{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"hibs","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/neil-lennon-launches-scathing-attack-on-hibs-ahead-of-derby-1-4370480","id":"1.4370480","articleHeadline": "Neil Lennon launches scathing attack on Hibs ahead of derby","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487462400000 ,"articleLead": "

Disgraceful, unprofessional, ordinary, insipid, complacent. Pick any insult you could hurl at a team of professional footballers, and Hibs boss Neil Lennon probably said it in a four-minute tirade against his players following this 1-1 draw at Raith Rovers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370479.1487490111!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Raith Rovers' Ryan Stevenson celebrates his thunderous strike against Hibernian. Picture: SNS/"} ,"articleBody": "

It’s safe to say the away side were not at their best, particularly through the opening 59 minutes as the hosts led a fairly uneventful contest that was brought to life by Ryan Stevenson’s stunning opener. Only after Jason Cummings equalised with an equally impressive free-kick, did Hibs begin to show some of the quality which saw them open up a seven-point gap over Dundee United and Falkirk at the top of the table.

Those wishing to defend the Hibs players could point to the club’s record at Stark’s Park over recent years. Since their relegation from the top flight they’ve won only three of eight trips to Kirkcaldy in all competitions. However, that type of excuse is exactly the kind of attitude that sends Lennon into a rage, as he sees it as an example of the softness which has contributed to the club’s prolonged stay in the second tier.

“We were a disgrace today. I didn’t even celebrate the goal,” steamed Lennon. “That was insipid, disrespectful, ordinary. Everything we had last week was missing today for the first hour. It’s not what I want. It was unprofessional.

“We’re going for a title here. And the reason they haven’t been out of the league in three years is because they are complacent. They only think they have to turn up. Everyone keeps saying they’re a passing team, but I don’t see it. If they think they know better than me then good luck to them.

“They go win the cup, that’s great. They can go beat your Aberdeens, your Rangers, Dundee Uniteds. Then they come to Raith Rovers, they’ve got a new manager and their sleeves rolled up, and they wanted it more than us. Disgraceful.

“Some of them won’t play on Wednesday [in the cup derby replay], and if they want to know why I’ll show them the first hour. You cannot turn up to a football game and think ‘we’ll be all right today’ and I won’t accept it again.”

Hibs may not have rescued anything from the game if new Raith Rovers boss John Hughes hadn’t made a curious tactical change just before the hour mark. Raith had taken the lead through Stevenson, as the former Hearts midfielder controlled a clearance 25 yards out, steadied himself and sent a sweetly struck half-volley crashing into the back of the net. They looked in control of the game before the ex-Hibs boss decided to use all three of his substitutes at once, changing the formation and removing his goalscorer.

The switch visibly unsettled the hosts and Hibs took immediate advantage. Ross Matthews brought down Cummings on the edge of the area and, after dusting himself down, the striker took the free-kick himself, curling it into the corner of the net.

“We changed it, went for it, and it probably put us on the back foot a little bit. I take responsibility for that,” said Hughes. “You’re looking for substitutes to give you an impact, but we lacked a bit of street craft as well.”

Raith would have counted themselves ahead on points until that moment, but Hibs, buoyed by the goal, dominated for the next 20 minutes. Liam Fontaine almost added a second with a header inside the six-yard box that was saved by Conor Brennan, before Cummings saw an effort squirm past the post after he’d reacted quickest to a wayward header from the otherwise excellent Jean Yves-M’voto.

Raith managed to gain some composure in the closing stages and created a couple of half chances. Ross Callachan shot into the goalkeeper’s arms from 22 yards, while M’voto had an injury-time header drift well wide.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FOWLER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370479.1487490111!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370479.1487490111!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Raith Rovers' Ryan Stevenson celebrates his thunderous strike against Hibernian. Picture: SNS/","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Raith Rovers' Ryan Stevenson celebrates his thunderous strike against Hibernian. Picture: SNS/","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370479.1487490111!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/raith-rovers-1-1-hibs-cummings-rescues-a-point-for-hibs-yet-again-1-4370334","id":"1.4370334","articleHeadline": "Raith Rovers 1-1 Hibs: Cummings rescues a point for Hibs yet again","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487436659410 ,"articleLead": "

Jason Cummings 16th goal of the season pushed Hibs seven points clear at the top of the Championship table as Neil Lennon's side were forced to settle for a third successive draw against Raith Rovers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370333.1487436739!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HIbs Brain Graham and Raith's Kyle Benedictus battle for possession at Stark's Park"} ,"articleBody": "

Ex-Jambo Ryan Stevenson had fired Raith ahead with a tremendous shot seven minutes into the second half but Cummings delivered a sumptuous free-kick on the hour mark to stretch Hibs unbeaten run to 11 matches.

There was an unusual look to Raith's team-lines with two Ryan Stevensons' listed, the one in the starting X1 being the former Hearts midfielder, the other a 19-year-old member of Rovers' development squad.

Hins had been guilty of a sloppy start to their last Championship match with Ayr United and they did likewise against a Raith side obviously fired by by the arrival of Hughes, goalkeeper Ofir Marciano alert enough to beat away a powerfully driven free-kick from Stevenson. It didn't take long for Neil Lennon to let his displeasure be known, the Hibs manager appearing at the edge of his technical area to give full vent to his feelings.

A swirling wind and a bobbly pitch didn't help but neither did a string of careless passes from the Capital side as they struggled to bring any fluency to their game, the match littered with a succession of niggly fouls from both sides.

After 14 matches without a win the Raith fans were greatly encouraged by what they were seeing while those from Edinburgh gathered behind Marciano's goal were watching in virtual silence. Raith goalkeeper Conor Brennan had been called into action, however, but he easily dealt with shots from John McGinn, Cummings and James Keatings.

Raith took a deserved lead seven minutes into the second half. Bobby Barr had given up on a ball which apppeared to be running out of play but had second thoughts, catching it and delivering a cross whichi wasn't cleared properly by the Hibs defence, the ball falling for Stevenson 25 yards out and he let fly with a tremendous shot which had Marciano beaten all ends up.

Hughes tooki the unusual decision to make a triple substitution with 58 minutes gone and within two more Hibs were level, Ross Matthew bringing down Cummings who took the resultant free-kick himself, curling a wonderful shot high into the left hand corner of Brennan's net.

The Hibs fans were suddenly in full voice, Liam Fontaine throwing himself at Keatings' corner only to send the ball straight at Brennan before a tempting free-kick from Keatings just eluded the outstretched boot of Brian Graham. Cummings was then only inches away from claiming a second as he wheeled on Jean-Yves M'Voto's clearance to shoot just wide with Brennan struggling to get there.

RaIth Rovers: Brennan, Thomson, M'Voto, Benedictus (Johnston 58), C Barr, Matthews, Callachan, Thompson, R Stevenson (Coustrain 58), B Barr, Stewart (McManus 58).

Substitutes not used: R Stevenson, Hardie, Roberts, Skacel..

Hibs: Marciano, Gray, McGregor, Fontaine, Stevenson, Bartley, Fyvie (Humphrey 58), McGinn, Keatings (Boyle 70), Cummings, Graham (Holt 84)..

Substitutes not used: Laidlaw, Donaldson, Crane, Crane, Martin.

Referee: Craig Charleston.

Attendance: 4172

" ,"byline": {"email": "david.hardie@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "David Hardie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370333.1487436739!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370333.1487436739!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "HIbs Brain Graham and Raith's Kyle Benedictus battle for possession at Stark's Park","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HIbs Brain Graham and Raith's Kyle Benedictus battle for possession at Stark's Park","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370333.1487436739!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibee-history-famous-five-destroy-steelmen-1-4368980","id":"1.4368980","articleHeadline": "Hibee History: Famous Five destroy Steelmen","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487399442000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs gave one of their finest and most entrancing displays in front of 25,000 at Easter Road in trouncing Motherwell 6-1.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4368979.1487276297!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Willie Ormond's strike almost 'broke the goals'"} ,"articleBody": "

The first-half exhibition by Hibs was equalled that season only by their first-half display against Hearts in the New Year match, but then their finishing did not bring such rich rewards as this.

Motherwell were usually expected to provide at least something of the finer touches of football, but seldom can they have fallen so low as the Hibs cast them down.

Apart from an early miss by Archie Kelly, and Jimmy Watson’s goal following a goal-mouth mix-up, the visitors were seldom in the hunt, the home team monopolising play to an extraordinary extent. The Hibs forwards, receiving a copious supply of excellent passes from the wing halves, were in real championship form, and had their second-half finishing brought results comparable with that of the first half, they would have scored goals galore.

The match, however, will probably be remembered by most for the goal which Willie Ormond scored.

The left winger, running in from the touchline at full speed, hit a left-foot shot of such terrible force that Hamilton could not have seen the ball until it had struck the iron support inside the goal, and rebounded far upfield.

Altogether Ormond had probably his best match of the season. But it was also a great game for Gordon Smith on the other wing. Playing in what seemed a lackadaisical style, he was nevertheless admirably effective, and revealed turns of surprising speed to complete the Motherwell defence’s inglorious afternoon.

Smith scored the first goal with a fine shot which hit the bar as it went into goal at the corner, and then Eddie Turnbull scored with one of the shots for which he is noted. Watson’s counter followed that, and then came Ormond’s superb effort. Before the interval Smith added two more to complete his hat-trick. His second one was a clever piece of work but his third, Hamilton should have held. That was the keeper’s only error of the game.

Willie Redpath twisted his knee and eventually left the field, but before that Motherwell were well beaten and chief interest of the second half for the crowd lay in whether or not Lawrie Reilly and Bobby Johnstone were going to get a goal. Johnstone had several good tries, but he met with no success. Reilly, who had spent an afternoon in valiant jousting with Andy Paton, at last got his reward seven minutes from the end when he beat Hamilton from an acute angle.

With Hibs reaching the zenith of their form, it was almost axiomatic that Motherwell should have touched their nadir. They could not have played more dissapointingly.

Hibs: Younger, Govan, Cairns, Combe, Paterson, Buchanan, Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull, Ormond.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hibs 6, Motherwell 1: February 18, 1950"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4368979.1487276297!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4368979.1487276297!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Willie Ormond's strike almost 'broke the goals'","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Willie Ormond's strike almost 'broke the goals'","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4368979.1487276297!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/colin-nish-back-at-hibs-as-a-youth-coach-1-4369807","id":"1.4369807","articleHeadline": "Colin Nish back at Hibs as a youth coach","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487399400000 ,"articleLead": "

Colin Nish has gone back to the future, returning to Hibs to help coach the wannabe stars of tomorrow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4369805.1487350731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "07/05/16 LEAGUE ONE PLAY OFF SEMI-FINAL 2ND LEG COWDENBEATH v QUEEN'S PARK CENTRAL PARK - COWDENBEATH Cowdenbeath manger Colin Nish"} ,"articleBody": "

And although he’s very much more in the background working with the club’s Under-14s than he was as a striker at Easter Road, the 35-year-old insists he’s loving every minute.

Sacked from his role as player-manager with Cowdenbeath following their relegation to League Two last summer, Nish put in a speculative call to Hibs academy manager Eddie May, a former team-mate from their days together with Dunfermline, asking if “there was anything doing”.

Initially there wasn’t but May soon offered Nish the chance to work with the Under-14s and altough he admits it’s totally different to working with time-served professionals he believes it’s also an opportunity to improve his own skills as a coach.

He said: “When you are in charge of a first team you are trying to coach them as a team, with the youngsters it’s more about developing them as individuals. You have to coach kids a lot more, teaching them different things, watching them practise and to see them thinking about things and improving.

“Things are obviously a bit slower but you perhaps get the chance to see things you maybe wouldn’t taking a first team. I have to admit I’m actually enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would, it’s a learning curve for me as well.”

Recalling his own days as a young hopeful, Nish said: “I was probably training with Hutchie Vale a couple of times a week and would maybe go and train with Dunfermline or Hibs one night a week.

“Having the training centre at East Mains makes a big difference, the place is open practically 24/7.

“The facilities are great, we’ve got the boys in three nights a week, they are really well looked after. They also have their game on a Sunday so although I’m part-time it’s pretty much full-time.”

Nish has also become involved with Hibs’ development squad working not only with May but coaches Grant Murray, Lee Makel and Chris Smith, while he’s had the obvious opportunity to watch Neil Lennon and his assistant Garry Parker put their Championship-leading squad through their paces.

He said: “I think as a player you become pretty selfish, all you have to think about is yourself and when I was playing you didn’t really see the youngsters at a club.

“It wasn’t something you’d think about, your concentration was all on getting into the team and doing well enough to stay in it.

“We think we’ve got some good players coming through so it will be good to see where they are in four or five years.

“There’s one of the coaches here who looks at the development squad and he tells me he can remember a number of them at Under-13s.”

Nish, naturally, doesn’t see himself being an Under-14 coach forever. He is looking to complete his UEFA Pro-Licence having already completed his A badge.

And to that end, he insists his experience at Cowdenbeath hasn’t scarred him, promoted to player-manager after Jimmy Nicholl resigned.

He said: “I started doing my coaching badges while I was still playing and intended trying to get into management.

“It came about a lot quicker than I expected. I was there as a player and was going to be there anyway so it was something I felt I couldn’t refuse.

“We finished above Forfar who are now top of League Two and only one point from avoidng the relegation play-off spot so, in hindsight, I think I did a reasonable job given the circumstances.

“It was quite an experience but now I am lucky to be able to continue learning and developing back at Hibs.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4369805.1487350731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4369805.1487350731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "07/05/16 LEAGUE ONE PLAY OFF SEMI-FINAL 2ND LEG COWDENBEATH v QUEEN'S PARK CENTRAL PARK - COWDENBEATH Cowdenbeath manger Colin Nish","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "07/05/16 LEAGUE ONE PLAY OFF SEMI-FINAL 2ND LEG COWDENBEATH v QUEEN'S PARK CENTRAL PARK - COWDENBEATH Cowdenbeath manger Colin Nish","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4369805.1487350731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-striker-brian-graham-gunning-for-old-club-rovers-1-4369970","id":"1.4369970","articleHeadline": "Hibs striker Brian Graham gunning for old club Rovers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487399400000 ,"articleLead": "

Brian Graham has insisted there will be no room for sentiment as Hibs go gunning for his old club Raith Rovers today, intent on opening up a nine point lead at the top of the Championship table.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4369969.1487364124!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs striker Brian Graham"} ,"articleBody": "

The Fife club have endured a tortuous run of results, without a win in 14 games, a record which saw manager Gary Locke and his assistant Darren Jackson sacked and replaced by former Easter Road boss John Hughes.

However, the winless streak has also seen Raith drop dangerously close to the danger zone, just four points above the relegation play-off spot and another defeat at Stark’s Park today would plunge them deeper into trouble.

But while Graham admits he’ll always hold Raith in high regard having once scored 27 goals in a season to earn himself a move into the Premier League, the 29-year-old was adamant he won’t allow those feelings to interfere with his emotions.

He said: “I really loved it there to be honest. They gave me the springboard to get to the Premiership which is where I wanted to be, a move to Dundee United.

“It surprises me to see where they are because they have a good squad. You look around about them and they have got good players. You obviously don’t know what is going on in the background but it wasn’t to be and they have changed their manager now.

“I think John Hughes will bring something different to them and I believe he will have them right up for this game.”

Graham has already scored against Raith this season, netting for Ross County in the Betfred Cup at the beginning of the season before making his surprise move to Easter Road where, he insists, all eyes are firmly on promotion with the looming Scottish Cup replay against Capital rivals Hearts taking, for the meantime, second place in the thoughts of Neil Lennon’s players.

He said: “I can’t have any sentiment. It’s a difficult place to go but we’ll go with high hopes of getting the three points.”

If Hibs were to do so, they’d leave their closest rivals Dundee United trailing with only 12 games to play but, insisted Graham, the Tannadice club aren’t the only threat to the Edinburgh club’s hopes of taking the title and with it the only automatic promotion place.

He said: “It’s not just about United any more. Morton are going really well and Falkirk have started to pick up points again. Morton play Falkirk this weekend so something has to give there but I’m sure there will be plenty more twists between now and the end of the season.

“We just have to concentrate on ourselves and get the points on the board.”

Hibs slipped up before facing Hearts at Tynecastle, forced to settle for a draw at home with Ayr United but, claimed Graham, Lennon’s players are determined there won’t be a repeat even although the replay is only a few days away.

He said: “If you look at it, we created enough chances to win the Ayr game. It’s easy to say we took our eye off the ball a wee bit but the gaffer has got us in a mindset this season where we take one game at a time regardless of who we are playing.

“That’ what we’ll do again, the derby will take care of itself. Look around our dressing room and we’d class ourselves a Premiership squad. We were a bit disappointed not to come away from Tynecastle with the victory to be honest.

“We go again on Wednesday night – but today it’s all about Raith Rovers.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4369969.1487364124!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4369969.1487364124!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs striker Brian Graham","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs striker Brian Graham","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4369969.1487364124!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/we-can-t-afford-to-be-complacent-insists-hibs-boss-roberts-1-4369983","id":"1.4369983","articleHeadline": "We can’t afford to be complacent insists Hibs boss Roberts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487399400000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs Ladies boss Chris Roberts insists his side won’t be taking anything for granted when they start their defence of the League Cup at lower league outfit East Fife tomorrow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4369982.1487365590!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Manager of Hibs Ladies team Chris Roberts with Hibs Ladies centre half Joelle Murray holding the Ladies League cup and the Scottish Cup"} ,"articleBody": "

The Hibees came from a goal down to defeat Glasgow City 2-1 in June’s thrilling final and play their first competitive match of the new season against their SWPL 2 opponents at King George V Park in Leven tomorrow.

And, Roberts has pre-warned his players that the rest of the teams in the competition will be desperate to take the trophy off their hands.

“East Fife have just been promoted to the division below us so I think it will be a tough game for them as people won’t really expecting them to go through,” he said. “But, they’ve got home advantage and we need to show them the respect they deserve. At this stage of the season we don’t really need to rest any of the players so it’s about giving them all some game-time.

“We’ll be putting a strong side out as we want to go all the way again and we also want to retain the Scottish Cup when that comes around. We know it will be tough but that’s what we’re here to do.”

SWPL 1 and city rivals Spartans travel to Motherwell for their first-round clash whilst SWPL 2 Hearts host Hamilton. Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale are at Rangers.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "NEIL MCGLADE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4369982.1487365590!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4369982.1487365590!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Manager of Hibs Ladies team Chris Roberts with Hibs Ladies centre half Joelle Murray holding the Ladies League cup and the Scottish Cup","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Manager of Hibs Ladies team Chris Roberts with Hibs Ladies centre half Joelle Murray holding the Ladies League cup and the Scottish Cup","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4369982.1487365590!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-kids-dream-of-a-league-and-cup-double-ended-by-celtic-1-4369736","id":"1.4369736","articleHeadline": "Hibs Kids’ dream of a league and cup double ended by Celtic","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487347658000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs’ hopes of a league and cup double came to an end as the Easter Road side were knocked out of the SFA Youth Cup by Celtic.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4369735.1487347642!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic paraded their �3 million signing from Russian club Krasnodar, the 19-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder Eboue Kouassi. Picture Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

The Capital kids lead the SPFL Development League but came to grief in their cup quarter-final at Oriam.

A scrappy match in which Celtic paraded their £3 million signing from Russian club Krasnodar, the 19-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder Eboue Kouassi, was settled by a first-half strike from Josh Kerr, the Hoops defender blasting the ball past goalkeeper Patrick Martin from close range.

Hibs felt Conor Hazard was lucky to escape a red card after just ten minutes when the Celtic goalkeeper up-ended top scorer Oli Shaw after he’d beaten him to Scott Martin’s ball over the top but referee George Calder decided yellow would do.

There were few goal-scoring opportunities throughout the 90 minutes but Hazard was forced to pull off two impressive stops as Hibs piled on the pressure in the dying minutes as they sought an equaliser.

Hazard did well to beat away Fraser Murray’s angled drive and even better as the game moved into a fourth minute of added on time to push over Shaw’s rising shot.

Hibs: P Martin, Donaldson, Porteous, Waugh, Mackie, S Martin, Breen (Watson 60), Gullan (Gallantes 83), I Murray, F Murray, Shaw. Substitutes not used: O’Connor, Smith, Fisher.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4369735.1487347642!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4369735.1487347642!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic paraded their �3 million signing from Russian club Krasnodar, the 19-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder Eboue Kouassi. Picture Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic paraded their �3 million signing from Russian club Krasnodar, the 19-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder Eboue Kouassi. Picture Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4369735.1487347642!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/martin-boyle-nine-point-gap-won-t-mean-the-title-for-hibs-1-4368936","id":"1.4368936","articleHeadline": "Martin Boyle: Nine-point gap won’t mean the title for Hibs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487313038000 ,"articleLead": "

The countdown may be on to the second Edinburgh derby of the season but, as far as Hibs forward Martin Boyle is concerned, tomorrow’s clash with Raith Rovers eclipses the visit of Hearts on Wednesday night.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4368935.1487274948!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Boyle, right, tussles with Iain Davidson earlier this season"} ,"articleBody": "

Already six points clear at the top of the Championship table, the short trip to Kirkcaldy gives Neil Lennon’s players the chance to widen the gap on the chasing pack even further.

And, insisted Boyle, that has been the entire focus of the Easter Road squad this week, adamant minds won’t wander during a game which is sandwiched between those two Scottish Cup derbies, the second of which could see Hibs repeat last season’s win over their biggest rivals.

Lennon’s players had been accused of taking their eye off the ball as they dropped vital points when they were held to a draw by Ayr United the weekend before they travelled to Tynecastle, a result which allowed second-placed Dundee United to trim their advantage.

But, just 24 hours before Hibs held Premiership side Hearts to a no-scoring draw in Gorgie, United themselves slipped up, well beaten by Falkirk, and, with Ray McKinnon’s side in Irn-Bru Cup action this weekend, the Capital club now have the chance to open up a nine-point gap with only 12 league matches remaining.

“What greater incentive do we need?” asked Boyle. “It’s not been hard to focus on this game despite everyone talking about the cup replay with Hearts.

“The league is our priority – it has been all season. We want to get promotion this time round and, by winning against Raith, we can open up the gap and turn up the pressure on the teams behind us.”

While Lennon believes Hibs will be “in a strong position” should they secure the three points at Stark’s Park, Boyle insisted the league would be far from over although he conceded it would mean United and the teams immediately behind them, Falkirk and Morton, couldn’t afford to drop many more points.

He said: “It’s that time of the season when you always have a wee look to see how the teams closest to you are doing. We know from the experience of the past two seasons that when you are chasing the pressure is always on to avoid any slip-ups. United have already caught us once this season and we don’t want that to happen again.

“A nine-point lead rather than six is a big difference, but it doesn’t mean a start to the league being over.

“We’ve still got to play United at Tannadice again, Morton home and away and Falkirk at Easter Road so I am sure there will be a lot of twists and turns to come before it is all over.”

Ayr had endured a run of ten matches without a win before, having become the only side to beat Hibs in Edinburgh in the league this season, they pulled off another shock by holding Lennon’s team to a draw.

Similarly, Raith go into tomorrow’s match having suffered a winless streak which stretches to 14 matches going back to late October when a Mark Stewart goal was enough to beat Queen of the South, that strike one of just 22 they’ve scored in their 23 league games to date.

It was a record which proved costly for manager Gary Locke who, along with his assistant Darren Jackson, was sacked ten days ago only hours after a narrow defeat by Morton, the Rovers board moving quickly to name former Hibs skipper and boss John Hughes as his successor.

But, while he admitted Rovers are likely to enjoy an immediate lift from the arrival of Hughes, Boyle admitted to being surprised that Raith, who made the play-offs last season only to be edged out by Hibs before they themselves had their promotion hopes ended by Falkirk, currently find themselves in eighth place and flirting with the relegation play-off place.

Recalling how the Fife club have drawn twice with Hibs already this season, the 23-year-old said: “I honestly think Raith are a good team. They’ve always been up there.

“They’ve got some good players – I know a few of them from our days together at Dundee – and I have to say I’m a bit surprised the way things have gone for them in the past few months.

“I don’t recall coming across John Hughes before but I’ve heard a lot about him – that’s he’s a good manager who’s done well, particularly at Inverness Caley where they won the Scottish Cup a couple of seasons ago.

“Raith have obviously been going through a really sticky spell but I’m sure that will come to an end, that they’ll pick themselves up and get going again.

“In this league, anyone can beat anyone else as we’ve seen all season. By all accounts, Raith shouldn’t have been defeated by Morton in their last game and they came very close to causing a huge upset against Hearts in the cup at Stark’s Park in the last round.

“But, as always, you expect a team to get a bit of a lift when a new manager comes in. I’m sure their fans will also be right behind their side and manager so it will be up to us to make sure John Hughes isn’t celebrating after his first match in charge.”

Regardless of whether Raith had undergone a change in manager, Boyle insisted past experiences would have warned Hibs of another tough game, although he was adamant there’s been no shortage of such tests this season with title favourites Hibs being seen as the scalp to take.

Refuting the suggestion he and his team-mates had been distracted by the prospect of a re-run of last year’s Scottish Cup fifth-round encounters with Hearts as they slipped up against Ayr, Boyle said: “That was a blip, nothing to do with the derby. Teams come to Easter Road, camp in and make life difficult for us.

“They managed to get that early goal and then sat in and made it very hard to for us to break them down.

“We know it is difficult to go to Stark’s Park at any time. It’s a tight pitch, sometimes not the best but it can’t be any worse than the one we played on last Sunday.

“But we’re going with our confidence high, we’ve been on a very good run ourselves, we’ve got strength in depth in the squad, we’ve shown we can match anyone and I’d imagine we’ll have another big Hibs support behind us.

“Obviously it would be perfect for us going into Wednesday night’s derby with a win behind us but while we are looking forward to playing Hearts again, our focus is purely on tomorrow and only once that game is over will we turn our full attention to what’s going to be a huge game for both clubs.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4368935.1487274948!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4368935.1487274948!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Martin Boyle, right, tussles with Iain Davidson earlier this season","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Boyle, right, tussles with Iain Davidson earlier this season","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4368935.1487274948!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/winning-all-that-matters-to-me-hibs-boss-neil-lennon-1-4368903","id":"1.4368903","articleHeadline": "Winning all that matters to me – Hibs boss Neil Lennon","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487313032000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon has insisted winning is all that matters as he looks to emerge from tomorrow’s match against Raith Rovers with a victory which would leave Hibs in “a very strong position”, nine points clear at the top of the Ladbrokes Championship table.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4368902.1487270653!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon wants victory at Raith tomorrow and has warned players to forget the derby"} ,"articleBody": "

The Easter Road boss admitted the goalless Scottish Cup draw with arch-rivals Hearts last weekend might not have been a classic in many people’s eyes, but revealed he cared little for their opinion.

He said: “Listen, I’m not here for the neutrals. I really don’t care what they thought of the game. My remit was to get through and make sure we didn’t get beat so the players handled the occasion very, very well.”

Lennon was adamant the state of the pitch at Tynecastle prevented an eye-pleasing style of football and, while some may say the better surface at Easter Road may suit Hearts in Wednesday night’s replay, he argued: “It will certainly suit us. It was impossible to play football [at Tynecastle].

“I watched Rangers two or three weeks earlier try to play that way and they got beat 4-1. Rangers are a stronger club than us with better individuals and Hearts did a number on them. I certainly didn’t want that happening to me or my team, especially in my first derby.

“I don’t think you can play football all the time. Teams try to and the ball is bobbling, teams press you and it makes it difficult to play through them on poor pitches. I have seen it many times before. I looked at the pitch on Sunday and said ‘I don’t think I have great ball-playing centre halves today anyway, so we are going to be a little bit more direct, play in the final third and put them under pressure’.”

Anticipating the pitch at Stark’s Park, like most throughout the country, won’t be in pristine condition, Lennon is willing to win however victory is achieved.

He said: “We all want to play a certain way and we all want to win in style and have a football philosophy. My philosophy after being in management for what, six or seven years now, is to win, whether you win as well as you can or win by as little as you can.

“However it is, it certainly makes your weekend a lot better when you win although you can analyse your performance. We’ve heard that cliché before where ‘we’ve played better and lost’. It doesn’t make your Saturday night any better. Trust me.”

Hibs face former captain and manager John Hughes as he takes charge of Raith for the first time add although he believes the arrival of Yogi will give the struggling Fife club a lift, Lennon insisted: “Our focus is to win the game, stretch the lead and put pressure on the teams chasing us because eventually they are going to have to play each other and points will be dropped here and there.

“It is important that we keep going consistently. We have been on a good run and sometimes that gets overlooked by some people.”

Adamant he doesn’t want a repeat of a dire first 45 minutes against Ayr United ahead of the first meeting with Hearts, Lennon said: “If anyone has any ideas about taking their foot off the gas and saving themselves for the replay then I think that idea is misconstrued.

“I want to get promotion and the club wants to get promotion. If we win we will be nine points ahead with 12 games to go. That would put us in a very strong position. If we don’t win we are six clear, but the incentive is there to make the others work really hard to catch us.”

Lennon confirmed Hibs will be without both Jordon Forster and Paul Hanlon for both tomorrow and the visit of Hearts but revealed he hopes the latter might be ready to face Dunfermline next Saturday,

Meanwhile, he won’t be pursuing Norwegian winger Thomas Drage who had been on trial with Hibs and former Crystal Palace forward Kieron Cadogan who played in the development squad’s draw with Inverness Caley, saying: “We get offered a lot of trialists and it does not cost us anything to have a look. Any trialist coming in would have to be of a very good standard for us to entertain them.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4368902.1487270653!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4368902.1487270653!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Lennon wants victory at Raith tomorrow and has warned players to forget the derby","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon wants victory at Raith tomorrow and has warned players to forget the derby","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4368902.1487270653!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/crime/anthony-stokes-ordered-to-pay-elvis-impersonator-196k-1-4368934","id":"1.4368934","articleHeadline": "Anthony Stokes ordered to pay Elvis impersonator £196k","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487274246000 ,"articleLead": "

Footballer Anthony Stokes has been ordered to pay an Elvis impersonator €230,000 (£196,000) for headbutting him in a nightclub.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4355314.1487275039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Footballer Anthony Stokes arrives at Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

The former Hibs striker had already agreed to give his victim €30,000 for breaking his nose and two of his teeth and faces the second payout after being sued in the High Court in Dublin.

Former car park attendant Anthony Bradley, 53, was attacked by Stokes in the VIP section of what was then Buck Whaleys nightclub on Leeson Street in Dublin on June 8 2013.

Stokes, who is awaiting the birth of a third child, did not attend the hearing and had no lawyers in court.

The Irish international, who won six Scottish league title medals with Celtic and was instrumental in Hibernian’s 2016 Cup final victory, was hit with a two-year suspended sentence earlier this month after admitting the assault.

He was ordered to pay Mr Bradley €150,000 in general damages, €50,000 in aggravated damages and €32,000 for medical expenses, his solicitor Joseph Burke confirmed.

“Mr Bradley has indicated that he is pleased with the outcome and that he simply wishes to get on with his life,” the lawyer said.

The damages award by a jury in the High Court in Dublin is enforceable in Britain.

During the hearing, Mr Bradley told the court he has not received an apology from Stokes over the incident, although lawyers for the footballer apologised on his behalf during the sentencing hearing at the start of February.

The assault occurred in Buck Whaleys nightclub, where Stokes had been on a night out with friends.

Mr Bradley, who had arrived at the club two hours earlier and had drunk one pint of beer while there, twice had drink spilt on him by a man before he was headbutted by Stokes.

The footballer was escorted from the premises following the incident and his sentencing heard he had told an employee: “If someone puts it up to me, I’m going to nut him.”

Mr Bradley was headbutted across the bridge of his nose and suffered a deviated septum and two broken front teeth in what was described as a “nasty, cowardly attack”.

His medical bills have cost €13,500 over the past three-and-a-half years.

Mr Bradley was away from his job as a car park attendant in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin for eight months following the incident and subsequently stopped working as he suffered physical and psychological effects.

He has also been diagnosed with a degenerative spinal condition since the assault, which causes pain across his neck and shoulders.

Stokes left Ireland aged 15 to join the Arsenal youth academy and moved to Falkirk aged 17 before going on to Hibernian FC, Celtic and Blackburn.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANGUS HOWARTH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4355314.1487275039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4355314.1487275039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Footballer Anthony Stokes arrives at Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Footballer Anthony Stokes arrives at Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4355314.1487275039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-have-just-two-fit-centre-backs-for-raith-clash-1-4367715","id":"1.4367715","articleHeadline": "Hibs have just two fit centre-backs for Raith clash","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487226642000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs are set to make the trip to Raith Rovers on Saturday with only two fit senior centre-backs even though an injury suffered by Jordon Forster is not as bad as first suspected.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4367714.1487182867!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Fontaine and Darren McGregor will line up in central defence for Hibs at Stark's Park"} ,"articleBody": "

Liam Fontaine and Darren McGregor are almost certain to start at the heart of the defence at Stark’s Park, with Forster definitely out and Paul Hanlon unlikely to be deemed fit enough for a return to the squad after undergoing surgery on a minor pelvic problem recently.

Forster was given a rare start in Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie with Hearts at Tynecastle, but was forced off early in the second half after suffering a hamstring injury.

Neil Lennon said in the aftermath of the goalless derby draw that he feared the 23-year-old could be sidelined for six weeks. However, medical checks have since revealed that the defender, who was a commanding presence alongside McGregor in the first half, is likely only to be out for around three weeks, which should mean he will be available in early March.

Hanlon hasn’t played since the victory over Dundee United six weeks ago after niggling pain afflicted him during matches over the festive period. He is nearing a return to action but it is unlikely he will be ready to play any part against Raith Rovers. It remains to be seen if he will be rushed back for the Scottish Cup replay against Hearts next Wednesday.

When it emerged that Hanlon would face a spell on the sidelines, Hibs looked into the possibility of recruiting an additional centre-back in January, but nothing materialised. If any misfortune were to befall either McGregor or Fontaine in the upcoming games, holding midfielder Marvin Bartley or right-back David Gray would be the likeliest candidates to cover at centre-back. Academy prospect Kevin Waugh could also be considered, while teenage left-back Callum Crane has been tested in central defence in recent development league matches. Highly-rated youngster Ryan Porteous is currently on loan at Edinburgh City.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4367714.1487182867!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4367714.1487182867!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liam Fontaine and Darren McGregor will line up in central defence for Hibs at Stark's Park","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Fontaine and Darren McGregor will line up in central defence for Hibs at Stark's Park","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4367714.1487182867!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/no-way-hibs-will-suffer-league-collapse-this-time-doolan-1-4367756","id":"1.4367756","articleHeadline": "No way Hibs will suffer league collapse this time – Doolan","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487226629000 ,"articleLead": "

At this time last year, the wheels were about to come off Hibs’ Championship title bid. John Doolan anticipates no repeat this time round and is adamant that his old team will be starting next season in the Premiership.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4367754.1487186423!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs 3-0 home defeat by Morton last February sparked a run of four defeats, effectively ending their title hopes"} ,"articleBody": "

The Liverpudlian was first-team coach under Alan Stubbs at this point a year ago as the Easter Road side were coming towards the end of a 28-game run in which they would lose only one game in all competitions. At the onset of February, hopes were high that they could reel in a stuttering Rangers side who sat just five points above them having played a game more.

A goalless draw at Livingston on February 13, however, allowed the Ibrox side to seize command of the title race, and although Hibs won their next two games – at home to Hearts in the Scottish Cup replay and Alloa Athletic in the league – they were soon to lose their way completely as competing for two cups took a toll on their promotion push. A 3-0 defeat at home to Morton in late February sparked a remarkable run in which they lost four league games in a row and won only once in eight as they ended up finishing in third place and subsequently losing to Falkirk in the play-offs.

Currently six points clear of faltering Dundee United, and with a game in hand, Doolan expects the side he left behind last summer to capitalise on their position of strength by seeing out the title with minimum fuss over the next two and a half months.

“They’re sitting pretty at the minute,” he told the Evening News. “You’d rather be sitting on top and have teams chasing you. Everyone starts to look seriously at the table around Christmas, but here we are in February and they’re in a very good position. It’s in their own hands and I’m sure they’ll get it done.

“It’s always nice to have teams chasing you but when you’re chasing, there’s pressure on every game to make sure you don’t slip up. That means when you do have a setback, like we did, it can knock you out of your stride. Sitting top of the league with points in the bag is totally different to having games and being the chasing side.”

Doolan has no worries about the current Hibs squad losing their nerve at the business end of the campaign. “I think what happened last year will stand them in good stead,” he said.

“They all know their job is to get Hibs out of that league, and with two years’ experience of it, and all the cup runs, and winning the Scottish Cup, I think they’ll get it done. Look at the characters in that dressing-room. They’re not going to crumble, no chance. The fact the majority of them have won silverware recently means they won’t be intimidated when the finishing line comes into view.

“Even last season, although we had our knocks, we always picked ourselves up, whether it was going out and winning the replay at Inverness just days after losing the League Cup Final or winning the Scottish Cup a week after losing to Falkirk in the play-offs. You get tested all the time in the football, but the experiences that group have had will stand them in good stead.”

At this point last year, Hibs were still prominently involved in three competitions. This season, they have only two to contend with, but there is no escaping the fact the fact the Scottish Cup replay against Hearts on Wednesday is looming large even though their next fixture is Saturday’s Championship trip to Raith Rovers, who will be under the charge of former Hibs boss John Hughes for the first time. Doolan has no concerns about the ability of Neil Lennon’s side to keep their eye on the most important prize this time round.

“The two cup runs took their toll on our league campaign last year because the games were coming thick and fast,” said Doolan. “Unlike last year, they’ve only got the Scottish Cup running alongside the league this time. There’ll be less pressure on them to win the Scottish Cup since we got the monkey off the club’s back last year, so it should be easier to stay focused on the bread and butter of the league.

“Raith away is their next game and that’s their most important game. It’s a massive game. John Hughes has been up and down the leagues and has won the Scottish Cup himself so his team will make it a hard game, but there’s enough in the Hibs team to go and get the job done. Once they’ve done that then they can turn their attention to going out and enjoying the replay.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4367754.1487186423!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4367754.1487186423!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs 3-0 home defeat by Morton last February sparked a run of four defeats, effectively ending their title hopes","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs 3-0 home defeat by Morton last February sparked a run of four defeats, effectively ending their title hopes","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4367754.1487186423!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4367755.1487186424!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4367755.1487186424!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Doolan","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Doolan","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4367755.1487186424!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/fresh-conviction-as-former-hibs-star-fined-for-stealing-1-4367474","id":"1.4367474","articleHeadline": "Fresh conviction as former Hibs star fined for stealing","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487169876000 ,"articleLead": "

TEN years ago he moved for £3 million to the most-watched league in the world.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4367472.1487169857!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Garry O'Connor leaves the court. Picture: Lesley Donald"} ,"articleBody": "

But now Garry O’Connor’s fall from grace is complete after he was fined £200 for stealing clothes from an upmarket department store.

It’s been a decade since former Hibs striker O’Connor left Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow for Birmingham City – and in that time the 33-year-old has suffered a humiliating and public downfall.

Once pocketing £20,000 a week, a court heard yesterday that he was unemployed and being supported by his wife, who is thought to work in a tanning salon.

He admitted stealing clothes from Harvey Nichols and was ordered to pay the St Andrew Square store £700 compensation for a stolen jacket that was never recovered.

The conviction marks the latest in a long list of offences for the ex-Hibernian player, who scored 46 goals during his time at Easter Road.

Despite early success on the pitch, O’Connor was drawn into a lavish party lifestyle that saw him squander his estimated £4m fortune on a combination of alcohol, drugs and a collection of fast 
cars.

Now the ex-footballer – who also had a stint at Lowland League side Selkirk as a player/manager – has swapped his £1.3m mansion for a £65-a-week council house in North Berwick.

Colm Dempsey, O’Connor’s defence solicitor, told Edinburgh Justice of the Peace Court yesterday that the theft on November 25 last year had been “unsophisticated” and that O’Connor “bitterly regretted the incident”.

O’Connor, he added, had no outstanding cases and although there were previous convictions, there were none for dishonesty.

Nonetheless it marks a fresh instalment in what has been a troubled journey since O’Connor was catapulted to fame in the early 2000s.

Reports of his antics quickly spread, with O’Connor previously admitting he snorted cocaine up to three times a week, spent £2m on 
Ferraris and Bentleys, thousands on designer tracksuits and all washed down with £100 bottles of champagne.

He was eventually cut loose from Birmingham City, failing a drugs test in 2009 and later spent £35,000 on a stay at a US rehab clinic in an attempt to hide his cocaine habit from the public.

At the height of his career it is thought O’Connor was earning up to £18,000 per week but the heavily-tattooed footballer – dubbed “Garry O’Cocky” by the tabloids – said it was the pressure of performing which led his life into freefall.

He said in a previous interview: “I feel bad that they [my kids] don’t have the inheritance that they should have.

“I always found myself in the company of people who had coke on offer all the time – it was too easy to take the drug on a night out.

“I knew I should never have put myself in that position but when you’ve got that much cash sloshing around you get carried away.

“My life was out of control but I kept it quiet.”

From hero to zero...

SINCE his rise to fame Garry O’Connor has had his fair share of court appearances.

After crashing his Ferrari Spyder in Tranent in April 2011, the shamed footballer appeared in court in 2012 accused of trying to swindle £93,500 in insurance money for the wrecked car.

O’Connor, who was 29 at the time of the trial, was subsequently cleared of the charge.

The previous week O’Connor had been convicted of possessing cocaine and obstructing police officers who spotted him snorting the powder.

He was found guilty of attempting to run away after officers saw him taking the drug in Edinburgh, and it emerged he had tried to tell police his surname was Johnstone when stopped.

A 200-hour community service order followed, with this in turn leading to a £500 fine after O’Connor failed to turn up for a number of shifts.

The striker appeared in court again in 2014 charged with driving his £35,000 Chrysler 300C in Port Seton after taking an unknown substance.

He was stopped by police officers on the B1348 at around 8pm on June 19, 2013. The charges were later dropped by the prosecution.

Later the same year O’Connor was fined £300 for pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

The conviction came after he was spotted on Leith Walk with a bag of white powder in his hand, which later turned out to be 0.03g of cocaine.

This week he was fined £200 for shoplifting from Harvey Nichols in November last year. He was also told to pay £700 in compensation.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4367472.1487169857!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4367472.1487169857!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Garry O'Connor leaves the court. Picture: Lesley Donald","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Garry O'Connor leaves the court. Picture: Lesley Donald","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4367472.1487169857!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4367473.1487169860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4367473.1487169860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Garry O'Connor celebrates a winning goal for Hibs. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Garry O'Connor celebrates a winning goal for Hibs. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4367473.1487169860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-at-home-the-perfect-opener-for-raith-boss-john-hughes-1-4366404","id":"1.4366404","articleHeadline": "Hibs at home the perfect opener for Raith boss John Hughes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487140244000 ,"articleLead": "

Billy Brown believes John Hughes couldn’t have a tougher match for his first in charge of Raith Rovers – but he insisted the former Hibs boss probably couldn’t have a better one.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4366402.1487087490!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Hughes has been tasked with leading Raith Rovers away from the Ladbrokes Championship relegation danger zone"} ,"articleBody": "

By one of those strange quirks of fate that football so often throws up, Yogi will face the Championship leaders at Stark’s Park only days after succeeding Gary Locke, handed a short-term contract with the remit of ensuring the Kirkcaldy club haul themselves clear of the danger zone at the foot of the table.

Ending a run of 14 matches without a win stretching back to the end of October will be Hughes’ first task, a difficult one against a Hibs side intent on opening up a nine-point lead in their bid to win the title and promotion.

But, insisted Brown, Hughes will relish the challenge, having first come across the “fearsome character” almost 20 years ago when he and Jim Jefferies, one of football’s longest lasting management teams, took over at Berwick Rangers.

From Newtongrange Star via Berwick, Swansea, Falkirk, Celtic and Hibs and then into management himself with the Bairns, then Easter Road, Livingston, Hartlepool and Inverness Caley – where he won the Scottish Cup – Yogi has, declared Brown, enjoyed a “tremendous career”.

However, it all began at Shielfield Park with the wee Rangers propping up the entire Scottish League.

Brown recalled: “We were bottom of all the divisions.

“Berwick were actually playing quite well but just couldn’t win games so we decided we’d try to get the ball forward only we didn’t have anyone to play up front.

“Jim said ‘I’ve got the very man’ and so we put Yogi up there. I think in his first three or four games, the central defenders who were up against him went off with facial injuries.

“Believe it or not, we went 21 or 22 games undefeated and still finished second bottom which shows how far down we were. Yogi was brilliant for us and earned Berwick £70,000 when he moved to Swansea.”

The trio were reunited when Jefferies and Brown moved to Falkirk and, again, Hughes was initially played out of position in midfield before taking the step back into defence.

Brown said: “Yogi was brilliant at Falkirk. With him in your team you always had a chance. We had David Weir, Yogi and Stevie Fulton, three of the best players I have ever worked with. You would never say Yogi was an artist as a football player but he was the first pick in any team we had.”

Brown revealed he and Jefferies considered taking Hughes with them when they took charge of Hearts, only for Celtic boss Tommy Burns to beat them to his signature.

“Would he have come to Tynecastle?” mused Brown. “I don’t know because we never got round to it. But in professional football a lot of things happen and there’s been plenty, myself included, who have moved between Hearts and Hibs.”

Born-and-bred Leither Hughes finally came “home”, signed for Hibs by Jocky Scott and enjoyed four years at Easter Road before moving on to Ayr United and back to Falkirk where he began his own management career, initially in tandem with Owen Coyle. The surprise was that this “whole-hearted” defender espoused a game based on “pass, pass, pass”, an ethos he adheres to this day.

Brown said: “The strange thing was Yogi teamed up with Brian Rice, who was an artist but he favoured more direct football.

“The two of them were the opposite in management to what they were as players.”

Hughes took the Bairns to the 2009 Scottish Cup final, viewed by many to have played Rangers off the pitch at Hampden only to lose to a Nacho Novo goal.

It was enough to convince Hibs he was the man to succeed Mixu Paatelainen, a decision which appeared vindicated when he led the Capital club into Europe following a nail-biting finale to his first season.

There was, however, to be no second season, Hughes axed in the October, Brown admitting he took that knock badly.

He said: “For a Leith boy, it was his dream job. Putting that sort of thing behind you is very difficult at times but you have to do it. Time is a great healer, and Yogi moved on and became a Scottish Cup winner with Caley.”

Brown, who spent his own spell at Easter Road as assistant to both Colin Calderwood and Pat Fenlon, admitted management had probably changed Hughes, adding: “Believe it or not, I think is a bit calmer now but more intense as you have to be as a manager when you have things on your mind all the time.

“As the years go on and what he has been through – he’s had his ups and downs – I think you approach things with a different outlook. He’s a bit more relaxed, or as relaxed as you can be in this job but, while he has maybe changed a wee bit, he is still the big lad we all loved at Berwick.

“Yes, he’s a big, fearsome character who can look after himself – if there was to be another war you’d want to be in his trench because you’d have a chance – but he’s a tremendous character, someone with a heart of gold.”

Brown has also had an insight into the immediate challenge facing Hughes at Raith having done some scouting work for his predecessor, believing Locke was a touch unlucky to lose his job.

He said: “As a manager, you don’t just have to be good, you also need to be lucky and I dont think Gary has had many breaks as one.

“Raith should never have lost his last game against Morton and they could have knocked Hearts out of the cup with their performance in the second half of the first game. Things go against you and, as we all know, football is a results-driven business although I do feel Gary was unfortunate.

“As far as Yogi is concerned, I don’t think he could be starting with a harder game, but I don’t know if he could have had a better one.

“Raith’s record against Hibs has been fairly good. I know Hibs are on a good run but, if anyone can get Raith to raise their game, it’s Yogi.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4366402.1487087490!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4366402.1487087490!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Hughes has been tasked with leading Raith Rovers away from the Ladbrokes Championship relegation danger zone","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Hughes has been tasked with leading Raith Rovers away from the Ladbrokes Championship relegation danger zone","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4366402.1487087490!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4366403.1487087496!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4366403.1487087496!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Billy Brown and Hughes","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Billy Brown and Hughes","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4366403.1487087496!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/darren-mcgregor-hibs-must-stay-focused-on-extending-lead-1-4366573","id":"1.4366573","articleHeadline": "Darren McGregor: Hibs must stay focused on extending lead","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487140206000 ,"articleLead": "

Darren McGregor has urged his Hibs team-mates to take their chance to open up a nine-point lead at the top of the Championship table when they face Raith Rovers on Saturday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4366572.1487095373!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Darren McGregor says Hibs need to 'up their levels'"} ,"articleBody": "

McGregor admitted former Hibs boss and captain John Hughes will have the Kirkcaldy side “geed up” for his first match as their new manager, a game which falls between two Scottish Cup derbies against Hearts for the Capital club.

Neil Lennon’s players slipped up ahead of their fifth-round tie at Tynecastle, held to a 1-1 draw at home by Ayr United, a result which allowed title rivals Dundee United to trim their advantage to six points.

But, as Hibs battled out a 0-0 draw in Gorgie – forcing a replay against the Jambos next Wednesday – Ray McKinnon’s players themselves stumbled, falling to a 3-0 defeat by Falkirk.

And, with United playing Queen of the South in the semi-finals of the Irn-Bru Cup this weekend, the game in hand Hibs have could see them widen the gap at the top.

Voicing his belief that Lennon’s players had been guilty of some complacency against Ayr following a run of five straight wins, McGregor said: “We need to up our levels. The incentive should be to go nine points clear. Their new manager is quite familiar with this club and he will have them geed up, but I believe we have the squad that can go and solidify our position at the top.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4366572.1487095373!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4366572.1487095373!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Darren McGregor says Hibs need to 'up their levels'","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Darren McGregor says Hibs need to 'up their levels'","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4366572.1487095373!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-under-20s-extend-lead-at-top-of-development-league-1-4366538","id":"1.4366538","articleHeadline": "Hibs Under-20s extend lead at top of Development League","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487093992000 ,"articleLead": "

A last-minute goal from midfielder Scott Martin saw Hibs extend their lead at the top of the SPFL Development League to five points.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4366537.1487093977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Martin scored at the death for Hibs"} ,"articleBody": "

But the Easter Road youngsters passed up the chance to put pressure on Celtic – five points adrift but with three games in hand – as they had to come from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Inverness Caley.

Hearts had done them a favour by beating Celtic 24 hours earlier, but they found themselves trailing to goals from Dean Ebbe and Scott Boden before Adam Watson pulled one back, leaving Martin to snatch the equaliser.

Hibs: Gallacher, Donaldson, Mackie, Crane, Waugh, S Martin, Trialist (Gullan), I Murray (Smith), Watson (Breen), Handling, F Murray. Subs not used: P Martin, O’Connor.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4366537.1487093977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4366537.1487093977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scott Martin scored at the death for Hibs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Martin scored at the death for Hibs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4366537.1487093977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/steven-mclean-to-referee-hibs-v-hearts-scottish-cup-replay-1-4366074","id":"1.4366074","articleHeadline": "Steven McLean to referee Hibs v Hearts Scottish Cup replay","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487070471000 ,"articleLead": "

Steven McLean will take charge of Wednesday’s Scottish Cup fifth-round replay between Hearts and Hibs at Easter Road.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4366073.1487070356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Referee Steven McLean will take charge of next week's Edinburgh derby. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

DOWNLOAD THE EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS APP ON ITUNES OR GOOGLE PLAY

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

The experienced whistler last took charge of an Edinburgh derby back in January 2015 as a long-range strike from Jamie Walker cancelled out Jason Cummings’ opener in a 1-1 draw at Tynecastle.

Following Sunday’s 0-0 draw, the Edinburgh rivals will go head to head for the second time in 10 days with a home tie against Ayr United or Clyde in the quarter-final up for grabs.

Meanwhile, Bobby Madden has been announced as the referee for Inverness Caley Thistle’s trip to Tynecastle this weekend. Hibs will see Craig Charleston officiate their trip to Raith Rovers on Saturday.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FOWLER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4366073.1487070356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4366073.1487070356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Referee Steven McLean will take charge of next week's Edinburgh derby. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Referee Steven McLean will take charge of next week's Edinburgh derby. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4366073.1487070356!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/ofir-marciano-it-s-a-privilege-to-play-for-the-hibs-fans-1-4365694","id":"1.4365694","articleHeadline": "Ofir Marciano: It’s a privilege to play for the Hibs fans","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487053812000 ,"articleLead": "

Ofir MARCIANO was still feeling twinges of pain from the rib injury he’d suffered on his last visit to Tynecastle but, the Hibs goalkeeper revealed, the giddy atmosphere of an Edinburgh derby provided the perfect painkiller as he made a surprise return to action against Hearts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4365692.1487011711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ofir Marciano leads his team-mates in applauding the Hibs supporters in the Roseburn Stand after securing a replay a week tomorrow at Easter Road"} ,"articleBody": "

The Israeli internationalist had completed just 20 minutes of first-team action in more than two months, that coming as he made his comeback from knee surgery only to be crocked, ironically, at the Gorgie ground, a collision with team-mate Liam Fontaine seeing him make an early exit as Neil Lennon’s players crushed Bonnyrigg Rose 8-1 to set up a Scottish Cup clash with their Capital rivals.

Today the 26-year-old revealed he had yet to fully recover from the knock suffered that day, although the initial fear of a broken rib or two was quickly discounted. And he was determined to play through the pain in a bid to help his team-mates pull off a repeat of last season’s heroics in which Hibs defeated the Jambos in a replay at Easter Road following a 2-2 draw, a massive step towards 
smashing their cup hoodoo of 114 years.

Now there’s the distinct possibility of history repeating itself, Ian Cathro having to take his side across the city next Wednesday following the weekend stalemate in which Marciano played a massive part in ensuring the game ended goalless with an impressive save at the start of each half from Hearts strikers Esmael Goncalves and Bjorn Johnsen.

And, having sampled the white-hot cauldron of his first derby, Marciano admitted he can’t wait for next week’s re-run although, having received a bonus over the weekend with Hibs’ closest Championship 
rivals, Dundee United, being comprehensively beaten by Falkirk, he insisted the immediate focus must be on extending their lead at the top of the table to nine points when they face Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park on Saturday.

On a season-long loan from Israeli outfit Ashdod, Marciano said: “The derby is the kind of game I came here to play and I was delighted to have the opportunity to play in one. It was amazing. I have played in good atmospheres but I’d never played in a derby. You could see the rivalry. It was good to be involved.

“I thought our fans were amazing. I don’t have words to describe it. I’m happy for them. It’s a privilege to play for them.

“I think everyone was happy because we performed well. To be fair, it wasn’t a great game of football but it was a fight and everyone could see we fought. That’s the most important thing in these games and I think we won every battle.”

Marciano certainly won his in denying Goncalves and then Johnsen, his first stop coming within three minutes as he “stood big” to deny the former St Mirren hitman. Acknowledging the first goal can often prove to be pivotal in such encounters, he said: “I saw Goncalves get control of the ball and take it forward.

“I just tried to get as close as I could to him and opened my body. It was a decent shot but I had got close and managed to stop it. As a goalkeeper, you have key moments in the game when you have to do that sort of thing and I was happy I did.”

As Hearts hit Hibs with another whirlwind start to the second half, Marciano pulled off what was an even better save to deny Johnsen – a half-time substitute for the Jambos– as a shot from Goncalves was blocked, the ball spinning high into the air before falling at Johnsen’s feet.

Marciano admitted it was an instinctive stop, saying: “When I saw him get the ball I wasn’t in the best position so I tried to move my feet and I was able to save it with my leg before Darren McGregor pulled off a great block from the second shot” [from Jamie Walker].”

It was a big call in the first place from Hibs boss Neil Lennon to re-instate Marciano, but one which was fully vindicated not only by those saves but an assured 90 minutes from the goalkeeper who knew only the day before that he’d be pushed back into the fray.

Lennon said: “I looked at him on Saturday and I thought he looked great. It was a big game. He is an international goalkeeper and he showed his class. The one chance Hearts cut us open was Goncalves early on and Ofir has stood up brilliantly to that and made a great save.

“The one from Johnsen they have got a huge slice of luck with the ricochet and he has saved it again.”

Marciano added: “The gaffer asked me how I felt and I was happy that he trusted me. I’m not fully fit, I’m still feeling pain because the area is still damaged. It’s like having a dead leg but in the ribs. It’s not a nice injury. It was one that was very sore. I had painkillers before the game but in an atmosphere like that you forget everything. As a professional football player, you sometimes have to play through pain and I was happy the gaffer and staff gave me the confidence that I could play and I am happy to have repaid them for that.”

Marciano, however, admitted that collision with Fontaine had gone through his mind as he took up station before those 3582 fans in Tynecastle’s Roseburn Stand, the very same goal where the damage had been done last month.

He said: “It was my first game after my knee injury and it was very frustrating to be injured again but I worked hard to get fit again as soon as possible. What happened last time did flash through my mind but as a professional football player you have to get over things. I didn’t feel anything. I just focused on the ball.

“That’s what goalkeepers have to do, especially in these sort of matches. There’s no time to think about anything else and I am happy the game went well.”

Now Marciano can’t wait to be facing Hearts again, this time in front of a 20,400 sell-out crowd at Easter Road. Asked if Hibs could repeat last season’s victory, he said: “You never know but in football you have to work hard to make it happen.

“I’m really looking forward to another Edinburgh derby, this time at home, but we’ve done nothing yet. We have another game and, as everyone knows, this is our cup and we want to defend it, we want to hold on to it as long as we can.

“But promotion is the key target. We have to concentrate on getting the three points against Raith on Saturday and increasing our lead at the top of the table.

“Only then can we start thinking about another match with Hearts.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4365692.1487011711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4365692.1487011711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ofir Marciano leads his team-mates in applauding the Hibs supporters in the Roseburn Stand after securing a replay a week tomorrow at Easter Road","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ofir Marciano leads his team-mates in applauding the Hibs supporters in the Roseburn Stand after securing a replay a week tomorrow at Easter Road","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4365692.1487011711!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4365693.1487011718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4365693.1487011718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Lennon congratulates Ofir Marciano at full-time on Sunday","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon congratulates Ofir Marciano at full-time on Sunday","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4365693.1487011718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-defender-jordon-forster-facing-up-to-six-weeks-out-1-4365689","id":"1.4365689","articleHeadline": "Hibs defender Jordon Forster facing up to six weeks out","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487010607000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs boss Neil Lennon has revealed Jordon Forster could be out of action for up to six weeks, sparking fears of a defensive crisis ahead of next week’s Scottish Cup replay with arch-rivals Hearts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4365688.1487010173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs defender Jordon Forster, above, had to be replaced by Liam Fontaine at Tynecastle"} ,"articleBody": "

Forster suffered a hamstring problem and was forced to limp off nine minutes into the second half of the fifth-round tie at Tynecastle – which ended in a no-scoring draw – to be replaced by Liam Fontaine.

But, with Paul Hanlon recovering from an operation designed to cure the pelvic problem which has troubled in him recent weeks, Lennon could be left with only two central defenders, Fontaine and Darren McGregor, for both this weekend’s Championship match away to Raith Rovers and the visit of Hearts a week on Wednesday.

Lennon’s assistant Gary Parker has expressed hope that Hanlon may be fit enough to return for the trip to Stark’s Park for what will be former Hibs manager John Hughes’ first game in charge of Raith, a fixture which offers Lennon’s players the chance to extend their six-point lead at the top of the Championship table.

However, Hanlon hasn’t played since the 3-0 demoliton of Dundee United on January 6, the 27-year-old having initially been given a cortisone injection in the hope that would avoid surgery only for it to fail, leaving an operation as the only option. Given that backdrop, Lennon could well opt for McGregor and Fontaine as his starting central defensive partnership with Hanlon taking a seat on the bench in case of emergency, robbing the Hibs manager of the choice of fielding a back three as he has done on a number of occasions this season.

Lennon said: “Jordon picked up a knock. It’s a hamstring and it’s looking like four to six weeks out. I’m hoping it’s not going to be that bad, maybe a strain. But hamstrings are pretty delicate injuries.” Meanwhile, Lennon has claimed his players will go into next Wednesday’s replay enjoying a shift in the derby-day psyche.

Hibs haven’t lost in their last six encounters with Hearts, leading Lennon to say: “There was nothing between the sides. We were playing away and the players really enjoyed the environment. You can see a psychological shift between the two clubs. Hibs are strong now. Hearts are strong and, in years gone by, they were the dominant team – that’s not the case any more.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4365688.1487010173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4365688.1487010173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs defender Jordon Forster, above, had to be replaced by Liam Fontaine at Tynecastle","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs defender Jordon Forster, above, had to be replaced by Liam Fontaine at Tynecastle","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4365688.1487010173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/tv-blackout-for-hibs-hearts-scottish-cup-replay-1-4365638","id":"1.4365638","articleHeadline": "TV blackout for Hibs-Hearts Scottish Cup replay","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487005932000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts and Hibs fans face a ticket scramble for the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round replay at Easter Road next Wednesday as the match will not be televised.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4365637.1487006575!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts and Hibs battled out a no-scoring draw at Tynecastle on Sunday. Pic: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

Two Champions League ties take place at the same time and UEFA rules state that no other football can be broadcast live in direct opposition to their premier competition.

Porto v Juventus and Sevilla v Leicester City are due to kick off at the same time as the Edinburgh derby. That means the only way Hearts and Hibs supporters can see the Scottish Cup replay is to be there in person.

Hearts have been allocated just under 4000 tickets for Easter Road with sales beginning at 9am on Wednesday. Hibs fans on the Hibernian database were able to purchase their seats from 10am on Tuesday.

The two sides played out an unremarkable 0-0 draw at Tynecastle on Sunday, meaning they must meet again on February 22. The winners will host Ayr United or Clyde at home in the quarter-finals.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4365637.1487006575!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4365637.1487006575!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts and Hibs battled out a no-scoring draw at Tynecastle on Sunday. Pic: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts and Hibs battled out a no-scoring draw at Tynecastle on Sunday. Pic: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4365637.1487006575!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/hibs-fans-locked-out-of-tynecastle-due-to-steward-error-1-4365569","id":"1.4365569","articleHeadline": "Hibs fans locked out of Tynecastle due to ‘steward error’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487001310000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs have released a statement explaining why some fans were unable to gain access to Tynecastle for their Scottish Cup clash against Hearts on Sunday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4365568.1487001295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There was an issue with access to Tynecastle stadium."} ,"articleBody": "

DOWNLOAD THE EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS APP ON ITUNES OR GOOGLE PLAY

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Hibs confirmed they had been in contact with Hearts after small number of supporters were unable to gain entry to Sunday’s match between the teams at Tynecastle.

It is understood that some Hibs fans were told by steward that they would not be able to gain entry after a statement was read out prematurely and in error.

As a result some supporters opted to leave the area despite not gaining access to the grounds.

The stadium was approaching capacity and fans were being taken in small groups when gaining access for safety reasons. It has been reported that Hibs fans were told that this would cause a delay but would still give them access.

The clubs have agreed that those supporters who were inadvertently misinformed, and who have retained an unused valid match-day ticket, should make themselves known to Hibs.

A Hibs statement reads that tickets will be cross-checked with Hearts, and refunds will be issued.

Supporters have been told to contact the Hibernian Ticket Office (tickets@hibernianfc.co.uk) in the first instance to start the process.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DIANE KING"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4365568.1487001295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4365568.1487001295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "There was an issue with access to Tynecastle stadium.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There was an issue with access to Tynecastle stadium.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4365568.1487001295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/michael-weir-hibs-boss-was-spot-on-with-his-tactics-1-4364841","id":"1.4364841","articleHeadline": "Michael Weir: Hibs boss was spot-on with his tactics","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1486967443000 ,"articleLead": "

The Hibs players couldn’t have given any more than they did at Tynecastle yesterday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4364840.1486923390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs boss Neil Lennon salutes the travelling fans. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

They were right up for the game and thoroughly deserved a replay. The approach was how it should always be in a derby – fully committed. Hearts tried to play a bit of football, but I felt, in light of the conditions and the pitch, Neil Lennon got his tactics spot on because we pretty much stopped them stamping their authority on the match. We looked the more determined side.

Even though Hearts were going into the game on a high, I wasn’t surprised we made it such a tight match. They had done well in their previous two games but the derby is a totally different ball game. First and foremost, it’s about battling – you’ve got to earn the right to play football. I thought our experience of the fixture shone through at times because the Hearts players seemed to want a bit more time on the ball, which is something you rarely get in this game.

However, I’m sure the new boys in their side will now be better equipped for the replay, which is why I won’t be going overboard about our chances. I genuinely can’t call how it’s going to pan out. Hearts didn’t play well yesterday but they’ll be confident they can play a lot better than that in the replay.

I think every Hibs fans would have taken a home replay against Hearts to set up a quarter-final against Ayr or Clyde, though. It was a good weekend all round for Hibs, because things went for us in the league as well, with Dundee United getting hammered by Falkirk. I didn’t expect that result but hopefully it dents United’s confidence and takes the sting out of their challenge.

On the other side of the coin, we need to be wary of Falkirk coming into things. We can’t get too carried away by the results of other teams because first and foremost we need to take care of our own business. There’ll be a lot of hype about the cup replay but before that we need to make sure we’re totally focused on beating Raith Rovers on Saturday. That’ll be a tricky game because it’s John Hughes’ first match in charge of them.

In the context of what we need to achieve this season, the game at Stark’s Park is more important than the Hearts game.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4364840.1486923390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4364840.1486923390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs boss Neil Lennon salutes the travelling fans. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs boss Neil Lennon salutes the travelling fans. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4364840.1486923390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-will-step-things-up-a-gear-in-replay-grant-holt-1-4364796","id":"1.4364796","articleHeadline": "Hibs will step things up a gear in replay – Grant Holt","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1486967433000 ,"articleLead": "

Grant Holt today warned Capital rivals Hearts that Hibs can turn in an even better performance when they meet again in their William Hill Scottish Cup replay at Easter Road on Wednesday week.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4364795.1486917398!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs striker Grant Holt just fails to get his effort on target"} ,"articleBody": "

The veteran striker believes the Tynecastle side were taken by surprise by the work-rate of Neil Lennon’s players as Edinburgh’s big two battled out a no-scoring draw in their fifth-round tie in Gorgie.

While Hibs boss Lennon believes his side – the cup holders – may now enjoy a slight advantage in being at home, Holt insisted the pressure remains on Hearts, the Premier League club up against a Championship side

He said: “We went in to this as underdogs, as the Championship team – that’s all I heard.

“However, we can play anyone. We’re not fussed who we play. We know the qualities we have. We’re a good side. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing.

“We don’t give up, we don’t stop running, we work hard – and that’s probably what’s surprised Hearts as much as anything. How hard we work as a group.

“I don’t think there is ever a driving seat in a derby. I have been at places and been home and away and it’s no different, really.

“You go there with the same mindset that we came into this game with – to win a game of football. I don’t think there are any favourites. I just think whoever is better on the day will win it.”

Holt, though, was of the opinion he and his team-mates can produce a better display on their own turf, claiming neither side would have been happy with the poor state of the Tynecastle pitch. He said: “I think we can play better. I don’t think we were really at it. We couldn’t pass the ball as well as we would like, it was a scrappy game.”

A scrap was certainly what the latest Capital derby was although Holt admitted he’d relished the occasion, his first match against Hearts, both on the pitch and his running verbal battle with Hearts fans.

He said: “You’ve got to enjoy it, If you don’t enjoy a derby then you shouldn’t bother playing football. You have to embrace it.

“The fans have had a day out and a had a few beers so they can say exactly what they want to say. I always get stick and abuse and I was unfortunate at the end not to stick it down their throats.

“Normally that’s what happens, but it’s football. If someone shouts at me, I’ll shout at someone else. As everyone keeps telling me, I’m very thick-skinned and big boned. I can take it.

“It’s just football. I just take it as a laugh and a joke. As long as there is no malice involved in anything, too often I think too much is made of stuff and you can’t really have a laugh and a joke.

“It is still going to be heated but I think you have to enjoy and embrace it for what it is.

“On the day, I thought we probably edged it but a draw was fair. It is about getting the result. I don’t think that pitch is designed to play good football on – there’s sand everywhere. It was like playing golf out there. There were times we were trying to play passes and it was getting stuck under our feet.

“We have John McGinn and James Keatings who like to run with the ball and you can’t do that.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4364795.1486917398!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4364795.1486917398!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs striker Grant Holt just fails to get his effort on target","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs striker Grant Holt just fails to get his effort on target","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4364795.1486917398!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/cup-reaction-will-it-be-history-repeating-for-hibs-1-4364838","id":"1.4364838","articleHeadline": "Cup reaction: Will it be history repeating for Hibs?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1486967406000 ,"articleLead": "

“Whatever happens, it happened” read the defiant banner from the HibeesBounce. But it could actually happen all over again.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4364837.1486923689!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton palms away a first-half effort from Jason Cummings"} ,"articleBody": "

Tynecastle 12 months ago and a stunning fightback from two goals down with ten minutes to play did, in the eyes of many Hibs fans, lay the foundations for that historic Scottish Cup triumph, one which sparked a party which continues to this day some nine months later.

It has, of course, got to end at some point, as that declaration from the HibeesBounce perhaps conceded but, having taken 114 years to get their hands on that elusive trophy, there was no way the men in green and white were going to let it go easily. And certainly not back at the home of their biggest rivals where this season’s competition had begun with that emphatic 8-1 victory over Bonnyrigg Rose.

True to their word, Neil Lennon’s players, as they had done throughout those two runs to Hampden finals last season, belied their Championship status, the Hibs boss pointing out that there was nothing between the sides despite Hearts currently sitting fourth in the Premier League.

Lennon admitted a 0-0 draw was probably a fair result, one which will see the Capital rivals face up to each other again a week on Wednesday fighting for a place in the quarter-finals against Ayr United or Clyde.

Although whether Hibs go into the replay as favourites was, he said, a matter for the bookies although his side might have a slight advantage now being at home.

“We were very good,” he said. “I thought we were very strong. It was impossible to play any kind of cohesive football on the pitch so we had to play the pitch the right way and we did. We were strong defensively, we could have taken care of the ball a little bit better in the final third but I thought we were excellent.

“I’m very, very pleased. There was nothing between the teams but we showed our pedigree on a big occasion; the mentality of the team was very good. Both teams had chances so, on reflection, a draw was probably a fair result but I am delighted with the way we went about our business.”

Lennon had taken what appeared to be a bold decision in handing a starting place to Ofir Marciano, the Israeli internationalist goalkeeper having tasted just 20 minutes of first-team action in more than two months.

That had come in the previous round against Bonnyrigg at this same stadium, his comeback from a knee operation cut short by a rib injury. But Lennon’s faith was vindicated as early as the third minute as Lennard Sowah’s pass picked out Esmael Goncalves whose first touch presented him with the chance to claim the game’s openining goal. Marciano, though, was quickly off his line to spread himself to block the ball and then grab it to his chest.

The moment, though, sparked the home fans, leaving Hibs to find their way into the game as they did, Lewis Stevenson feeding a ball down the line for James Keatings to fire in a low cross, Aaron Hughes marshalling Grant Holt superbly to prevent him testing Jack Hamilton in the Hearts goal.

It was a predictably full-blown Edinburgh derby, the pre-match handshakes between former team-mates Holt and Don Cowie and John McGinn and Goncalves giving way to a series of no-holds barred challenges, some of which might have tempted Willie Collum to reach for the yellow card, the official who normally has no hesitation in doing so, showing an unusual restraint.

His patience gave out, however, as Hibs defender Darren McGregor went in high and late on Cowie, leaving the Hearts captain in need of a lengthy spell of treatment which left him nursing his ribs.

There was little for the football purist to enjoy in the 100mph maelstrom but Jason Cummings turned Fraser Fyvie’s thumping clearance into a half-chance, taking the ball down and eluding Andraz Struna but his weaker right foot wasn’t good enough to loft it over Hamilton.

Goalscoring opportunities were few and far between, making it crucial that those which were engineered needed to be taken, Holt pouncing on a Keatings shot which had been blocked to breenge his way through two tackles before laying the ball off to Jason Cummings. The striker, seeking to score in a fifth-successive derby, saw his angled shot beaten away by Hamilton only for the ball to ricochet off Holt, the goalkeeper thankful to drop on it as it rolled goalwards.

Lennon, though, felt the veteran hitman had passed up a good opportunity saying: “I do not know why he did not shoot when he has broken clear and played Jason in but he’s actually put Jason in a wider position. The goal has opened up for him but Jason has had to come back in on his left foot.”

Hibs were certainly matching, and perhaps a little more, the greater physicality provided by the influx of players Ian Cathro had brought to Tynecastle during the January transfer window with Holt clearly revelling in his first Edinburgh derby, putting himself about on the pitch and more than willing to engage the home support as they attempted to taunt him. Cathro added to the home side’s presence with the introduction of the towering Bjorn Johnsen at half-time and, as at the beginning of the first half, Hibs had to withstand early pressure and, again, they had Marciano to thank for keeping them of level terms.

A Goncalves shot was blocked, the ball spinning up in the air and falling kindly for Johnsen, who must have thought he had scored only to see Marciano thrust out his left boot to block, the ball dropping to Jamie Walker, who couldn’t find a way through the mass of green and white in front of him.

Once more, though, Hibs weathered the storm to fight their way back into the game. Cummings, who had shouldered much of the work up front by himself, again a willing runner as he played off the final shoulder to force a corner off Hughes, Holt left beating the ground in frustration as he met Keatings’ cross with his head only to power the ball over before substitute Liam Fontaine nodded another corner wide.

It was rather reminiscent of a year ago when Hibs had become stronger as the game went on, a distinct air of anxiety falling on the home crowd who, following those two impressive victories over Rangers and Motherwell, had begun to look forward to this match with relish as they sensed the opportunity to gain a measure of revenge for last season’s defeat at the same stage of the competition.

Those feelings almost proved to be well founded as Cummings again set off on a lung-bursting run, collecting the ball and waiting before drilling a low cross in from the left to meet the inrushing Holt, who just couldn’t make the yards quickly enough to make proper connection at the back post.

But in the end, neither side could manufacture that vital opening, meaning a re-run of last season and, possibly, history repeating itself.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4364837.1486923689!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4364837.1486923689!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton palms away a first-half effort from Jason Cummings","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton palms away a first-half effort from Jason Cummings","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4364837.1486923689!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/five-things-we-learned-from-hearts-0-0-hibs-1-4364834","id":"1.4364834","articleHeadline": "Five things we learned from Hearts 0 -0 Hibs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1486922383000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Fowler gives his take on a frenzied, but uninspiring, Edinburgh derby

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4364833.1486922368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Esmael Goncalves and John McGinn battle for possession. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

The Tynecastle Park pitch is anti-football

Remember years ago when Motherwell were rightly stated for the condition of their pitch? It continuously tore up during matches and struggled to get through the winter. Well, for whatever reason, that’s Hearts now. For years, the turf in Gorgie has been one of the better ones in the Scottish top flight. At present - depend on your views on artificial surfaces - it might be among the worse.

Ex-Hibs boss Alan Stubbs made the point after the game that Hearts might be more suited to playing at Easter Road. It’s a bigger and, more importantly, better pitch. Hearts want to pass the football. You only had to see Alexandros Tziolis’ attempted through ball down the wing that ended up in the top tier of the Main Stand, having taken a massive bobble, that it was always going to be a tough task for the home players.

Anything Alan Stubbs can do...

Neil Lennon showed himself to be a dab hand at managing in Edinburgh derby games as he got his tactics pretty spot on in this encounter. The narrow formation pushed Hearts out to the wings, and nullified the threat of Jamie Walker and Malaury Martin, who like to do their damage through the centre, while also cutting off support to lone striker Esmael Goncalves.

He also identified Alexandros Tziolis as a key man in the Hearts side. Everywhere the Greek turned, either John McGinn, Fraser Fyvie or James Keatings were in his face, and he wasn’t able to dictate the tempo of the game.

The only negative was that, with Hearts showing very little threat in the closing 20 minutes, the visitors didn’t throw a little more caution to the wind and try to win the tie outright.

Hibs’ past derby experience showed

Hearts started with seven players who’d never featured in an Edinburgh derby before. For Hibs, that number was only two, and one of those was the goalkeeper.

It told during the first half as Hibs showed the desired intensity and looked more at home with the tempo of the game. Maulary Martin, in particular, couldn’t get up to speed with what was going on around him, as Hibs made the space in the centre of the park between midfield and defence a no-fly zone for Hearts attackers.

Even the only outfield Hibs player who’d never experienced the game before, Grant Holt, fully embraced the blood and thunder nature of the fixture. Though, admittedly, that does suit his style.

Hearts lack consistency

The hosts went into the game off the back of successive victories thanks to terrific performances from Jamie Walker and Esmael Goncalves. In an attacking sense, these two will likely be the club’s talisman for the remainder of the campaign. While there’s decent support in other areas of the side, if they both put in poor showings, as they did against Hibs, then Hearts are going to struggle.

Hearts fans frustrated by Sunday’s events will be clinging to the logic that, surely, neither can perform as poorly when the sides do it again in ten days time.

Marvin Bartley is more suited to Premiership opponents

Finally, a word on the man of the match. The midfielder has his detractors within the Easter Road support because he can sometimes struggle to impact matches further forward. Against Championship opponents who tend to sit deep, Bartley is allowed a lot of time on the ball but can be pretty ineffective with it. However, as proven by his display at Tynecastle and throughout Hibs’ run in both cup competitions last term, he’s dynamite when asked to play the role of enforcer, halting opposing attacks before they even reach the final third.

He’ll be a key asset for the Easter Road club if/when they make their return to the top flight next season. Not to mention the replay a week on Wednesday.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FOWLER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4364833.1486922368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4364833.1486922368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Esmael Goncalves and John McGinn battle for possession. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Esmael Goncalves and John McGinn battle for possession. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4364833.1486922368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}