In a few of the derbies recently, it’s been pretty clear that Hibs were on top in the game, but yesterday I always felt Hearts were on top and looked the likelier side, especially in the second half, when we bossed it at times.
The first half was fairly even but I felt there was always an extra threat from Hearts in the second half, and we fully deserved our win. We had to wait until three minutes from the end, but we basically ground Hibs down.
The longer the game went, I was concerned that the goal might not come because we had been on top without finding a way through. Thankfully, we got our reward in the end because it would have been very frustrating if we were facing another replay at Easter Road after performing so well.
Sometimes in derbies, you can feel you’ve underperformed but that couldn’t be said of Hearts yesterday – I felt we produced a strong team performance. We defended solidly again, did well in midfield, and our attackers worked hard.
It was encouraging that we had two on-loan debutants making such a notable contribution, while we also looked really comfortable with three at the back. Whether we persist with that formation will probably depend on the ongoing fitness of Aaron Hughes, who brings extra assurance to an already-solid defence. Having three at the back allowed our full-backs, particularly Demetri Mitchell, to get forward to really good effect. Overall, everyone in a maroon jersey played their part in a hugely significant win.
It was very sweet in light of recent results against Hibs and also because we got the winner so late in the game and didn’t give them much time to come back. As Hearts supporters, I don’t think anyone could deny that we’ve been severely wounded by our results against Hibs over the last two years, but today’s result turns things round. I’d echo the manager’s sentiments that normal service has been resumed in the city. Hopefully this victory, and the positive vibe it will bring, can kick us on to start climbing the league and chase down Hibs in the coming months. We’re unbeaten in ten games and haven’t conceded in seven, so we should be full of confidence as we head to Hamilton on Wednesday for a tricky but winnable fixture.