London Hearts Supporters Club

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Paulo Sergio <-auth Ewan Murray auth-> Craig Thomson
16 of 028 Ryan Stevenson 39 ;Andy Webster 69L SPL H

Hearts defeat Hibernian to increase pressure on Colin Calderwood

• Hearts ease to 2-0 victory over struggling Hibs
• Calderwood under pressure as a result of poor form

Ewan Murray at Tynecastle

An eighth successive Edinburgh derby without defeat for Heart of Midlothian may well, and arguably should, have wider implications for their city rivals' manager, Colin Calderwood.

Hearts were far from their best here. There was little requirement for them to be anything else. Hibernian, sitting uncomfortably at the foot of the Scottish Premier League, produced their latest dismal performance under the former Scotland international.

Calderwood's record makes grim reading. The Hibs manager has now presided over 22 defeats in 38 matches. Here his team were devoid of spirit as well as spark; their discipline was also questionable.

In public at least, Calderwood does not give the impression he is capable of improving Hibs' ominous circumstances. "They are giving themselves bigger problems at the minute by doing what they are doing," the manager said of his players.

When asked whether he expects to be permitted time to change matters, Calderwood replied: "Oh yes." On transfer dealings, he added: "We are done. Ready to go. Perfect." It all sounded as bemusing as it looks.

Supporters, or a lack of them, could play a part in the thinking of the Hibs board. The visiting stand was far from full for the campaign's first Edinburgh derby and crowds at Easter Road are also dwindling to a worrying degree.

The marriage between Calderwood and Hibs is destined to end in tears, with the only remaining question surrounding when such a split will occur. For Scottish football, which needs its biggest clubs to be strong, this is an uncomfortable scenario.

"If we didn't know that we are in a battle before today, then we do now," was the more reasonable approach from the Hibs midfielder Ivan Sproule.

Hearts, of course, will have little sympathy, as was made perfectly clear by the gleeful chanting of the home support. Paulo Sérgio's team have not conceded a goal in their past three league games, only a semi-threatening six-minute spell from Hibs at the start of the second half threatening that record.

Ryan Stevenson sent the hosts in front with a straightforward close-range finish after Jamie Hamill had crossed into his path. From that juncture, only the margin of victory was realistically up for debate. Stephen Elliott watched a shot come back off a post, Graham Stack brilliantly saving the rebound from Andrew Driver, as Sérgio's men looked to press home their superiority.

A set play ensured that as Hamill found Andy Webster, whose header clearly crossed the line before being booted away by Akpo Sodje. Eggert Jonsson slammed home from there and was credited with the goal by the referee; that situation is almost certain to change, however, when the SPL's dubious goals panel has a look at television footage.

Hibs' tactics regressed from there, a series of wild challenges demonstrating their inappropriate use of aggression. Garry O'Connor was the most lucky to escape a red card after a cynical lunge on Hamill.

Sérgio refused to discuss his transfer plans in detail afterwards, although it is known the Portuguese has identified at least three players with whom he would like to supplement his squad. Hearts lack midfield creativity but, otherwise, are in decent shape.

Hibs, who have permitted Calderwood a flurry of signings, cannot say the same. Merely the most up-to-date indication of their decline was no great surprise, but hardly helpful for a manager around which pressure continues to build; whether he chooses to acknowledge that or not.

Taken from the Guardian/Observer

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