Hibs 2-1 Hearts
January 1, 1996
HIBS bounced back from a 7-0 mauling at the hands of Rangers at Ibrox only 48 hours earlier with a New Year’s Day win over Hearts.
It was the perfect way for the Easter Road side to respond as they capitalised on a rusty performance from Hearts.
Only once in the entire 90 minutes did Hearts manage to string a telling sequence of passes together and, on that occasion, they hit the jackpot, Neil Pointon providing the perfect finish to a move which started in Hearts’ half of the field.
With only seven minutes on the clock, it was the start Hibs must have been dreading in the wake of that hammering against Rangers and the Jambos in the 15,500 crowd sensed their side was about to make the perfect start to the new year. There’s a good chance they would have if Hans Eskilsson had slotted away the golden chance that fell to him in the 20th minute but the big Swede didn’t even come close to hitting the target from 15 yards.
It seemed to serve as a catalyst for Hibs, who battled back and into the lead with two terrific goals.
Kevin McAllister, given a regular supply of the ball, discovered he could take Pointon on at will and proceeded to do so, dancing to the bye-line to deliver the perfect cross for Michael O’Neill, who nipped in front of Gary Mackay to head home.
Both Pointon’s and O’Neill’s goals were a bit special, but they paled into the “ordinary” category as Kevin Harper stole the show with a stunning volley after Keith Wright had knocked Darren Jackson’s pass into his path.