Hearts manager hails derby win as league split looms

Suso Santana shows daughter Nicole on his T-Shirt
Suso Santana shows daughter Nicole on his T-Shirt
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PAULO SERGIO declared the Edinburgh derby triumph over Hibs as one of the most pivotal results of Hearts’ season because it virtually secures the club’s place in the top six.

Craig Beattie’s first goal against Hibs, allied to a late solo effort from Suso Santana, ensured a rousing 2-0 victory for the hosts at Tynecastle yesterday. The result accords sixth-placed Hearts an eight-point advantage over Kilmarnock in seventh and keeps them just one point behind St Johnstone and Dundee United in the fight for fourth place.

Only one more point is required for Hearts to secure top-six status, with three games remaining until the SPL split.

Asked if beating Hibs had sealed a top-six berth, Sergio, right, replied: “Yes, we are now eight points in front of Kilmarnock and nine ahead of Aberdeen. They need to win all their games, I don’t know if they are going to do that or not. We will work to win games too so getting three points was very important because of that.”

The Hearts manager revealed he intends to introduce more young players to the team after the split. “Once you are in that position (top six) you must look to win games and give a chance to other players. We will think about that,” he continued.

“We have time to do that after the split, to test and try our younger players. Not changing the team each time but giving a chance to the boys. But I want to keep looking to win games and we’re going to do that.”

Sergio praised the dedication of his players by overcoming Hibs. “I have lots of respect for our opponents but I am very proud of my players. I work with them every single day and I know that in hard conditions they know to be together and fight for our jersey.”