Hearts debrief: Toby Sibbick's tremendous performance, poor penalty decisions, front-three changes

A look back at the Edinburgh derby from a Hearts perspective after Robbie Neilson's side improved in the second half but had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Easter Road.

By Craig Fowler
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 10:19 am

Player of the match

No doubt about it – Toby Sibbick. The January signing is already showing his worth after an immense performance. He won the battle with Christian Doidge, which is no easy feat, while also popping up everywhere inside his own penalty box to deny Hibs. None of his interceptions were more important than his goal-line clearance in injury time which denied Josh Campbell a famous winner.

Defining moment

Sign up to our Hearts newsletter

Hearts defender Toby Sibbick blocks Josh Campbell's shot in injury-time. Picture: SNS

Hearts started the second half with greater aggression in attack than what we witnessed in the first 45 minutes and they could easily have had the rest of the game in hand if they'd taken the first big chance in the period. Ellis Simms was played in by Barrie McKay but the forward could only shoot at Kevin Dabrowski. In fairness, the keeper did very well to sprint from his line and narrow the angle so Simms didn't have much to aim at with his early shot.

Ref watch

Don Robertson wrongly called two Hearts penalty claims. He was far too lenient in judging Lewis Stevenson's barge on Ellis Simms as a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge as the striker moved into the box. Then he wrongly interpreted the same player's handball as being in a natural position when he blocked Alex Cochrane's late indirect free-kick.

Benefit of hindsight

Robbie Neilson moved around his front three for the second half to good effect. Liam Boyce dropped a lot deeper instead of trying to move from the right into the centre to provide another target-man option alongside Simms. He proved to be an effective link between midfield and attack as Hearts upped the pressure, while the shift also helped bring Simms into the game a little more. You could also question some of the substitutions as none of them improved the team. Barrie McKay off for Ben Woodburn, in particular, weakened rather than strengthened.

Moment you may have missed

Sibbick celebrated his point-saving clearance with the gusto you'd expect from a striker who'd netted at the other end. You've gotta love it when defenders do that.

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our sports coverage with a digital sports subscription.