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Csaba Laszlo <-auth Robert Martin auth-> Charlie Richmond
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Hibernian 1 Hearts 0

ROBERT MARTIN at Easter Road

Published: 14 Mar 2009

DENES ROSA talked the talk with Csaba Laszlo before this capital clash— then walked the walk as Hibs finally put one over their arch-rivals.

The Hungarian revealed he and Laszlo met up before the two sides did battle to shoot the breeze about another derby, one involving their old club Ferencvaros.

They spoke again after the game, although by that stage Laszlo didn’t have much to say — for once — after his side had lost 1-0.

Much of that was down to Rosa, whose top-drawer display was a key element in his side’s first derby win for over 18 months.

He said: “I met Csaba before the game and after it and he was a little bit disappointed, but that is normal if you don’t win the game.

“If I hadn’t won the game I’d have felt the same. This is life.

“But when we met beforehand we didn’t talk about this game, we didn’t want to talk about it.

“Instead we had a few words about Ferencvaros. The Hungarian season started last week and they had a big derby today as well.

“So we just spoke about that, nothing special.”

The truth is there were PLENTY of talking points to come out of one of the best Edinburgh duels in recent seasons.

Hearts started the better side and were inches away from taking the lead when Michael Stewart turned Andrew Driver’s cross wide in the third minute.

But Derek Riordan sparked Hibs into life with a wonderful long-range effort that crashed back off Janos Balogh’s left-hand post in the ninth minute.

And five minutes later Rosa’s vision allowed him to pick out Alan O’Brien on the right. He cut back inside Robbie Neilson and sent an inviting cross into the area, in between the flat-footed Christos Karipidis and Eggert Jonsson.

Steven Fletcher was on hand to loop the ball past the stranded Balogh with his shoulder to put Hibs in front.

Sol Bamba very nearly gifted Christian Nade a way back in with a careless piece of play.

But Hearts, who by this stage had lost Driver to injury, were ragged and Hibs sensed they were there for the taking.

As the half drew to a close Colin Nish’s superb piece of skill played in Fletcher, the man controversially sent off when Hibs crashed out of the Scottish Cup to the Jambos in January.

But this time it was Balogh who saw red for upending the striker a full 35 yards from his goal as he raced through.

It was an easy call for referee Charlie Richmond, who allowed Balogh to receive treatment before sending him packing.

But Hibs’ one-man advantage lasted just a matter of seconds as Bamba then clattered into Christian Nade as the Jambos striker was played in behind him.

Ref Richmond deemed it enough of a goalscoring opportunity to send him for an early bath as well.

Would he have done so had he not sent off Balogh? It’s debatable.

Hibs clearly felt that was the case and boss Mixu Paatelainen said: “I don’t think there was any question about the first one, but I thought that the second one was questionable.

“The referee saw it the other way and wanted to level it. It is as simple as that.”

That decision certainly made for an enthralling second half as Hearts pressed and Hibs panicked as they tried to keep their rivals at bay.

Nade had the Jambos’ best chance, heading off the crossbar after Gregorz Szamotulski made a hash of coming out for a cross.

But Hibs deserved this win and their under-fire manager deserved credit for the side he put out.

There were many who questioned the wisdom of putting Rosa and John Rankin up against Stewart, Bruno Aguiar and Ruben Palazuelos before kick-off.

But Rankin did well and in Rosa the Hibees had the best player on the park.

And the Hungarian midfielder admitted he had relished his first capital showdown.

Rosa said: “I enjoyed it. In the second half we had more defending to do because Hearts played the ball direct to their front player a lot more. That made it difficult for those of us in the middle.

“But the first half was good for both teams.

“The first red card was a red and the second I think was the same. But it was better for both teams because it meant we could play ten against ten.

“For the supporters and for everyone watching it was good.

“There were plenty of tackles going in and I know playing against Hearts is a big game here. It felt a little bit different.”

Hibs now sit nine points behind their rivals in third place with nine games to go, but Rosa believes they can make up further ground.

He added: “We want to play on the international stage next season and I think we are in a good way.

“We’ve won our last two games and we’re feeling very, very good.

“We have another home game next week, so we want to win and we can get into a good position. We want to catch Hearts, but I don’t know what will happen in the future.

“We’ll work hard and I just hope that we finish the season in a good position.”

Paatelainen hailed Rosa and admitted he is now starting to see the best from his January signing.

He added: “He was unbelievable. He covered a lot of ground and defended well.

“He got forward as well and his awareness and vision was great. His pass for the goal was fantastic.

“Denes is a quality player, no question, and I’m delighted to see him performing well.”

The Sun

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