Hibs 3-1 Hearts; March 18, 2000
HIBS shattered Hearts’ run of six successive Premier League victories as they came from behind to win the third derby of the season at Easter Road.
Alex McLeish’s players lived on their nerves after ex-Hibee Darren Jackson crashed home a stunning opening goal in the 25th minute. Gary Wales might have made it two just two minutes later when Jackson sent in free only for the youngster to shoot wide.
And how Hearts were to rue that miss as Hibs came roaring back to win their second successive derby.
Russell Latapy hauled them level before the interval with a superb strike and it was Hibs who totally dominated the second half.
Franck Sauzee put them ahead on the hour mark with a looping header and, five minutes from the end, Mixu Paatelainen ensured a night-long party in Leith as he bundled home Hibs’ third goal.
Jackson’s strike, his first in maroon against his old club, sparked wild celebrations among the Hearts fans behind Nick Colgan’s goal.
They were joined by a jubilant Jackson, who whipped off his jersey and was booked by referee Hugh Dallas for taking his joy a touch too far – not that he was too bothered.
Hibs were clearly stunned by that goal and they were lucky not to fall further behind two minutes later when Jackson supplied a great through ball for Wales, who was played onside by Tom Smith. But the youngster was unable to find the net, pulling his shot wide.
Jackson was clearly relishing the match and it took the combined efforts of Stuart Lovell and Martin McIntosh to halt him on another surging run forward before a mis-kick by Collins allowed Gary McSwegan a shot which was off target.
But Hibs cut Hearts’ joy short as they equalised in the 36th minute with an equally stunning strike from Latapy. Pat McGinlay was robbed as he teed himself up for a shot but the ball fell kindly for Latapy at the edge of the penalty area. Sauzee made a great dummy run to the little star’s left and Latapy cleverly turned back on to his right foot and clipped a low shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net behind Antti Niemi.
Hearts could well have considered themselves unlucky to have gone in only level at the interval, but they almost found themselves behind within a minute of the restart. Latapy released Smith down the left and Kenny Miller, arriving late, rose to send a header just inches wide of the target with Niemi scrambling across his line.
Not surprisingly, Hearts switched Fabian Leclerq with Grant Murray to counter the danger off Latapy but it was down the left that Hibs swept to move ahead in the 60th minute. Paatelainen picked out Smith with a superb reverse pass and he sent in a hanging cross which Sauzee met to send the ball back across Niemi and into the far corner of the net.
Hearts’ hopes of salvaging a point were dashed five minutes from time when Paatelainen bundled the ball over the line for Hibs third. Latapy did all the work cutting in from the left before unleashing a right-foot shot which Niemi could only parry into the path of his fellow Finn who knocked it into the net from a couple of yards.
The final derby of this season was both clubs’ final game, on May 21 at Tynecastle where Hearts won 2-1 with goals from Juanjo and McSwegan sandwiching a Paatelainen effort.