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Paulo Sergio <-auth David Mccarthy auth-> Craig Thomson
15 of 028 Ryan Stevenson 39 ;Andy Webster 69L SPL H

SPL: Hearts 2 Hibs 0

Aug 29 2011 David Mccarthy

HIBS lost the match, threatened to lose the plot - and might be lost to the SPL next season if this keeps up.

They finished yesterday's Edinburgh derby a distant second behind a Hearts team that didn't have to be anything better than decent to win 2-0 at Tynecastle.

They now find themselves propping up the division. Marooned, in fact.

Goals from Ryan Stevenson and Andy Webster either side of the break did the damage but Hearts could have won more comfortably and might have done if referee Craig Thomson had not been so lenient.

He booked five of Colin Calderwood's men but a couple of them - Akpo Sodje and Garry O'Connor - could have been red carded in the second half as they saw the match slipping away.

Then again, Stevenson got away with the worst tackle of the lot in the first half, picking up a yellow card for an over-the-ball tackle on Ian Murray. It was pretty much what you'd expect from a derby - frantic and competitive - but these are worrying times for the Leith outfit.

Even this early in the season, both sides needed to win. Each had won only one SPL fixture prior to yesterday's meeting and Hibs' early-season form prompted chants of "You're Going Down" from the home support, met by a green flare hurled on to the pitch.

Amid it all, ref Thomson shook hands with the captains Marius Zaliukas and Murray. His final word to both, as he pointed to his temples, was "Keep the head".

It took eight minutes for Ivan Sproule to lose his, momentarily, with a wild lunge at Danny Grainger that saw the yellow card flashed for the first time.

It was certainly competitive enough in the opening phase, with the visitors working really hard to close down Hearts who had the majority of possession but were unable to do much with it.

Ian Black and Isaiah Osbourne swapped long-range efforts that didn't trouble Graham Stack or Marian Kello as 15 minutes passed in a blur without the sniff of a chance at either end.

A few minutes later conditions conspired against Hearts after Stephen Elliott had robbed Paul Hanlon 25 yards out and looked up to see two team-mates free on his left. But with the rain pouring down the Irishman slipped and the chance was gone.

A shocking pass from Zaliukas to Sproule gave the winger a chance to run at him and deliver a cross Adrian Mrowiec covered superbly.

Sproule sailed close to the wind on the half hour when he was a split-second late going in on Grainger again and upended the full-back for a second time. There was no intent on that occasion and the referee gave a foul and no more.

Hibs finally had a chance in 36 minutes. Sproule created it with a dart down the right and a good cross for O'Connor to head goalwards.

The striker should have done better than nod it a yard wide from around the penalty spot.

If Sproule did well there, a couple of minutes later he'd have been shot by his own boss if shoddy defending had resulted in a goal.

Under pressure from Andy Driver, the Ulsterman tried a backheel but gifted the ball to the winger, whose shot was smothered by Stack.

The goal arrived six minutes from the break and it came from an error on the other side of the pitch.

Callum Booth sold Matt Thornhill short with a pass, Jamie Hamill robbed him and after a one-two with Black picked out Stevenson, who steered his near-post shot past Stack.

The Hearts fans went daft but so did one Hibs supporter, who threw what looked like a lighter at Hamill as he celebrated in front of him.

Stevenson was the hero but he should have been a zero two minutes from the break when he went over the top on Murray and could have been sent packing.

Hibs launched one more attack before the break but Sean O'Hanlon was deemed to have fouled Kello in the air, luckily for Webster, who fisted Junior Agogo's shot over the bar. He would have been sent off but the free-kick had been awarded.

Elliott tested Stack nine minutes after the break with an angled drive before play raged to the other end and Hearts just got away with a mix-up between Zaliukas and Kello, which saw the keeper berate the captain even though most of the blame lay with the man in the goalie's jersey.

Hearts should have killed it a couple of minutes later. Elliott hit the post and it rebounded to Driver who managed to hit Stack's foot with the goal gaping.

That prompted Calderwood to throw on Leigh Griffiths, a lifelong Hibs fans making his debut on loan from Wolves, and Sodje for Sproule and Agogo.

But the home side kept pressing and Hamill and David Obua came close to doubling their lead. The Ugandan came close with a header but was clattered by Stack and had to be replaced by Eggert Jonsson.

Griffiths announced his debut by going in late on Hamill and picking up a yellow within two minutes.

Hibs were still in the game until the 67th minute when Hearts got their second. A Hamill corner was met flush by Webster's forehead and although Osbourne kicked it away the ball had crossed the line. Jonsson followed up to make sure but Webster was given the goal.

Murray was booked for a foul on Hamill and this was now a test of discipline as well as of mettle.

A minute later Webster was short with a passback and it led to an almighty clash between Sodje and Kello. The Hibs striker launched himself at the ball and struck the keeper in the chest.

Thomson decided against a red card and showed yellow - just as he did two minutes later when O'Connor chopped down Hamill.

Kello was struggling and Jamie McDonald replaced him for the last seven minutes.

But by then the game was won and Hearts were moving up.

Hibs? They need to sort themselves out pronto.

Taken from the Daily Record

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