And then, after turning Neilson inside out, he was left with only enough strength to slap a shot against the goalkeeper. When he is gone, Hearts will not be the only team in need of a striker.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Eggert Jonsson was outstanding in defence for Hearts and just shaded it from Hibs goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay. With a little bit of help from the woodwork, he was the reason Hearts didn't win.
The Hibs fans' failure to respect the minute's silence accorded former Hearts captain George Miller set the wrong tone, as did the offensive chants directed at Dean Shiels by the home support.
Hearts have scored only once in their last four matches, although it wasn't for the want of trying here. That Christian Nade is the club's joint top scorer on three goals speaks volumes for the club's shortcomings.
HOW THEY RATED AT TYNECASTLE:
Gary Glen (for Thomson, 32) Made an almost immediate impact, forcing a block from Ma-Kalambay. Denied again, by the bar, in the 63rd minute. ||3534||
Deividas Cesnauskis (for Kingston, 53) Tried to inject a bit more zip into the Hearts forward play and give Nade a bit more support but couldn't really impose himself. ||3332||
DAVID VAN ZANTEN
Dean Shiels (for O'Brien, 70) The Northern Ireland international didn't really have a chance to make a tangible contribution after replacing O'Brien, other than from set pieces.
They weren't, however, good enough to open the hosts up, bar a through ball for Fletcher's best opportunity in the second half. 5
Jonsson slides in (42 mins)
Hearts defender Eggert Jonsson executes a perfect penalty-box tackle on Derek Riordan as the Hibs striker runs through on goal following a fine through ball from Lewis Stevenson.
Nade denied by post (50 mins)
Christian Nade strikes the woodwork for the second time in the match after good work by Jonsson. Nade's left-foot shot wrong-foots Yves Ma-Kalambay but bounces off the outside of the post.
Glen hits the bar (64 mins)
Teenage Hearts substitute Gary Glen takes the ball from Michael Stewart 30 yards out and unleashes a dipping strike which beats the Hibs goalkeeper but clips off the top of the crossbar.
Tempers flare (85 mins)
Passions rise near the end of the game and local boys Ian Murray and Christophe Berra tangle on the ground. Each earns a yellow card for the outbreak of 'handbags'
Taken from the Scotsman
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