Talking point: Will there be more twists in Hearts v Hibs head-to-head battle?
For the first time this season Hibs are above their rivals in the league table. While this prospect wasn't quite unthinkable when Paul Heckingbottom was instilled as Neil Lennon's successor last month, seeing as Hearts were widely viewed as overly reliant on one particular player, the chances of the Easter Road club leaping over their Edinburgh neighbours before the end of March was, at the very least, highly unlikely. And yet, unless Hearts are able to buck the trend of recent form and hand Aberdeen their first defeat outside of the Granite City since early December, that's where the green half of Edinburgh will find themselves at the end of this weekend.
The way both teams are trending, it's hard to imagine there being much more movement between the two sides in the head-to-head war before the end of the season. With the exception of champions-elect Celtic, Hibs are the form team in the Ladbrokes Premiership right now. Friday night's win over Livingston, their fifth in six league games since Heckingbottom took over, displayed another side to their character. They were able to win the battle against the team that's been known for battling more than any other in the top flight this term. That will hold them in good stead with nothing but tough fixtures between now and the close of play, starting with the visit of Kilmarnock this Wednesday.
Hearts, meanwhile, are stumbling towards the finish line. The support has already begun to pin their hopes of getting to a cup final and causing a one-off upset in a bid to salvage this season, rather than lift themselves about Killie and Aberdeen (and now Hibs) into third place. This is despite the fact that a win tomorrow over Aberdeen would put them just two points away from that position.
Hibs' win against Livingston should have been especially galling for any Hearts fan watching on because it's the type of match they've not been winning with much regularity recently. Aside from a 1-0 win at Dundee in a match that could've got football stopped, they've been unable to grind out the required results from poor performances. Even though Hibs were below-par for about 70 minutes against Livingston, they still never looked in any real danger of losing the match. Given Levein's reputation as a defensively astute coach, and the talent Hearts have at centre-back, that side of the game should be a given for the Gorgie Road side, but it hasn't been for quite a few months.
Heckingbottom not only has his side looking more robust at the back with every passing match, he also has them playing with confidence and a menace in attack. These are all things that cannot be said for the other side of the capital divide. There's plenty of more football to be played, and the advantage is just one point with Hearts holding a game in hand, but it's looking increasingly obvious who the winner is going to be.