Hibs boss Neil Lennon claimed the way Hearts celebrated their Scottish Cup triumph over his side showed just how improved the Easter Road side have become over the past few years.
Don Cowie’s late goal ended Hibs’ record of nine Edinburgh derbies without defeat but, while disappointed to see it go, Lennon hailed it as “a hell of a run”. He said: ‘I’m disappointed with the result, the manner of it as well. It was a scrappy goal to win the game. I didn’t think we deserved to win it but we didn’t deserve to lose it either. I thought were better in the first half and they were better in the second half.
“It was a scrappy, slogfest of a derby cup tie. Hearts got the break and we didn’t.
“The pitch was a factor, without making excuses. But we had a great chance to take the lead and it’s important to take your chances when they come.
“At their goal we were not set up in our right positions. We switched off a little.
“But I’ve got to congratulate my players. It’s been a hell of a run in the derbies and it’s come to an end. We have to accept it and pick ourselves up and get ready for an intense few weeks. But it’s disappointing to be out because our cup pedigree has been great recently.
“There’s not a lot between the teams. It shows how much we have improved over the last couple of years that they were celebrating like they had won the cup. To go nine unbeaten is pretty impressive.”
Anthony Stokes was missing from the Hibs line-up as the striker’s future continues to be shrouded in uncertainty with many believing he has played his last game for the club after being carpeted, along with Danny Swanson and Martin Boyle, for breaking a curfew during their recent winter break in Portugal.
Of Stokes’ total absence, Lennon declined again to say anything further other than: “The only thing I would say is that I don’t think his absence made a difference. It’s a club issue and it will be resolved.”