The only positive after yesterday’s lacklustre display is that we’ve still got another chance to get through a week on Wednesday.
Put bluntly, that was nowhere near what is required in a derby from a Hearts perspective. People will criticise our supporters for being quiet while the Hibs fans were bouncing, but the simple reason for that was there was a commitment and desire from the visitors that wasn’t matched by us. They looked like a team desperate to hang on to their trophy and we didn’t look like a team desperate to take it off them and avenge what happened last year.
Hibs were the team throwing their bodies in front of things and winning the majority of their tackles, and a draw was the least they deserved. Considering the gulf in league between the teams, and the consensus that we have the higher-quality players, we were miles second best yesterday in terms of desire and passion.
I wrote last weekend that I wanted us to start with two strikers, so I was really disappointed when I saw the starting line-ups at 11.30am yesterday. I felt that by going with only one out-and-out central striker we played right into Hibs’ hands and allowed them to seize the initiative. Hearts should always be looking to play on the front foot from the first whistle at Tynecastle, but when you start flat, it can be really difficult to change it.
The team that began the second half, with Bjorn Johnsen on the pitch, should have been the starting team. If you’re able to play on the front foot against Rangers – one of the top teams in the country – and destroy them with two strikers on the pitch, then there’s no reason to change it 11 days later when you’re playing your city rivals from a league below. I would question the thinking behind that decision.
All we can hope is that the players and management have learned what an Edinburgh derby is about by the time the replay comes around. I take some encouragement from the fact we surely can’t play as insipidly as that again at Easter Road. The away support are usually more roused than home supporters in any case, but it’s up to the team to give the travelling Hearts fans something to get excited about next week because yesterday wasn’t good enough for a club with a proud tradition in this fixture.