Maroon Memories: Ruthless Rudi Skacel wins another derby
Hibs 1, Hearts 3. SPL. Monday, January 2, 2012
Hearts floored Capital rivals Hibs with two late goals to stretch their unbeaten run in Edinburgh derbies to nine games.
Despite a third straight month without wages, the Jambos made it four games without defeat in the SPL to leave Hibs second bottom in the table.
Tynecastle boss Paulo Sergio made five changes to his team following a 0-0 draw with Aberdeen, with Ian Black, Jamie Hamill, Stephen Elliott, Mehdi Taouil and Scott Robinson all coming into the starting line-up.
Hibs’ new signing from Sligo Rovers, striker Eoin Doyle, had to be content with a place on the bench along with fellow forward Garry O’Connor, who had been struggling with a toe injury. However, four others were introduced to Pat Fenlon’s line-up - Paul Hanlon, Ian Murray, Martin Scott and Victor Palsson - after the Easter Road outfit were held 1-1 at home to Inverness in their last fixture.
The home side were first to threaten, but Danny Galbraith sliced wildly past the near post after being set up by Leigh Griffiths just inside the area.
Lewis Stevenson and Hanlon were both shown yellow cards as Hibs got caught up in the emotions of a typically frenetic start.
Hanlon, given an unfamiliar right-back role, was quickly under pressure as a result, with David Templeton stepping inside the naturally left-sided defender to send a low drive off the outside of the far post then powering another long-range effort wide.
Hearts should have taken the lead after 24 minutes when Elliott pulled the ball back into the path of the unmarked Taouil, who sliced wide from 12 yards, injuring himself in the process before being immediately replaced by Andy Driver.
The visitors again squandered a chance three minutes before the break when Callum Booth was short with his backpass to Graham Stack, who pulled down Elliott as he tried to clear.
Black, until then the most influential player on the park, did not pack enough punch in his low spot-kick and Stack stretched out a hand to turn the ball wide for a corner.
Black looked to make amends for his penalty miss at the start of the second period but was again denied by the fingertips of Stack as the midfielder powered in a dipping effort from 25 yards.
From the resultant corner, Black’s driven cross was headed powerfully towards goal by Andy Webster and, although Stack blocked on the line, Ryan McGowan made sure from close range. However, Hibs immediately headed up the other end and a wild attempt at a clearance by Marius Zaliukas sent Galbraith’s low cross past goalkeeper Marian Kello.
Goalscorer McGowan was fortunate to escape without even a yellow card for reacting angrily to a clumsy Ivan Sproule challenge as play swung from end to end.
Black then sent a 20-yard drive inches over the crossbar before Webster rose to meet a long throw, John Sutton played it back into his path and the central defender fired low past Stack to give Hearts the lead.
Driver had an effort half-stopped by Stack before being cleared off the line by Sean O’Hanlon, but substiute Rudi Skacel finally made Hibs pay on the break with an exquisite finish to deal the points.
Hibs: G Stack, S O’Hanlon, I Murray, P Hanlon, C Booth, M Scott (E Doyle, 86), I Sproule, L Stevenson, V Palsson, D Galbraith (G O’Connor, 85), L Griffiths. Subs not used: M Brown, D Wotherspoon, R Towell, D Stephens, M Hart.
Hearts: M Kello, M Zaliukas, R McGowan, A Webster, I Black, J Hamill, M Taouil (A Driver, 25), D Templeton (R Skacel, 74), A Mrowiec, S Elliott, S Robinson (J Sutton, 61). Subs not used:A Novikovas, J Hamilton, J MacDonald, D Barr.
Referee: Calum Murray.