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Csaba Laszlo <-auth John Mcgarry auth-> Calum Murray
16 of 023 ----- L SPL H


By John McGarry, 03/01/2009
HE was dubbed Ma-Kalamity by Jambos for spooning Andrius Velicka’s shot into the net at the Hibs end last season.

But yesterday was derby day redemption for Hibs’ giant Belgian goalie as he put up the shutters to ensure the green half of Edinburgh enjoyed a happier New Year than those in maroon.

Ma-Kalambay was the equal of everything Hearts threw at him and perhaps those who had already penned the obituary for his Easter Road career will have to think again.

Hearts struck the woodwork three times, but Ma-Kalambay’s bravery in continually coming for balls which took the heat off his defence perhaps earned him that large slice of good fortune.

Jambos gaffer Csaba Laszlo was left to curse his luck, but it was his side’s willingness to pass up chance after chance that prevented them putting the heat on third-place rivals Aberdeen and Hearts.

In truth Ma-Kalamabay should have picked the ball out of his net on at least three occasions.

But credit to Hibs who showed no shortage of guts in keeping a clean sheet. They might even had sneaked it at the end had Steven Fletcher’s shot not bounced back off Janos Balogh’s frame.

When the action did start it was predictably frantic. Andrew Driver registed the first shot on target on eight minutes which Ma-Kalambay beat round the post.

Hibs responded with a whipped Derek Riordan free-kick which caught a heel and fell to Chris Hogg only for him to fire high over the top.

Robbie Neilson arrowed a throw-in on to Christian Nade’s head and the Frenchman’s flick caught the bar before being cleared. Amid the midfield mayhem, Laryea Kingston lifted a peach of the ball over the top, but with the goal at his mercy Jason Thomson’s footing deserted him.

Hibs kid Lewis Stevenson held off Eggert Jonsson enabling him to find Fletcher. But with the angle closing all the time Hibs’ star man fired well over.

Riordan made Balogh work with a dipping free-kick on the 30-minute mark, but the Hungarian gathered an awkward ball on the bounce. Ma-Kalambay looked just as solid at the other end, denying Kingston with a fine finger-tip save after he let fire from 15 yards.

Mixu Paatelainen’s attacking formation, with Alan O’Brian and Jonatan Johansson wide won Hibs plenty of the ball, but all too often it broke down through a poor final ball or the linesman’s flag.

When Stevenson did find the killer pass to spring Riordan, Jonsson tucked in to provide the goal-saving tackle of the game. Johnsson had been pulled over to left-back on 33 minutes as Hearts lost Thomson to injury and he denied Riordan a certain goal.

On the stroke of half-time Michael Stewart cut inside Chris Hogg but couldn’t get enough on his shot to trouble Ma-Kalambay. Lazslo would have demanded much more of his side in the seond half and whatever instructions were issued he did get a reaction.

Stewart picked out Nade in space then darted into the box to pick up the return.

The Frenchaman only had one thing in mind though, but his poor first touch did him no favours and Ma-Kalambay was untroubled by his shot. Johnsson’s lung-bursting run up the left had David van Zanten trailing in his wake and his cut-back looked meat and drink for Nade. This time the upright rather than the keeper was the striker’s foe.

The ineffective Kingston then made way for Deividas Cesnauskis.

Fletcher steered Riordan’s free-kick towards the target, but as Balogh bravely attempted to guide it round the post O’Brien came within a foot of sliding it home.

For all Hearts didn’t find top gear, they didn’t find Lady Luck smiling on them either.

Nade had already hit the woodwork twice when sub Gary Glen let fly from 25 yards on 63 minutes.

For once Ma-Kalamabay was beaten all ends up, but again fortune smiled on him as the bar came to the rescue.

The Jambos sensed blood, but neither Nade or Driver showed composure when the target presented itself while Hogg superbly blocked Jonsson’s over-head effort.

Oddly it took until 70 minutes for the first booking to arrive with Stevenson seeing yellow for a lunge at Ruben Palazuelos.

It wasn’t Nade’s day and a woeful attempt to convert Neilson’s cross conformed as much.

Sub Deividas Cesnauskis did better by cutting in from the left and letting fly, but he didn’t hit the target either.

There remained the possibility Hibs could pinch all three points. Fletcher came closest only to be denied by the legs of Ballogh following a slide-rule ball by Riordan.

Calum Murray took Riordan’s name for scything down Driver then Berra was next to find Ma-Kalambay simply wasn’t to be beaten, his thunderous drive beaten clear.

Berra and Murray picked up yellows for some handbags in the dying embers then Sol Bamba spurned a great chance to win it at the death by ballooning a loose ball over the top.

That would have been harsh on Hearts but they will hope for better luck in next week’s Cup showdown.

HEARTS: Balogh, Neilson, Jonsson, Berra, Thomson (Glen 34), Kingston (Cesnauskis 54), Stewart, Karipidis, Palazuelos, Driver, Nade. Subs not used: Kello, Mole, Templeton, Rapnik, Brown.

HIBERNIAN: Ma-Kalambay, van Zanten, Hogg, Murray, Stevenson, Johansson, Bamba, Thicot, O’Brien (Shiels 71), Riordan, Fletcher. Subs not used: McNeil, Yantorno, Nish, Keenan, Rankin, Chisholm.

News Of The World

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