HEARTS gave Hibs an object lesson in the art of finishing in the New Year’s derby and ensured that Jim Duffy’s career as manager at Easter Road got off to the worst possible start with a four-goal thrashing.
Hibs 0, Hearts 4
January 1, 1997
Hibs lacked sharpness in front of goal and any conviction in defence. Hearts, on the other hand, produced a tactically astute performance in which their attacking midfield player, Colin Cameron, offered a constant threat.
Cameron himself scored Hearts’ third goal while the striking partnership of John Robertson and Jim Hamilton, who scored twice, laid the foundations of the victory. Robertson’s goal was his 25th against Hibs and his 203rd for Hearts.
The Tynecastle club were spoiled for choice when it came to notable contributors. Gary Naysmith and David Murie looked exciting prospects at full-back while the return of Dave McPherson in the middle of the defence helped lay the foundations for a clean sheet for the visitors.
Manager Jim Jefferies thought Cameron just edged Darren Jackson for the man of the match award and wondered what on earth the scoreline might have been if the Hibs forward had lined up for Hearts.
Duffy, meantime, was taken aback by his side’s lack of discipline when the breaks went against them. The manager observed that Hibs’ recklessness had let them down.
While Hibs were undoubtedly the sharper side for much of the first half, it was Hearts who took the lead against the run of play with a typically opportunist goal from Robertson.
Gary Mackay and Cameron were involved in the build-up in the 33rd minute as Murie was allowed acres of space down the right to break clear and cross for the remarkable Robertson to place home.
Worse was to follow for Hibs seven minutes before the break when Andy Millen was ordered off for a foul on Steve Fulton, his second bookable offence.
All of this was rough justice on a Hibs side who had played with verve and distinction throughout the first 45 minutes.
Indeed, with Pat McGinlay rattling in a couple of ferocious shots from outside the box, there was no argument that Hearts goalkeeper Gilles Rousset was the outstanding player of the first half.
Hibs may have breathed a sigh of relief when Robertson didn’t re-appear for the second-half because of a back injury but Neil McCann came on to join Hamilton up front and Hearts proceeded to run riot.
If there was a turning point after Robertson’s goal it came when Fulton lost concentration in the box and allowed Ian Cameron a clear sight of goal. Amazingly, the midfielder failed to beat Rousset from 12 yards with a right-foot shot which skimmed off the bar.
Jefferies’ men responded to that let-off by wrapping up the points in the 62nd minute when Colin Cameron’s cross to the near post was bundled into the net by Hamilton. It got even worse for Hibs three minutes later when Jim Leighton made an astonishing error.
The goalkeeper was caught trying to dribble round Hamilton and the ball broke for Cameron who expertly knocked it into the empty net from 25 yards.
It was an abysmal end to the afternoon for Hibs who were again punished in the 88th minute by Hamilton, who rifled home a pass from Cameron to complete Hearts’ biggest derby win for six years.
Hibs: Leighton, Miller, Millen, Hunter, Love, Harper, Cameron, McGinlay, Grant, D Jackson, Wright.
Hearts: Rousset, Murie, Weir, McPherson, Ritchie, Naysmith, Mackay, Fulton, Cameron, Robertson, Hamilton.