Hearts coach reacts to late equaliser as praise heaped on star midfielder following Capital Cup clash with Hibs
Hearts women assistant boss Sean Burt believes a 1-1 draw was a fair result at Easter Road after Hibs netted a late equaliser to ensure a share of the spoils in the SWPL 1.
The home side went on to lift the inaugural Capital Cup after winning 5-3 on penalties with Georgia Timms having her spot-kick saved. This came after substitute Crystal Thomas netted in the 84th minute to cancel out Emma Brownlie’s opener earlier in the half.
It keeps Hearts four points clear of their Edinburgh derby rivals and four clear in fourth place, but with the best defensive record in the league outside the top three it was a disappointment to let victory slip through their grasp.
"If I'm being brutally honest it was probably a fair reflection of the game. I think both teams deserved a point. To lose the equaliser so late was a bit of a blow, but ultimately it was probably a fair result,” said Burt.
"We're disappointed. Ultimately the penalties are an added bonus, the cup is an added bonus, it is a league match and you could see the dejection in the players when they conceded that late goal. To be fair to the players they could have crumbled and conceded another but they stayed resolute and made sure we came away with a point.
"Prior to last week we'd kept three clean sheets in a row. So definitely the defence is part of why we've been successful. As I said during the week, if you don't concede goals then you don't lose games. We put our bodies on the line today. Hibs had a couple of really good chances in the first half. Charlotte [Parker-Smith] was excellent again. Good teams are built from the back. Thankfully we've got that.”
Hearts were fairly dominated in the first half with Hibs missing a good few opportunities to put themselves ahead. Though it remained at 0-0 at the break, manager Eva Olid decided to change things up a little, removing Jenna Penman for Katie Rood and putting Jenny Smith from forward to wing-back.
"We didn't impose ourselves first half,” said Burt. “Hibs had a really good rotation in the middle of the pitch. It effectively pushed their full-backs higher up and pushed our wing-backs further back.
"That pinned us back so we wanted to change it and have an emphasis on our style of play. I think you could see that, we had more chances in the second half. We had that chance from a set-play and then Gwen Davies had the goal disallowed, which I haven't seen back yet.”
Brownlie and Vyan Sampson impressed at the back, but the biggest influence in maroon was Ciara Grant playing in the middle of the park. The ex-Rangers star was constantly involved in the action and swung in the cross for Brownlie to put the Gorgie Girls in front.
"Ciara is a brilliant football player,” said Burt. “She does the dirty things and she does them really well. She's got great technique and can pass the ball very well. She's absolutely everywhere on the pitch. I don't think there's a blade of grass she never covered. She's been brilliant since she came to the club.”