Hibee History: Wotherspoon wins derby via aid of a deflection
Hibs 1, Hearts 0.SPL. Sunday, December 2, 2012
A late deflected strike from David Wotherspoon earned Hibs revenge in the Scottish Cup fourth-round with a win over trophy-holders Hearts.
The visitors had gone 12 Edinburgh derbies unbeaten, including the previous season’s cup final 5-1 mauling of Hibs at Hampden.
But the tables were turned at Easter Road when Wotherspoon’s 82nd-minute shot cannoned off Hearts defender Marius Zaliukas to spin past keeper Jamie MacDonald.
In a wretched match, there was very little to excite the supporters until the breakthrough came.
Both sides were guilty of appalling distribution as the ball was hurriedly hoofed from one end of the park to the other.
Hibs could not get their forwards into threatening areas, while Hearts were reluctant to support lone striker Callum Paterson.
Both outfits was much changed since Hearts dished out that thrashing at the national stadium in May.
Hibs were now perched high above their city rivals in the Scottish Premier League and this victory owed much to a new-found resilience among the men in green.
Ryan McGivern was a solid presence in central defence, while Jorge Claros and Tom Taiwo scrapped away in the middle of the park to make sure the back four were protected, albeit against a modest threat.
The visitors opened brightly when a delicious cross from Arvydas Novikovas found the head of Paterson, but goalkeeper Ben Williams was able to crouch low and keep the ball out at his near post.
Hibs responded with Taiwo slicing a shot over from 18 yards after a neat lay-off from Wotherspoon and MacDonald had to flap away a tricky, curling free-kick from Leigh Griffiths that whizzed through a cluster of players.
From a corner, a wayward header from Hearts skipper Zaliukas struck the chest of defender Paul Hanlon forcing Williams to make a smart save.
And, with the Hibs defence standing off, a Novikovas cross from the left then drifted across goal and grazed the far post.
Paul Cairney stumbled through a couple of challenges to reach the Hearts penalty box but took an extra touch when a shot looked on and had the ball taken off his toes by Andy Webster.
The second half started in the same untidy manner and the home side were dealt a blow when top-scorer Griffiths was withdrawn after landing awkwardly on his ankle.
Zaliukas did well to outmuscle Hanlon at the near post as Wotherspoon whipped in a dangerous corner and from the second set-piece, MacDonald dropped the ball but recovered in time to deny the same Hibs player. A goal looked increasingly unlikely as play continued in a ragged fashion, but Wotherspoon was rewarded for his enterprise as he skipped past Kevin McHattie on the right and unleashed a shot from 20 yards.
The ball took a huge deflection off the knee of Zaliukas and looped over MacDonald to send the home fans wild with delight. Hibs boss Pat Fenlon, who received a two-match touchline ban for gesturing to Hearts fans at Hampden, jumped in the air on the pitch when the final whistle sounded and was joined by a hobbling Griffiths.
Hibs: B Williams, A Maybury, P Hanlon, R McGivern, J Claros, L Stevenson, T Taiwo, P Cairney, D Wotherspoon, L Griffiths (R Caldwell, 54), E Doyle (I Sproule, 71). Subs not used: S Murdoch, B Donaldson, S Kuqi Hearts: J MacDonald, K McHattie, J Walker (J Sutton, 73), D Barr (S Robinson, 59), M Zaliukas, R McGowan, A Webster, R Stevenson, M Taouil, C Paterson, A Novikovas (A Driver, 46). Subs not used:G Smith, P Enckelman.
Referee: Calum Murray.