Three Hibs things we learned from the Edinburgh derby

Here are three Hibs-related observations from Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Hearts at Easter Road.

Sunday, 28th April 2019, 3:16 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th April 2019, 3:30 pm
Marc McNulty, centre, missed a spot-kick for Hibs.
Marc McNulty, centre, missed a spot-kick for Hibs.

Solid full-backs

Despite both being in their 30s, there aren’t many more dependable and robust full-back pairings in Scotland than David Gray and Lewis Stevenson. The duo were at their most aggressive best and generally nullified any threat Hearts had in the wide areas, with Gray standing up well to Jake Mulraney and Stevenson ensuring Hearts wing-back Michael Smith was unable to cause any notable problems in an attacking sense. Both players helped Hibs going forward as well, with Gray involved in the goal and Stevenson going close with a couple of ferocious long-range strikes.

McNulty’s mini-drought

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Marc McNulty has now gone five games without a goal for Hibs since being called up by Scotland last month. The on-loan Reading striker is still acting as an effective centre-forward for Hibs in terms of linking play and making life difficult for opposing defenders but he will be disappointed at sending his penalty wide of Zdenek Zlamal’s right-hand post. With his last strike from open play coming in the 2-1 win at St Johnstone on February 27, McNulty will be eager to get back on the goal trail in the closing three games of the season.

Another Hecky tweak sparks improvement

Paul Heckingbottom is proving accustomed at changing games in Hibs’ favour and he did so again this time by making the bold move of taking off Florian Kamberi and replacing him with Vykintas Slivka at half-time. The hosts, although starting to get on top towards the break, generally failed to impose themselves on the visitors in the first half. Kamberi, again starting off the left, had a couple of threatening moments but was largely kept in check by the Hearts defence. Slivka took over in an attacking midfield role behind McNulty, with Stephane Omeonga, who played centrally in the first half, taking over from Kamberi on the left. The Lithuanian helped bring a bit extra urgency to Hibs’ play and the hosts’ general set-up after the break allowed them to seize a greater level of control until Hearts came back into it in the closing stages.