Individual brilliance gave Hearts the edge in this Edinburgh derby against a desperately poor Hibs side.
The brilliance came from David Templeton, who beat five men on the way to scoring what would remain one of the finest goals of the season. It was the sort of moment of individual skill which can often make the difference in a game, but on this occasion there was a far greater disparity between the teams.
After this maroon triumph, the Hibees were left joint bottom of the SPL while their neighbours moved up to fourth.
Visiting boss Jim Jefferies’ decision to ring the changes after defeat by Kilmarnock was justified with the introduction of Templeton, Stephen Elliott and Ian Black in place of Calum Elliot, Suso and Darren Barr.
Hibs made the more lively start full of flowing passing football, although they were unable to create anything clear-cut within their rivals’ penalty box.
They were restricted to a couple of high balls from set-pieces aimed at Sol Bamba, with the defender failing to get sufficient purchase on his headers to threaten the visitors’ goal.
Templeton signalled his intent when he cut in off the left wing to fire a drive from 25 yards straight at goalkeeper Mark Brown as Hearts threatened after 16 minutes.
Hibs had obviously not heeded the warning as Templeton netted a stunning solo goal just three minutes later.
The 21-year-old winger again cut inside and shrugged off the challenges of Danny Galbraith, Michael Hart, Bamba and Liam Miller with a Messi-esque run before tucking a cool right-foot finish low past Brown from just inside the penalty box.
Hibs boss Colin Calderwood showed his disappointment with the first-half display by replacing midfielder John Rankin with striker Valdas Trakys, who took over as lone striker with Derek Riordan moving wide on the left. Riordan immediately released Jonathan Grounds, whose low cross was well saved by goalkeeper Marian Kello with a forest of Hibs boots waiting to turn the ball into the net.
The Jambos survived loud appeals for a penalty when Marius Zaliukas appeared to bundle Paul Hanlon to the ground as they waited for a Riordan free-kick to be delivered into the box.
Then it was Hibs’ turn to escape when Black chipped the ball into the box and Rudi Skacel volleyed well over from 15 yards when Elliott might have been better placed to score.
However, while Hibs had now taken control territorially, they fell further behind to Elliott’s first goal since joining Hearts.
Kevin Kyle headed the ball into the box following a free-kick, Templeton got in front of his markers to stab the ball on and Elliot swept the ball home from 10 yards.
Hibs fans streamed for the exits and Riordan left the field early too, as referee Willie Collum him off for a scything challenge on Skacel late on.
Hearts: Kello, Bouzid, Zaliukas, Jonsson, Palazuelos, Black, Templeton, Skacel, Mrowiec, Kyle, Elliott.
Hibs: Brown, Hart, Grounds, Hanlon, Bamba, De Graaf, Rankin, Stevenson, Galbraith, Miller, Riordan.